Like many other aspects of life, the theatrical film industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most major films kept getting delayed, some were released on video-on-demand, and just recently, WB announced that their entire 2021 slate of movies was going to premiere on HBO MAX simultaneously with their theatrical release date.

As someone whose favorite activity is going to the movie theater, things seem to be in a pretty bleak state right now. And it's not just new releases, either - every film festival since March, if they've decided to go on at all, has had to happen virtually, with people watching the films at home rather than in a theater. There have been a few of these virtual film festivals that The Roxy Theater here in Missoula has participated in, like the Montana Film Festival or the Kidd-o-matic Film Festival, and now we've got word of another annual event that's moving into the virtual space.

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, which is normally held in a few different locations around Missoula, like The Roxy, The Wilma, and the ZACC, is going entirely virtual this year. From February 19th through February 28th, people who buy festival passes will have access to 75 different films, all watched at home.

I'm glad the festivals have figured out how to do it online, but I really miss the communal experience of seeing something in a theater with a packed audience. Hopefully, one day in the near-ish future, we can get back to that.

Tickets start at $75, and you can buy them at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival's website.

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