By Sarah Gianelli EBS Contributor

BIG SKY – If there were any doubts about the success of hosting a film festival in Big Sky, they were erased on Sept. 24 during the Big Sky premiere of Mountainfilm on Tour.

A branch of the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival that brings the best-loved documentary shorts from the annual festival to theaters around the world, Mountainfilm on Tour sold out all 211 seats in Lone Peak Cinema five days before the event.

“Big Sky was treated to something very special Saturday night,” said Rich Addicks, who led organization efforts for the event’s inaugural year. “It was a sellout crowd and everybody went home with big smiles on their faces. People were almost giddy about the evening and the idea that this will become an annual event.”

The evening was a community affair made possible by a community effort. The Arts Council of Big Sky, Gallatin River Task Force and a 24-person committee comprised almost entirely of volunteers came together to make the event a reality. Chef Lizzie Peyten donated her time to create hors d’oeuvres for the pre-show cocktail party; Lone Peak High School students volunteered to check tickets; and Big Sky band The Neverland Collective performed during the after-party.

The funny, touching and exciting films left the audience feeling uplifted and inspired—and jazzed for winter. The people’s choice award for best film went to “Edges,” a story about a 90-year-old figure skater. “The Accord”—a film by Bozeman’s very own R.C. Cone, who was present to discuss the film—came in a close second.

“The Mountainfilm event was a great night for Big Sky,” said Brian Hurlbut, executive director of the Arts Council of Big Sky. “The ACBS is excited about the possibility of a film festival in Big Sky. We want this effort to grow organically, and we plan on adding more to the Mountainfilm event each year as we grow.”

Lone Peak Cinema will celebrate its fifth anniversary in November with a number of special events and free screenings. Visit lonepeakcinema.com for a schedule of events.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed Addicks’s quote to Lone Peak Cinema co-owner Sally Fisher.