Few events are as monumental to the world of documentary film making as Big Sky Film Festival. It is the Midwest’s largest documentary festival, honouring a massive selection of films each year. The event is held annually and presents awards for various categories. Many winners become eligible for the Oscars in the following year.
Read on to discover the winners of the 2020 event.
Mini Doc (For Films Under 15 Minutes)
This year’s award for Mini Documentary went to A Bold Experiment: a short film with a runtime of around ten minutes. The film tells the story of J. David Bamberger, who attempted to build an actual “man cave” in 1997. The news of this quirky man went on to dominate the news cycle for quite some time. The movie investigates the everlasting subject of man versus nature, putting into context the importance of bats for the environment.
Short Competition (For Films Between 15-40 Minutes)
The 2020 winner for Short Competition is Collete, directed by Anthony Giacchino and produced across France, Germany and the US. It tells the story of Collette Marin-Catherine, a French resistance fighter who had not set foot in Germany for over 75 years. The film documents her visit to the concentration camp, where her brother was killed.
The film portrays its difficult subject matter with beauty and intimacy and was praised by audiences and critics alike.
Big Sky Award Winner
This is the festival’s key award, considered to be the centrepiece of the entire event. It is a new award for the festival, and its first official winner is Public Trust. The film discusses the preservation of public lands in times of great environmental concern. It focuses on the legal conflicts in regards to land, covering three particular cases. Public Trust is based on the work of Montana-based journalist Hal Herring.
Big Sky Honorable Mention
Honourable mention for the Big Sky Award is Sister Rising: created by Willow O’Feral and Brad Heck. Sister Rising tells the story of six Native American women fighting for personal and tribal autonomy. The film is a call for political action, as well as an in-depth portrait of these brave women.
According to a statement issued by the Big Sky Jury: “This film shines an unflinching and ultimately uplifting light onto righting injustice on both an individual and systemic level.”
The winner in this category is I’m Not Alone: produced in Armenia and directed by Garin Hovannisian. The film follows a man’s cross-country journey on foot, using his travel to inspire political revolution while broadcasting the trip via social media. The film was awarded by a jury comprised of Anne Hubbell, Caroline Libresco and Travis Morss, who praised the film for its “bold artfulness, exacting vision, and unparalleled access to creating a thrilling and intimate chronicle of non-violent revolution.”
Honourable Mention, Feature Film
Honourable mention for Feature Film goes to Feel Good Man: filmed across the US, UK, Denmark, Canada and Hong Kong. The film was directed by Arthur Jones and explores the role social media played in the historic 2016 election. The jury described the movie as “sobering, yet entertaining–a forensic approach to explaining the evolution of Pepe the Frog from a goofy cartoon to an Alt-Right hate symbol.”
Which award winner are you most interested to see?