American West

Six projects focusing on the American West were selected to enter the IF/Then pitch competition during the 2017 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival on February 23, 2017.

The winner was selected by a professional jury consisting of:

Karim Ahmad, Senior Digital Content Strategist for ITVS
Nadine Ajaka, Curator & Associate Producer of The Atlantic Video
Amy Hobby, Executive Director of TFI
Adam Neuhaus, Director of Development for ESPN Films
Brooke Swaney, Independent Filmmaker and Big Sky programmer

The Jury chose "The New Neighbors Project" by Bryan Bello and Ryan Seitz as the competition winner and the audience chose "Border Nation" as Audience Award winner from the following six projects:

  • Border Nation—Director: Jason Jaacks —Tohono O'odham Nation (Received AUDIENCE AWARD)
  • El Valle—Directors: Jared Jakins and Carly Jakins —Utah
  • Star Stories—Director: Tenzin Phuntsog— Montana
  • The Attachment Project—Director: Joy Dietrich— Montana
  • The New Neighbors Project (now titled Renga for the West)— Directors: Bryan Bello and Ryan Seitz, Co-directors: by Saif Al-Saegh and Claire Haughey— Montana (Received GRANT AWARD)
  • Tuvaq: Edge of the Ice—Directors: Kiliii Yuyan and Lou Carson— Alaska

Key Dates:

Online registration opened: November, 2016
Project application deadline: January15, 2017
Notification of project selection: late January
IF/Then pitch competition in Missoula, MT: February 23, 2017


All stories and storytellers coming from the American West. These 13 states include: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and Hawaii.