Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Announces 2017 Open Call for Audio Documentaries

Sep 6, 2017

In partnership with Montana Public Radio, Big Sky will present selections as part of an all-new AudioDocs program, including live listening events, audio shorts playing with feature films during the festival week, and panel conversations on the intersection of film and audio during the DocShop conference.
Credit Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

Submissions are being accepted for a brand new category at the most prolific documentary event in the American West. The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is seeking audio documentaries for the 15th annual festival in Missoula, Montana, February 16-25, 2018.

The open call seeks sound-rich, true stories told creatively as audio documentaries, running between 3 minutes and 25 minutes. Entries for the AudioDocs program may be submitted online through the submittable platform, now through Sunday, November 5, 2017. Selections will be made by a panel of radio broadcasters and audio producers.

A program of the Big Sky Film Institute, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival has grown to become the premier venue for non-fiction film in the American West. The festival draws an audience of 20,000 and film entries from every corner of the globe to a uniquely intimate mountain town setting with local Montana flavor. For 15 years, Big Sky has continued to engage vibrant conversations evolving in the industry, pushing the definition of documentary to discover what lies at its boundaries.

While Big Sky will always be a film festival, the audio documentary has recently been the fastest growing medium in the documentary field, with radio and podcasts enjoying a proverbial 21st century renaissance. At the 2017 festival, Big Sky dipped its toe in the audio pool, hosting a "Listen Lounge" where individuals could don a pair of headphones and indulge in locally produced audio documentaries.

"The Listen Lounge in 2017 exposed a desire for a more interactive and shared festival experience with the audio documentary medium," says Big Sky Executive Director Rachel Gregg. "Audio stories and podcasts are often consumed independently, so we're excited to explore the impact of audio documentary in a collective setting."

Selections in the AudioDocs program will play in front of feature films at the festival, as well as at collective listening events where audiences can participate in a variety of activities, or simply kick back while taking in the audio doc. Big Sky will also include a deeper dive into audio documentary producing as part of the 2018 DocShop conference. Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, DocShop is a 5-day forum that will spotlight the intersection of film and technology. Sound recording, audio editing and audio effects are all integral parts of producing a compelling documentary film. A panel of audio producers and film audio experts will discuss trends in audio doc that have implications for documentary film as well as the future of the audio documentary as a storytelling form.

AudioDocs is presented in partnership with National Public Radio affiliate Montana Public Radio (MTPR).

More information on the AudioDocs program and submissions can be found at