The Bozeman Film Society, also known as Bozeman Film Festival, began in 1978 with a dedicated group of Montana State University English and Film professors collaborating to bring classic and world cinema to the big screen in Bozeman. A few times a month, Bozeman film lovers could head downtown to the Ellen Theatre on a Sunday evening and see great classics, such as Inherit the Wind (U.S. 1960), Casablanca (U.S. 1942) or La Strada (Italy 1954.) Moving to the Rialto Theater in 1981, the BFF expanded programming to four nights per week and added newer releases to its repertoire through a generous partnership with Carmike Theaters. The catchy tagline “Keep ‘Em Flickering!’ was coined during this early phase and is credited to former MSU Film Professor and longtime BFF board member, Bill Neff. Our collaboration with Carmike Theaters continued for 25 years, eventually expanding to 7 nights per week in the Rialto Theater, in addition to monthly screenings in MSU’s Linfield Hall.
Many Bozeman-ites fondly recall the days when a BFF screening was where you met friends to see great independent film and catch up in a darkened theater while the projectionist repaired a glitch in the ancient 35mm projector. When both the Rialto and Ellen theaters sold in 2005, the BFF temporarily moved its films to the Campus Square Theaters. Declining attendance spurred the BFF board to seek another venue, relocating to the Emerson Center’s Crawford Theater the following year. During their 10 years at the Emerson, the BFF expanded it’s audience, added the name Bozeman Film Society to it’s portfolio and worked to make the recently renovated Crawford Theater into Bozemans’s alternative movie house. Working with the Emerson Center and HATCHfest, BFS installed the Ellen Theatre’s abandoned 35mm projector, made upgrades to the theater sound system and purchase a new movie screen.
In 2015, the Bozeman Film Society made the exciting transition back to the Ellen Theatre where it all began. A successful “Go Digital or Go Dark” community campaign raised $25,000 towards the acquisition of a new digitally compliant projector, allowing us to expand our first-run film repertoire, as well as provide a visually brilliant hi-definition image. The combination of the historic Ellen’s elaborate and grand 1919 theatre, it’s killer sound system and our new state-of-the-art DCP projector provides a magical movie experience in the heart of downtown Bozeman!
In addition to screening movies, Bozeman Film Society frequently invites guest speakers and talent to bring unique insights and vision to our programming. Past guests include Michael Keaton, Valerie Hemingway, Tom Colicchio, Dr. Jack Horner, Conrad Anker & Jennifer Lowe-Anker, Montana Jazz Collective, Lily Gladstone and more.
Each summer, BFS also partners with Friends of The Story Mansion for STORY UNDER THE STARS — showing beloved classics and family-friendly movies on warm summer evenings to thousands of enthusiastic attendees since 2009. Thriving for 39 year, the Bozeman Film Society has become a mainstay in our cultural community. Thanks to generous community sponsors and dedicated board members, we look forward to an exciting future screening films that engage, entertain and foster an understanding of the world around us.
BFS Board Members
- Christopher Young – President. Attorney, Watson Law Office, P.C
- Andrew Nelson – Vice President. PhD Assistant Professor of Film, Montana State University School of Film & Photography
- James Van Ness – Treasurer. