The 14th Big Sky Documentary Film Festival begins tomorrow, Friday, February 17, and runs through Sunday, February 26. Nerly 60 new and recent feature documentaries will screen, in addition to an extensive selection of retrospective programming celebrating the work of Daniel Junge and EyeSteelFilm. Films are presented in more than a dozen thematic strands, some of which noted below.
The fest’s Feature Competition offers a number of world premieres, including Ricardo Gaona’s PARQUE CENTRAL, a portrait of the goings on in a Guatemalan park; Chris Valdés and Ted Griswold’s OLANCHO (pictured), about a Honduran farmer turned narco-corridos musician; Frederik Jan Depickere’s THE HORN, which profiles a sociopathic Colombian warlord; and Daniel Roher’s GHOSTS OF OUR FOREST, about the struggles of a displaced indigenous Ugandan tribe.
The American West is celebrated in the films vieing for the Big Sky Award, among them: Reed Lindsay’s CHARLIE VS GOLIATH, a campaign film following a former priest’s bid for the Senate; Jesse James Miller’s CHASING EVEL: THE ROBBIE KNIEVEL STORY, which follows the son of the legendary showman; Dan Girmus’ OYATE (pictured), about two families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation; and Anne Makepeace’s TRIBAL JUSTICE, which explores restorative justice through the examples of tribal courts.
Thematic strands include Made in Montana, which offers CHARGED, Phillip Baribeau’s portrait of a man’s recovery from electrocution; Destination Adventure, which presents CROSSING THE LINE, David Tryhorn’s look at the rise and fall of a track prodigy; Globetrotter, with AMONG WOLVES (pictured), Shawn Convey’s profile of a biker club consisting of veterans of the Bosnian War; Off the Beaten Path, featuring ROADSIDE RADIATION, Moritz Schulz’s tales of life neighboring Chernobyl; and Sightseeing & Soundscapes, including GIP, Patrick Sheehan’s portrait of a gravedigger bluesman.
Other themes include activism and enlightenment in View From the Lookout, with films like Derek Hallquist’s DENIAL, in which a family faces self-deception, and David Feige’s UNTOUCHABLE (pictured), about a lobbyist’s crusade against se offenders; Peace & Conflict, featuring Alison Ellwood’s AMERICAN JIHAD, exploring the domestic reach of holy war, and Matthew Eddy and Michael Dreiling’s A BOLD PEACE, about the costs and benefits of Costa Rica’s abolishment of the military; and human/nature connections in Natural Facts, offering Craig Leeson’s A PLASTIC OCEAN, exploring the impact of modern pollution on our oceans, and Keely Kernan’s IN THE HILLS AND HOLLOWS, which follows the encroachment of natural gas on traditional coal communities in West Virginia.