'Feels Good Man'

Artist Matt Furie's cartoon character, Pepe the Frog, became an unlikely meme, a bizarre story explained in the feature, "Feels Good Man." 

Here are the daily highlights at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival for Saturday, Feb. 15.


Films at the Wilma, Elks Lodge, Roxy and ZACC, beginning at 11 a.m.

Bill Ross and Turner Ross retrospective begins: Three of the innovative, award-winning brothers’ films will screen over the weekend, beginning today with “45365” (Elks Lodge, 11 a.m.), “Tchoupitoulas” (Elks Lodge, 1:30 p.m.) and “Western” (Elks Lodge, 4 p.m.).

Shorts galore: 17 short docs screening in three blocks throughout the day, including “The Great Toilet Paper Scare” (the untold story of a notorious incident in 1973 involving a Johnny Carson joke, lots of toilet paper, and millions of fearful Americans). Wilma, 1 p.m.; ZACC, 3 p.m.; Elks Lodge, 6:30 p.m.

“Martha: A Picture Story” — In the 1970s, New York photographer Martha Cooper captured some of the first images of graffiti appearing on the city’s subway cars. Decades later, she realizes she’s become an unexpected icon of the street art world. Now, at age 75, she navigates her way through this vastly changed culture. Wilma, 3:30 p.m.

“Chèche Lavi (Looking For Life)” — A lyrical portrait of two Haitian migrants who find themselves stranded at the U.S.-Mexico border with no way forward and no one to depend on but each other. As the two men drift towards drastically different futures, a picture of their unexpected friendship emerges against the backdrop of an incomprehensible political situation and a new wall rising on the horizon. Roxy, 5 p.m.

“The Story of Plastic” — Opening Night feature brings into focus the alarming, human-made crisis of a world overflowing with toxic material. Striking footage, original animations, and archival material all point to the disastrous impact of the manufacture and use of plastics, shedding new light on a challenge that threatens the life and health of animals, humans and civilization on Earth. Free admission, thanks to Stockman Bank. Wilma, 6 p.m.

“Feels Good Man” — An exploration of how Pepe the Frog’s unlikely transformation — from chill frog dude to far-right internet icon — parallels America’s own transformation and divisive narratives. It’s a wild journey into the heart of online life and cultural memeification, where the meanings of images change rapidly and cannot be controlled — even by their creators. Wilma, 8:30 p.m.

“Healing From Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation” — Life After Hate, founded by former skinheads and neo-Nazis, supports white nationalists who are seeking to break away from radical movements. This film profiles the organization, explores the root causes of radicalization, and considers what it might take to create a more tolerant world. Elks Lodge, 9 p.m.

Filmmakers in attendance

Q&A following film screening

“45365,” Elks Lodge, 11 a.m.; “Tchoupitoulas,” Elks Lodge, 1:30 p.m.; “Western,” Elks Lodge, 4 p.m. BSDFF Retrospective on Bill and Turner Ross, directors/producers.

“All I Have to Offer You is Me,” Dillon Hayes, director/editor. “Nebula,” Jay Trusler, director. Shorts Block No. 1, Wilma, 1 p.m.

“All That Remains,” Eva Rendle, director. “The Gender Line,” Cidny Bullens, subject. Shorts Block No. 2, ZACC, 3 p.m.

“Turf Nation,” Jun Bae, director. Wilma, 3:30 p.m.

Murghab,” Daler Kaziev, director. ZACC, 5:30 p.m.

“The Story of Plastic,” Deia Schlosberg, director. Wilma, 6 p.m.

“The Great Toilet Paper Scare,” Brian Gersten, director. “The Deepest Hole,”  Matt McCormick, director. Shorts Block No. 3, Elks Lodge, 6:30 p.m.

“I Am Not Alone,” Alec Mouhibian, producer. Roxy, 7:30 p.m.

“Some Kind of Heaven,” Lance Oppenheim, director/producer/co-editor. ZACC, 8 p.m.

“Feels Good Man,” Arthur Jones, director. Wilma, 8:30 p.m.

“Healing From Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation,” Peter Hutchinson, director/producer. Elks Lodge, 9 p.m.


Festival headquarters and Box Office at ZACC, 216 W. Main St. Full schedule of films and events at bigskyfilmfest.org.