Big Sky’s homegrown production welcomes diverse films with familiar backdrops
By Jen Clancey DIGITAL PRODUCER
It was a feat of videography: with just close-up shots and rock music in the background, Beatlab Media House may have made two wooden marbles appear sentient. But then again, art is up to the interpreter.
The Big Sky Shootout, a local film festival hosted by Second Season Co., held its first annual Summer Shootout event. Established in 2014, the Shootout has invited filmmakers and photographers of all styles and skill levels to contribute their own Big Sky perspective during the winter season.
That changed this year, when six films and over 50 photos documented summer in Big Sky.
“This is different,” said Erik Morrison, founder of Second Season. The winter event usually has a good number of submissions focusing on winter sports and scenery, but the summer gave participants wider opportunities.
“The diversity in film I expected for sure,” Morrison said. Topics ranged from a family’s day picking huckleberries to drone footage of mountain biking.
“It’s a good look into Big Sky culture,” he added.
Videographer Chris Kamman was the emcee in The Waypoint and noted the crowd’s energy.
“In my mind it’s almost more of a culture fest than a film fest in a way,” Kamman said. “Of course, it’s centered around the films and whatnot. But it’s… a place to see local culture.”
After the first showing, Jeremy Marlington received compliments for documenting his son’s adventure with huckleberries on a local trail.
“For him to go from not eating solid food to being able to walk and picking up the berries off the bush by himself. I was like, this is pretty amusing,” the 16-year Big Sky resident said.
“This is kind of like the big scale Montana lifestyle, our lifestyle. And all these wonderful trails really close by. I think it’s a fantastic thing for the community to have this event.”
“I’m really excited to see [Big Sky Shootout] grow and develop throughout the years,” Marlington said.
Local videographer Micah Robin described the value of seeing different perspectives of the mountain town.
“It brings everybody together in a very positive way because everyone’s having a good time and talking about what they’re doing,” Robin said.
Even in between showings, contributors were already thinking of film ideas for next summer. Andrew Robin, Micah’s brother, explained in a conversation that viewers could expect to see more outdoor recreation at next year’s Shootout.
“We didn’t even touch on rafting or kayaking, really there’s so much that it can grow into,” Andrew said.
The event ended with Big Sky locals enjoying snacks, drinks and conversation at the venue’s bar, some even discussing new ideas with this year’s artists.
“A lot of people leave this event feeling inspired,” Andrew said. “And they’re starting to riff on ideas. And I think the main thing would be, if you have that idea, and you feel inspired to just follow through.”
Morrison said ultimately, the vision for the Shootout is that it tells stories of Big Sky. “We take great pride in the fact that this is a Big Sky show.”