The LEF staff has been out and about! Following up Sara’s post about True/False, I’m reporting back on my time at the Big Sky Film Festival in Missoula, Montana where the Big Sky team headed by Mike Steinberg put together some really wonderful programming. Some highlights for me were the Jury Prize winner Chasing Ice, about photographer James Balog and beautiful/devastating glacier photography (audience members were audibly gasping) and getting to see one of my favorites, DA Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back, on a big screen. I was also really impressed with how well the shorts blocks pulled films together under thematic headers that provided a context for the movies to interact.
We also got to see work-in-progress excerpts of LEF grantee Rebecca Richman Cohen’s Code of the West (officially premiering now at South By Southwest). The film is about the fallout of legalized medical marijuana in Montana and was filmed right in Missoula, so some of the film’s subjects were able to come see the preview and there were some strong reactions from people who have been hugely affected by the events in the movie.
I was there screening a film of my own and had the opportunity to take part in Big Sky in the Schools, which brings documentaries and filmmakers from the festival to Missoula-area high schools. The audiences of students at Hellgate High and Big Sky High were lively and curious – not to mention givers of lovely thank-you notes. Along with the sweeping views, this was one of my favorite parts of the festival!
View from the filmmaker lounge