When a City Rises

"When a City Rises" is a gripping account of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. 

The 19th annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is a hybrid event. Seating is limited; it is highly recommended to purchase tickets in advance at bigskyfilmfest.org/festival/tickets. Door sales are not guaranteed to viewers who arrive without a ticket. All tickets are good for in-person or online screenings.

Short films are available online through Thursday, March 3. Feature films will be available to view online for four days, beginning the day after the film’s last in-person screening.

Special events

Native Voices Speaker Series, Panel #2 — Reciprocity: Human Relationship with the Earth. A deep dive with the Indigenous filmmakers from the Reciprocity Project. Free and open to the public, but registration required. On the BSDFF website, select “Exhibitions” under the “Festival” tab. Marriott Residence Inn, 125 N. Pattee St. Noon.


“When a City Rises” — A gripping account of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. The film follows a teenage couple in love, a student leader and a father as they navigate a year inside the movement. Relationships break and form amid tear gas and rubber bullets, and across the border, China’s People’s Liberation Army awaits. North American Premiere. ZACC, 11:45 a.m.

“Dear Mr. Brody” — In 1970, a 21-year-old hippie millionaire promised to give away his $25 million inheritance to anyone who sent him a letter in the effort to usher in a new era of world peace. A psychedelic journey into the heart (and bank account) of Michael Brody Jr., who offered the world peace for the price of a postage stamp. Montana Premiere. Missoula Children’s Theater, 5:15 p.m.

“The Art of Making It” — A diverse cast of young artists confront defining moments in their careers to explore whether the art world ecosystem, meant to nurture them, is actually failing them. The film is both a cautionary tale about what America stands to lose if we don’t rethink how we value artists, and a love letter to those who persevere in their artistic practice in spite of the extraordinary odds against achieving a sustainable career. Montana Premiere. Roxy, 5:30 p.m.

“Still Max” — Diagnosed with prostate cancer, multidisciplinary artist Max Dean asks, “How do we fix ourselves?” Driven by a wild imagination, Max visualizes his illness not just physically but physiologically. In this journey of artistic exploration, Max Dean confirms he is “Still Max” — always curious and thoughtful, always seeking to know himself. U.S. Premiere. ZACC, 7:30 p.m.

“The War of Raya Sinitsina” — A young filmmaker follows Raya, a 94-year-old Soviet war heroine who fought in the Siege of Leningrad. As Raya faces the loss of her last comrades and her health deteriorates, the two become close friends, which awakens the young woman within her. Through her dreams, time and age lose all meaning. What starts out as a film about war and loss turns into a story of love and friendship. Northwest Premiere. Missoula Children’s Theater, 8 p.m.

“The Time of the Fireflies” — Despite the loneliness he experiences living in New York, Miguel remains resiliently motivated to help the family he hasn’t seen in 13 years. Combining dreamlike depictions of memories from Miguel’s childhood in Oaxaca, Mexico, with his everyday experience as a migrant worker, this is a poignant depiction of the sacrifice many are forced to make to support their families. Northwest Premiere. Roxy, 8:15 p.m.

Filmmakers in attendance

Q&A following film screening

“Memory Lanes” — Brian Gertsen, director. Montana Premiere. “Conversations Between Shifts” — Ben Basem, director. Northwest Premiere. Shorts Block 14. ZACC, 2:30 p.m.

“The Great Silence” — Joel Elliott, director. World Premiere. “Where is My Darling?” — Adam Finney, director. North American Premiere. Shorts Block 15. Roxy, 3:15 p.m.

“The Art of Making It” — Kelcey Edwards, director. Roxy, 5:30 p.m.

Festival HQ: ZACC, 216 W. Main St. Purchase tickets, passes and merchandise. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.