With films made in the Treasure State and around the world, the sixth annual Montana Film Festival kicks off next week in a virtual format.
Running Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 8-11, the festival includes five feature films and several shorts that attendees can stream from the comfort of their homes using an online video platform called Xerb.
“The 2020 film selections feature an even balance of male and female directors, as well as stories from a wide variety of experiences from all over the world,” according to a press release.
Two Montana-made films will have their Montana premieres, including “Cowboys,” filmed in Kalispell, and “Two Eyes,” shot in Montana and California.
“Cowboys,” directed by Anna Kerrigan, follows a recently separated couple who disagree about their son’s sexual identity. The father, Troy (Steve Zahn), wanting his son Joe (Sasha Knight) to live as his authentic self, runs away with him into the Montana wilderness.
“Two Eyes,” follows three characters from three different time periods, including an artist in late 19th century Montana. Directed by Travis Fine, the film explores gender, love and grief and features Montana-based actors Amber Rose Mason, Sam Enemy Hunt and Lily Gladstone.
The other three feature films at the festival are “Freeland,” a thriller about a marijuana farmer who finds herself fighting for her survival after legalization, “Shiva Baby,” a comedy that takes place at a shiva, and “Sophie Jones,” which follows a teenage girl navigating her mother’s death.
Twenty-three short films will also be available through the festival, including several made in Montana.
“Shorts range from a story of a young mother who keeps throwing up plastic blocks in ‘Blocks’ (Sundance Film Festival 2020), to an anxious deaf black man who badly needs a haircut in ‘Waves,’ to sci-fi drama in ‘Jack and Jo Don’t Want to Die’ (Tribeca Film Festival 2020), to the haunting ‘Yá’át’ééh Abiní’ (2019 Sundance Indigenous Lab) about a deadly sickness plaguing the Navajo Nation,’” the release said.
Festival passes cost $20 and include access to all feature and short films from Thursday, Oct. 8 through Sunday, Oct. 11. Hosted by the Roxy Theater, “Star” and “Galaxy” members will receive $5 off and “Cosmic” and “Supernova” members will receive access to the festival free of charge. The event also includes live virtual Q&A sessions with filmmakers. While anyone in the U.S. can purchase passes to the festival, some films are available to Montana viewers only. For more information and to purchase passes, visit montanafilmfestival.org or theroxytheater.org.