Time for another whirlwind doc roundup.
I got back from Big Sky Documentary Film Festival on Tuesday. I think a good time was had by all. The locals are thrilled to have guests. And the guests are thrilled to be visiting the 60,000 person town. I stayed at the Red Lion Inn. Sounds fancy, I know. Theyâ€™re all about your comfort. In the middle of the night I was dreaming about trains and woke up to find this.
I had a lot of shorts to watch over the course of 4 days as a member of the documentary shorts jury and I dove right in on Friday as the festival kicked into full swing. The festival played a whole program of films from the International Documentary Challenge. Itâ€™s very cool. Teams sign up, get a genre and then have 5 days to make a short doc. Itâ€™s pretty amazing that anything works out at all. The 2007 edition of the Challenge is just around the corner and runs March 1-5.
I spent the evening doing a movie and dinner. And really I think itâ€™s a great thing for the festival to market as an activity. I went to see The War Tapes and then joined some fellow jurors and friends for dinner at 515. We ate in the wine bar, which has a different menu than the upstairs la-de-da restaurant. But we managed to eat everything (maybe a few too many things) and gorge on two orders of wild boar short ribs from the upstairs menu as well. Oooohâ€¦what a waitstaff will do to keep a group of 7 from up and leaving.
The rest of the fest included more films, panels, parties and even a late night of bowling at Liberty Lanes (Steve James is a pretty good bowler!). My last night in Missoula I spent two hours deliberating with the shorts jury while Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? screened in the 1,100 seat Wilma Theatre. By the time my co-jurors and I emerged with our Big Sky winners freshly picked I watched Mr. Smith producer Mike Kime answer questions about the film and from what I could tell from the Q&A and major audience response Mr. Smith picked up some new fans.
Here are the 2007 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Award Winners:
The Cats of Mirikitaniâ€¨
Director: Linda Hattendorf
A Revolving Doorâ€¨
Director: Marilyn Braverman
Best Mini Doc
Ha Ha Ha Americaâ€¨
Director: JD Ligon
Big Sky Awardâ€¨
Director: Travis Peterson
Artistic Vision Awardâ€¨ Feature
The Colour of Olivesâ€¨
Director: Carolina Rivas
Artistic Vision Awardâ€¨ Short
Director: Wojciech Kasperski
The festival staff and volunteers were incredibly accommodating. It was great to watch docs with friends and make new ones in the friendly town.
Wednesday night I attended the International Documentary Associationâ€™s annual celebration of Academy Award nominated docs. It was a nice evening. And quick too!
On Saturday the IDA will be showing all the nominated films at the Writerâ€™s Guild Theatre. It usually sells out. Iâ€™m planning on seeing Iraq in Fragments. Itâ€™s my only missing film from the category. See you there.
A week from today Iâ€™ll be at True/False in Columbia, MO. Theyâ€™re showing The Fighting Cholitas along with a whole slew of great docs. Iâ€™m looking forward to another great time there! Theyâ€™ve also started some cool interactive stuff on their website (the T/F Experience). Ooooooooohâ€¦
SXSW is fast approaching. Have fun! I wonâ€™t be there this year. So Iâ€™ll be looking to my fellow bloggers for news and inspiration.
Oh â€“ AND â€“ be sure to set your Tivo, program your VCR or just plain plop yourself down on the couch with a snack and watch Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? on Independent Lens. It premieres February 27th. Check local listings.
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