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Big Sky Documentary Film Festival ready to open

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Celebrates Its 3rd Annual February 16-22
Missoula, Montana

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival announces program highlights at its third annual event with seven days full of screenings, panels, filmmaker Q & As, and public and VIP events. Big Sky brings the best new and classic documentaries to the Rocky Mountain West, with 96 films, as well as special screenings. Now in its third year, Big Sky continues to attract many of the most compelling films from around the world, and is rapidly becoming the most talked about documentary festival in the United States. For more information, visit www.bigskyfilmfest.org.


Programs are now available at locations around Missoula and western Montana. Programs can also be downloaded in pdf format at http://highplainsfilms.org/festival/selections.html

Daily Coverage
NewWest.net will feature daily coverage starting the week prior to opening day. Click here (http://www.newwest.net/index.php/city/main/C463/L8) or bookmark www.newwest.net/bigskydoc to read film reviews, track daily blogging from the Wilma Theater, view trailers, listen to podcasts of exclusive director interviews and write your own reviews in the "unfiltered" section.

Tickets and Passes
Festival Passes are now available for sale on-line at http://highplainsfilms.org/festival/tickets.html and will also be sold at the Wilma Theater Box Office during the week of the festival.

Pass and ticket prices are as follows:

All Access Pass $100 - Good for all festival screenings, including the awards night screenings as well as all exclusive VIP parties and special events. Also includes access to VIP balcony.

Full Festival Pass $75 - The doc lover special. Good for all screenings, including access to VIP balcony. Does not include access to Wednesday night awards screenings or VIP events.

Five Screenings Pass $30 - Good for any five matinee or evening screenings, but not the awards night screenings. Does not include Award Screenings.

Awards Night Ticket $10 - The local's favorite. Good for the repeat screenings of all three festival award winners from each competition categories on February 22 at 6:30 pm.

Single Screening Ticket $6/$7 matinee/evening.

Passes purchased on-line will be held at Will Call and available for pick up during the week of the festival. Bring valid ID. All passes and tickets are non-refundable & non-transferable. Pass holders will have immediate entrance into the theater. It is recommended to arrive at least 15 minutes early for all daytime screenings and at least 30 minutes early for all evening screenings when purchasing tickets at the door.

Awards Press Conference and Screenings
Each year Big Sky gives awards in three competition categories, the Documentary Feature Competition, Documentary Short Competition and the Big Sky Competition. Winners of each category will be announced during a press conference sponsored by the Holiday Inn Parkside held at the Parkside at the Wilma, Wednesday, February 22nd at 5:00 p.m. This event will be open to media and all-access pass holders. Following the press conference on February 22nd at 6:30p.m. all three of the award winning films will be shown concurrently.

Green Room
February 17-22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Sundance Channel, Montana Film Office, Montana PBS, the International Documentary Challenge, Newwest.net, Redbull and Db Audio will be hosting the Green Room located in the Parkside at the Wilma. The Green Room will be open to filmmakers, press, judges, and All Access Pass holders for networking, receptions and private screenings.

Computer workstations, sponsored by Best Buy, will be available in the Green Room. NewWest.Net, (http://www.newwest.net) the innovative on-line community devoted to the culture, economy and politics of the Rocky Mountain West, has partnered with the festival this year to provide wireless internet access throughout the Wilma Theater and to give all movie-goers a chance to post their own film reviews on NewWest.Net.

Visiting Filmmakers
This year at Big Sky over 40 films will be represented by visiting filmmakers from around the world. Following each screening where filmmakers are present, there will be question and answer sessions where audiences can engage with the visiting artists. The following films will have Q & As following their screenings:

