In addition to over 60 independent films from around the globe, the inaugural BZN International Film Festival in Bozeman June 7-10 will feature a number of educational Festival Conversations, along with a free family night.
For its first year BZN will spotlight women in film and films with an environmental focus. The festival will screen at over 10 venues, located on the Montana State University campus (including at the Museum of the Rockies’ Hager Auditorium) and in downtown Bozeman, where films show at the newly renovated Rialto, the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture, the Ellen Theatre, and the Willson Auditorium.
Categories include documentary features and shorts, narrative features and shorts, animation and experimental films. The eight Montana-made films include a profile of Red Ants Pants founder Sarah Calhoun, a documentary about the tiny-home movement, “Montana Vets, Montana Waters,” about a fly-fishing trip for veterans on the Big Hole River, and Big Sky Grant recipient “Willow Creek Road.”
Dr. Shane Doyle will open the BZN festival June 7 with a Northern Cheyenne Honor Song, blessing all participants. An enrolled member of the Crow Tribe who hails from Crow Agency, Montana, Doyle has a master’s degree in Native American Studies from Montana State University and is currently working on a Ph.D. in education.
James Redford’s “Happening: A Clean Energy Revolution” launches screenings at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 7, at the Emerson Center’s Crawford Theater. The well-known documentary director will attend the screening and discuss the film with the audience. Friday morning, Redford joins the lead architects of local firm Love Schack to discuss sustainability in the west as it pertains to clean building, and the viability of clean energy and building in Bozeman. The Festival Conversation takes place at the Museum of the Rockies and is open to all pass holders on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Other Festival Conversations examine a variety of subjects tied to films presented during the festival, including sexuality and gender identity, familial relationships, and worldwide and local environmental efforts. The conversations also spotlight female entrepreneurs in Bozeman, and explore the nuances of filming in Montana. A pitching seminar for filmmakers and festivalgoers is sponsored by nationally recognized indie filmmaking platform Seed & Spark.
A sampling of feature-length films includes:
- Living in Future’s Past: Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges presents this beautifully photographed tour de force of original thinking on who we are and the environmental challenges we face, 8 p.m. Friday at the Emerson Center. A Q&A follows with Bridges and director Susan Kucera.
- Mankiller: The story of an American legend: Wilma Mankiller, who overcame rampant sexism and personal challenges to emerge as the Cherokee Nation’s first woman Principal Chief in 1985.
- Sami Blood: This Swedish feature film tells the story of Elle Marja, a reindeer-breeding Sámi girl exposed to the racism of the 1930s at her boarding school, who begins dreaming of another life.
- Moksha: A film that follows three Nepali women who have dedicated their lives to spreading the joy that mountain biking can give to women across the Himalayas.
- Outcaste: The House that Carol Built: A story of how the dream of an elderly English teacher finally comes true with the help of a rickshaw driver, a lapsed Buddhist monk and a journey into the high Himalayas.
- The Hungry Heart: An intimate look at the often hidden world of prescription drug addiction through the eyes of Vermont pediatrician Fred Holmes who works with patients struggling with this disease.
- Liyana: Five Swazi orphaned children turn past trauma into creative fuel for an original collective fairytale, in which they send a young girl on a dangerous quest.
Old Main Gallery, a leading BZN sponsor, will host a Quick Finish with Kevin Red Star noon-2 p.m. Friday, June 8, and artist receptions Friday and Saturday evenings from 5-6 p.m., celebrating Red Star and acclaimed photographer Louise Johns, respectively.
BZN passes are now on sale at www.bozemanfilmcelebration.com. Tickets for individual films will be available beginning June 4 at the ERA Box Office, and at each venue one hour prior to screenings. Individual tickets are $12 and may be used once. Ticket holders are granted entrance after pass holders, so seats are not guaranteed.