IF/Then American West 2020

For the fourth consecutive year, Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) is thrilled to partner with Big Sky Documentary Film Festival to support the art of short-form documentary storytelling in the American West. This year, we are overjoyed to welcome ESPN as a supporting partner of the pitch.

Submissions closed Sunday, January 5th at 11:59 PM ET.

We are inviting diverse filmmakers (POC, Indigenous, LGBTQ+, women, nonbinary, people with disabilities) from the American West to apply for a new TFI IF/Then Shorts pitch opportunity in partnership with ESPN at the 2020 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. We welcome storytellers living and working in the American West who are producing creative, story-driven films explore issues around health through the lens of athleticism, sports and competition. The pitch calls for original stand-alone short documentaries (10-20 minutes) that shine a new light on this theme and its many dimensions through regional, character-led, cinematic stories.

Support for travel and accommodation to attend the pitch event in Missoula will be provided to the finalists. Eligible projects must be completed within six months of receiving funding, be factually accurate, follow best practices in documentary ethics, and be presented in English or subtitled in English.

TFI and Big Sky will jointly select up to 6 finalists to present their projects at a live pitch event at Big Sky, before a panel of industry judges, on February 20, 2020.

Each pitch team will have 7 minutes to present their project, which will be followed by a short moderated discussion with a tailored jury. One project, selected by the jury, will receive up to USD $25,000 in project funding and will have the opportunity to participate in TFI’s IF/Then Shorts Program, which provides year-round mentorship and career development opportunities.


  • Online registration opens: November 5, 2019
  • Project application deadline: January 5, 2020 at 11:59PM ET
  • Notification of project selection: Mid-January, 2020
  • IF/Then pitch competition at Big Sky: February 20, 2020


Stories from and storytellers living/working in the American West. This includes 13 states: Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, and Hawaii, as well as the U.S. occupied American Samoa, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands. 

Your project tells a story about athleticism, sports and competition and addresses issues around the topic of health.

These projects must be completed within 6 months of receiving funding, be factually accurate, follow best practices in documentary ethics, and be presented in English or subtitled in English.

Please make sure your project fits our general eligibility requirements presented on our Pitches & Eligibility page.


If chosen as a finalist, it is mandatory that you participate in the event.

You will have to arrange travel & accommodations yourself; however, a travel stipend will be provided.

You will also receive an industry accreditation for the host film festival free of charge.