PHOTO COURTESY MEGAN BUECKING

Mountainfilm comes to Big Sky for fifth time

Three-part event sparks stoke for the outdoors in film festival

Over the weekend Big Sky hosted the Mountainfilm Festival in a three-part event including the Town to Trail 10K put on by the Big Sky Community Organization, the tailgate party in the town center, and drive-in movie theater. Overseen by the Art Council of Big Sky, the goal of this series was to promote and inspire people in the community to get outside and celebrate nature through documentary films this fall.

This is the fifth year the Art’s Council has hosted the event, which is originally based out of Telluride, Colo. and started in 1979. Primarily made up of short films—the longest spanning about 17 minutes— “the festival showcases nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political and social justice issues,” according to the Mountainfilm website.

Last year, with the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the film festival was severely impacted by the ability for people to gather in large groups. This year the Arts Council felt like they could afford ta little more flexibility by incorporating a tailgate party downtown with live music from local band One Leaf Clover and delicious bites to eat from Peter and Whitney Lodi’s Mountain Fox Kitchen.

“We had good ticket sales… we estimate there were probably 200 to 250 people,” said Megan Buecking, Outreach and Education director. “My favorite film was Golden Age Karate. That one is about a teenager passionate about karate who started teaching his grandparents karate and then teaching it at the retirement home.” The pop-up movie theater is always the center piece of the festival. This time around they showed films on mountain biking, losing the ability to see, dealing with loss as an adventurous mother, and the challenges associated with adventure sports as a person of color.

Upcoming events this fall at the Art Center include a painting workshop on Saturday, Sept. 18, with Allison McGree called “Feeling in Color.” Buecking explained, “We now are really transitioning to working with the school as far as our programs go. I’ll be working with the school to plan a couple field trips and residencies… This time of year we [also] really focus on our public art program. We are installing a new sculpture in October by artist Pedro De Movellan called ‘Gibbous.’"

Along with fall programming starting up for the school, the Arts Council is preparing for the introduction of the BASE Center in 2022. “That’s a huge focus,” said Megan. “We’re hiring staff. We’re getting a kiln delivered. We are setting up the studio space.” The three-year community space project is scheduled to be open to the public in 2022.

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