A Well Spent Life - Les Blank
Agnes Martin: With My Back to the World - Mary Lance
Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt - Margaret Brown
Bob Smith, USA - Neil Abramson
Burden of Dreams - Les Blank
Caught in the Crossfire - Mark Manning
Cheating Death - Eric Geringas
Clearcut: The Story of Philomath, Oregon - Peter Richardson
Disarm - Brian Liu
Dizzy Gillespie - Les Blank
El Inmigrante - David Eckenrode
Emma - Valerie Krex
Fatboy: The Movie - Magnolia Martin
French Fries to Go - Howard Donner
Gap-Toothed Women - Les Blank
Hand of God - Joe Cultrera
High Plains Winter (special screening, screening time below) - Cindy Stillwell
Hot Afternoons in Montana - Ken Kimmelman
I Went to the Dance - Les Blank
Intimacy of Strangers - Eva Weber
Julie - Les Blank
Last Thoughts - Kevin Henry
Left Behind - Laurent Gorse
Milepost 314 - Logan Schneider
My Old Fiddle - Les Blank
Out in the Heartland - Gretchen and Andrea Hildebran
Pushing Up Daisies - Doug Whyte
Richart - Dawn Smallman
Sentenced Home - David Grabias
Shulie - Jerry Blumenthal
Sweet Little Sixties - Martin Holt
Teachings of the Tree People - Katie Jennings & Tracy Rector
The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins - Les Blank
The Elevator Operator - Jonathan Skurnik
The Fire Within - Danny Reyes
The Maestro: King of the Cowboy Artists - Les Blank
Two Museums - Lea and Simon Nakonechny
Unschooled - Jason Marsh
Weekend Warriors - Alexa Shulz
Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe - Les Blank

The 2006 Big Sky Retrospective Series is proud to have distinguished filmmaker Les Blank not only in attendance throughout the festival, but also present for Q&As for all ten of his films being screened over the course of the week. This year's Retrospective Series is sponsored by Montana Committee for the Humanities.

Best of Big Sky on Montana PBS
On February 12 at 10pm Montana PBS will be airing four of the finest films from the 2005 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. This show will highlight some of the best films from 2005 including last year's Artistic Vision Award winners, "Nome Road System" and "Devil's Teeth," as well as "Life in a Basket" and "Joey." The special broadcast will be hosted by Montana filmmaker Gita Saedi.

See http://www.montanapbs.org/BestoftheBigSky/ for more details.

Special Events
During the festival, a number of public and private events will take place in the Wilma building and around downtown Missoula. The public events are listed below. Private events are open to All Access Pass holders only.

Wednesday, February 15th from 3-8 pm -
Big Sky Kickoff party at Kettlehouse Brewing. A chance to meet the Big Sky staff, look over the festival program find out insider tips!

Saturday, February 18 at 10 am. -
Parkside, downstairs at the Wilma Theater. International Documentary Challenge presentation.
Doug Whyte, Director of the 1st annual International Documentary Challenge will make a presentation about the new timed filmmaking competition. Teams from around the globe have just 5 days to make a short, non-fiction film. The winning films will screen this summer at a theatrical event presented in association with SILVERDOCS, hosted by AFI Silver Theatre. A traveling showcase of the winners will play at festivals and film series' across the world, in addition a DVD will be released and television distribution will be pursued. The IDC takes place this March 22-27, 2006. Read more about the event at www.documentarychallenge.org. The International Documentary Challenge is an official sponsor of the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Green Room.

Saturday, February 18th at 1:00 pm -
Panel Discussion: Women in Documentary Film. Moderated by Gita Saedi.
Women documentary filmmakers are changing the way that the world sees, hears and receives women's stories. By capturing women's reality, documentary filmmakers are generating conversations about women's concerns. The following events are open to the public.

Saturday, February 18th at 7:00pm -
Party at Parkside at the Wilma.
A chance for the public to enjoy live music while engaging with visiting filmmakers and judges. A cash bar will be on site.

Sunday, February 19th at 1:00pm -
Panel Discussion: Social Issue Docs In An Entertainment Driven Market. Moderated by Montana PBS representative Daniel Dauterive.

Monday, February 20th at 5:30pm -
Special screening straight from Sundance. Cindy Stillwell's "High Plains Winter" will open the 5:30 pm Shorts Program Monday evening. Stillwell's new film artistically illuminates the cold and magnificent times of a Montana town. U.S.A., 2005, 10 Minutes, color.

Wednesday, February 22nd at 6:30pm -
Awards Night Screenings. The three award winning films from the 2006 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival will show together. Awards Night Screening Tickets are on sale now at http://highplainsfilms.org/festival/tickets.html.

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