Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and Montana Journalism announce new partnership

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival LogoThe University of Montana School of Journalism is partnering with the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival for the first time to offer educational opportunities in documentary filmmaking both on and off campus. The highlight of the partnership is an event called "Mentor Day" which will pair Montana Journalism students with high schoolers from around the state.

Students from as far east as Big Sky and as far north as Eureka have been selected to participate in the guerilla documentary filmmaking class. On Saturday, Feb. 22, the students will take to the streets of Missoula to produce a short film. They will be mentored by UM students currently taking the documentary filmmaking course offered by the Radio-Television Department in the School of Journalism. On Sunday, professional filmmakers and graduates of Montana Journalism will view and critique the high school student work.

“I feel like this part is a long time coming,” DocShop Director and former Montana Journalism Adjunct Professor Gita Saedi Kiely said. She added that this is a great opportunity for high school students to get a taste of filmmaking and for college students to share their experiences. The finished product will be shown at the Wilma Theater on Sunday, Feb. 23, the closing day of the festival.

Mentor Day is part of the BSDFF's DocShop effort, which allows the public, documentary filmmakers and prospective filmmakers the opportunity to network and discuss the industry through various panels and presentations.

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, academics and filmmakers discuss the slippery slope between poetic license and non-fiction filmmaking. Journalism Assistant Professor Jule Banville and Interim Dean Denise Dowling will participate on the panel at 2:30 p.m. in the University Center.

On Thursday, Feb. 20, 15 filmmakers will present or ‘pitch’ their film ideas and sizzle reels to a panel of industry executives from 9 – 5 p.m. in the UC Theater. This year’s panelists include HBO, The Fledgling Fund, Chicken & Egg Pictures and Al Jazeera America. The event is free and open to the public.

The film, A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power, and Jayson Blair at the New York Times, premieres in Montana on Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Wilma and Wednesday, Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. at the Crystal. Samantha Grant’s film is based on the shocking story of Jayson Blair, the most infamous serial plagiarist of our time and how he unleashed the massive scandal that rocked the New York Times and the entire world of journalism. 

- posted 02/16/14 -