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Big Sky Documentary Festival Announces Winners

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Announces 2006 Festival Winners

Missoula, Montana - The award winning films of the 2006 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival were announced yesterday at the awards ceremony, closing the weeklong event. The award-winning films were selected by visiting and local jurors for the Best Documentary Feature Competition, Best Documentary Short Competition and the Big Sky Competition. The festival is the largest documentary film festival in the American West, and is an important contemporary platform for screening compelling and artistic films that embody aesthetic innovation.

The seven-day event screened 97 films from 28 countries, including 14 world premieres. Visiting filmmakers from around world were in attendance representing over 40 films at the festival. Despite record low temperatures during the first three days of the festival, screenings were packed, ticket lines were out the door and attendance was up fifty percent from 2005.

The 2006 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Retrospective series highlighted the forty-year filmmaking career from distinguished filmmaker, Les Blank. Blank was in attendance representing ten of his celebrated and was also a Shorts Competition Juror. The 2006 Retrospective Series was sponsored by Montana Committee for the Humanities.

Capturing the award for Best Documentary Feature were directors Jeff Zimbalist and Matt Mochary of FAVELA RISING.

Director Eva Weber from the UK was honored with the Best Documentary Short, with her international premiere of THE INTIMACY OF STRANGERS.

In the Big Sky Competition category, the award went to emerging filmmaker, Kevin Henry, with his world premiere of LAST THOUGHTS.

In addition to the awards presented to films in official competition categories, two additional awards were announced. The shorts jury honored Leah Wolchok's LIVING TO WORK with an Artistic Vision Award for having "its own unique pulse, with compelling imagery and an interesting use of sound. The film pushes the audience to reflect on the complexities of our high tech and fast paced world. The filmmaker manages to quickly make her point, yet leave a lasting impression."

Lea Nakonechny's TWO MUSEUMS was honored with a Special Jury Mention. According to the jurors, TWO MUSEUMS "warranted a special jury mention for its sense of place, visual composition and emotive power."

A distinguished 9-member Festival Jury selected the 2006 award winners in all three categories.

The 2006 Festival Jurors are:

Best Documentary Feature Competition:
Roger Hedden - Writer/Filmmaker (Bodies, Rest, and Motion, 1993)
Brad Tyer - Editor, Missoula Independent
Denise Dowling - Associate Professor, University of Montana, School of Journalism

Best Documentary Short Competition:
Les Blank - Filmmaker (subject of 2006 BSDFF Retrospective Series)
John Hoskyns-Abrahall - President, Bullfrog Films
Amy King - Associate Director, SILVERDOCS Documentary Film Festival

Big Sky Award Competition:
Andrew Smith - Writer/Filmmaker (The Slaughter Rule, 2002)
Cindy Stillwell - Associate Professor, Montana State University, Media and Theatre Arts
Mary Lance - Filmmaker (Agnes Martin: With My Back Turned to the World, 2003)

The 2006 Awards are sponsored by the Holiday Inn Parkside, Missoula.

Big Sky is proud to include the Montana Committee for the Humanities, Holiday Inn Parkside, Montana Film Office, Montana PBS, dB Audio, International Documentary Challenge and The Sundance Channel as Presenting Sponsors.

For more information www.bigskyfilmfest.org

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