First pioneered in Venice, Italy in the early 1930s, the film festival has grown – to a number exceeding 3,000 of them worldwide according to the Motion Picture Association – in popularity, availability, and impact on filmmakers and the industry they represent as well as on the general economies the festivals inhabit. As noted by the Motion Picture Association regarding the impact film festivals have for a variety of society’s moving parts, the Sundance Film Festival in one year alone secured $151.5 million for Utah’s economy and has generated over $400 million for the state in the past five years! For budding and experienced filmmakers and other creative agents of the industry, though, money isn’t all that’s at stake.

14 of the estimated 3,000+ film festivals worldwide are hosted here in Montana. With the stunning aesthetics, incomparable natural settings, and widely held community support for creativity and inspired storytelling that Montana offers, it is no surprise that filmmakers and other creatives alike engage the state by filming and submitting their films in and to Montana.

The 14 unique film festivals featured in Montana are:

Audience Awards Film Festival – Missoula, MT
Bigfork Independent Film Festival – Bigfork, MT
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival – Missoula, MT
BZN International Film Festival – Bozeman, MT
Covellite International Film Festival – Butte, MT
Equus International Film Festival – Dillon, MT
Flathead Lake International Cinemafest – Polson, MT
International Wildlife Film Festival – Missoula, MT
MisCON International Short Film Festival – Missoula, MT
Montana Film Festival – Missoula, MT
Montana Fishing Film Festival – Missoula, MT
Montana International Film Festival – Billings, MT
Nłʔay Indigenous Film Festival – Missoula, MT

Film festivals provide vital opportunities across the film spectrum for those involved, particularly for the creators and crews of the films being showcased. Having a film screened at a film festival is often a critical step for filmmakers, promoting engagement with an audience, networking with other film creatives, and generating interest for eventual sale and distribution of their work. Film festivals are an advantageous hub for anyone creating, interested in, or simply supporting local economy through film.