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Montana’s epic film fest returns to Missoula

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MISSOULA – The largest film festival in Montana is just around the corner. This year, its 13th, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival will feature more than 200 of the world’s top docudramas, and some local selections as well.

Over the course of 10 days from Feb. 19-28, the 2016 event will screen films curated from a list of over 1,500 submissions and host a filmmaking conference where participants can engage in workshops, panels and other discussions with some of the industry’s most influential leaders.

More than 20,000 fans, filmmakers and industry buffs will descend on Missoula, Mont., for screenings and the receptions, parties and discussions that accompany one of the West’s premiere nonfiction film events.

Here are a few of the festival’s top selections and a taste of what you can expect.

Borderline (2016, Director: Rebbie Ratner, New York City)
In this documentary’s world premiere, Regina has been diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder. The first time she tried to kill herself, she was 5 years old. Now she’s 45 and hell-bent on trying to live – most of the time. 88 mins.

Never Too Late (2015, Director: Devon Riter, Bozeman, Mont.)
Shad Blair, a 36-year-old plumber living in Stevensville, Mont., chases his childhood dream of becoming a professional basketball player. During this film’s world premiere, Blair heads to the Las Vegas Overseas Combine to see if he has what it takes to play with the very best. 28 mins.

Chameleon (2014, Director: Ryan Mullins, Montreal, Quebec)
Anas has been called the James Bond of Ghanaian journalism. He’s exposed a sex-trafficking ring by masquerading as a bartender, uncovered deplorable conditions in Accra’s psychiatric hospital, posed as a crown prince in order to bypass a rebel checkpoint. His unorthodox methods are infamous throughout Ghana, but, despite his notoriety, his face is unknown to the public. The film’s Montana premiere takes us behind the scenes of the Tiger Eye Investigations Bureau hot on the heels of his next big case. 78 mins.

The Bug (2016, Director: Damon Ristau, Missoula, Mont.)
This is the story of the most beloved and recognizable automobile on Earth, the Volkswagen Beetle. It’s the car that gave mobility to the masses and captured the hearts and minds of generations. From Nazi Germany to the Summer of Love and into the heart of the largest corporate scandal in automotive history, this is the story of the “people’s car.” 83 mins.

The Seventh Fire (2015, Director: Jack Riccobono, New York City)
Terrence Malick presents the Montana premiere of this haunting and visually arresting nonfiction film about the gang crisis in Indian Country. When Rob Brown, a Native American gang leader on a remote Minnesota reservation, is sentenced to prison for a fifth time, he must confront his role in bringing violent drug culture into his beloved Ojibwe community. As Rob reckons with his past, his 17-year-old protege, Kevin, dreams of the future: becoming the most powerful and feared Native gangster on the reservation. 78 mins.

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