"Oyate" follows Indigenous leaders who protested the Dakota Access Pipeline and carried that momentum forward into other issues.

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.


Last day of Competition Shorts Blocks. 24 short films vie for the jury prize — and automatic qualification for the Oscars — in two categories: Shorts (under 40 min.) and Mini-Doc (under 15 min.). Block 5 at 1 p.m.; Block 6 at 3:15 p.m. Wilma.

Schoolhouse Docs continue. Films curated especially for school-aged kids. Roxy, 4 p.m.

Shorts Spotlight: “Bacon ‘N’ Laces” — A blind single father of three manages a classic diner outside of New York City. A playful portrait of a dad and his children who refuse to be limited by their struggles. World Premiere. Shorts Block 11. ZACC, 5:30 p.m.

“Oyate” — In the wake of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, Indigenous people across the nation are using their newfound platform to shed light on the wide array of injustices they’ve suffered for centuries. Following key leaders of the #NODAPL movement, the film weaves together the story of colonization and the battle for decolonization that continues after the news cameras have stopped rolling. World Premiere. Wilma, 5:45 p.m.

“Relative” — In this riveting and challenging personal exposé, filmmaker Tracey Smith confronts her own childhood sexual abuse and unearths a dark history of multi-generational abuse in her seemingly idyllic family. Tracey is faced with an impossible choice: the cycle continues if she stays silent, but speaking up risks losing the family she loves. An exploration of the complexity of trauma, memory, family and love. World Premiere. Roxy, 6:15 p.m.

“After Antarctica” — A journey across both poles, the film follows legendary polar explorer Will Steger’s lifelong journey as an eyewitness to the greatest changes to the polar regions of our planet. Now, 30 years after his historic coast-to-coast expedition across the coldest continent on Earth, Steger heads out on the ice once again, at a time when he is not only known for being the first in history to complete these historic feats — he is also the last. Montana Premiere. Wilma, 8:15 p.m.

“Father of the Cyborgs” — Neuroscientist Phil Kennedy made global headlines in 1998 for implanting electrodes inside the brain of a paralyzed man to enable him to control a cursor with his mind. When Kennedy lost support for his research, he took matters into his own hands, to the dismay of his peers, and implanted electrodes into his own brain. A provocative exploration of the history of brain-computer interfacing, mind control, and the emerging debate about neuro-ethics. Northwest Premiere. Roxy, 8:30 p.m.

Filmmakers in attendance

Q&A following film screening

“April Sucks” — David Zucker, director. World Premiere. “American Scar” — Daniel Lombroso, director. Northwest Premiere. “Black Gold” — Sidney Linden, director. World Premiere. Competition Shorts 5. Wilma, 1 p.m.

“Last Days of August ” — Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck, co-director. World Premiere. “Shut Up and Paint” — Alex Mallis, co-director. World Premiere. Competition Shorts 6. Wilma, 3:15 p.m.

“My Duduś” — Tom Krawczyk, director. World Premiere. “West Country” – Rowan Ings, director. North American Premiere. Schoolhouse Docs. Roxy, 4 p.m.

“Bacon ‘N’ Laces” — Stephen Michael Simon, director. “Bring Them Home” — Ray Whitehouse, Kate Woodsome, directors. World Premiere. “Above Boy” — Sebastian Funke, director. World Premiere. Shorts Block 11. ZACC, 5:30 p.m.

“Oyate” — Brandon Jackson, Emil Benjamin, directors. Wilma, 5:45 p.m.

“Relative” — Tracey Arcabasso Smith, director. Roxy, 6:15 p.m.

“After Antarctica” — Lisa Remington, Amanda Spain, producers. Wilma, 8:15 p.m.

DocShop continues! Panels and workshops all week at the Missoula Public Library. Free and open to the public. Check bigskyfilmfest.org/docshop for schedules and seat reservations.

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