Big Sky Film Grant


Hell Creek Badlands Hell Creek Badlands near Jordan, MT

The Montana Film Office (MFO) was established in 1974 as a central information source for filmmakers and to provide services to the film industry and the citizens of Montana. Its primary role is to promote the state of Montana as a media production location for film, television, and print industries. Today, MFO operates within the Destination MT Division of the Department of Commerce and is funded by an allocation of the Lodging Facility Use Tax – commonly known as the “bed tax.” In addition to the many benefits of filming in Montana, MFO offers a robust grant program to attract, grow and sustain the industry.

The Big Sky Film Grant (BSFG) program builds and supports partnerships with filmmakers and production companies with the intention to create Montana film industry jobs. In addition to providing grant funding, the program elevates and supports Montana filmmakers, crew, and those businesses and individuals providing the products, services and locations to the film industry. To qualify, a production must film 50% or more of the principal photography days in Montana.

In 2023, Senate Bill 540 of the 68th Montana Legislature revised the laws related to state-funded tourism promotion to require a specific allocation of bed tax for “Montana-based film grants.” The Big Sky Film Grant program was reformed and expanded to include a focus on Rural Montana going forward.

Depending upon the category, eligible productions include feature films, short films, documentaries, television series, limited series, music videos, and others. Certain categories of productions are excluded from the program, including, but not limited to, broadcast news or current affairs programs, interview or talk shows, instructional videos, sport shows or events, religious or political campaigns, adult content, and daytime soap operas.

For complete eligibility and application requirements, please refer to the BSFG Application Guidelines and BSFG Administration Manual.

 


Grant Categories

Feature Film & TV

Awards in this category are made to a Montana-Based production of a feature length film, television series, or limited series, with a minimum Montana-Spend of $350,000. Award amounts are not limited in this category but are subject to annual program funding limitations.

Resident Filmmaker – Feature Film & TV

Awards in this category are made to a Montana-Based production of a feature length project that is produced by a Montana resident filmmaker who has a validated credit as a producer, director, or primary director of photography. Award amounts are a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of up to $100,000 per project. Proof of Montana residency must be submitted with an application to be eligible.

Short-Form Content

Awards in this category are to a Montana-Based production of a short-form content film project. Examples include a short narrative, pilot episode, documentary, animation, webisode, Montana-centric story, or a film series of episodes each 60 minutes or less in length and with a budget of less than $350,000 per episode. Award amounts are a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of up to $50,000 per project.  

Resident Filmmaker – Short-Form Content

Awards in this category are made to a Montana-Based production of a short-form content project that is produced by a Montana resident filmmaker who has a validated credit as a producer, director, or primary director of photography. Examples include a short narrative, pilot episode, documentary, animation, webisode, Montana-centric story, or a film series of episodes each 60 minutes or less in length and with a budget of less than $350,000 per episode. Award amounts are a minimum of $1,000 and a maximum of up to $50,000 per project. Proof of Montana residency must be submitted with an application to be eligible.


2024 Big Sky Film Grant 

The Big Sky Film Grant program accepts applications on an annual basis. The current funding cycle closed April 10, 2024. Recipients to be announced soon!

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Questions?

For assistance or more information about any of Montana Film Office services, please contact us:

Montana Film Office
montanafilm@mt.gov
406.841.2876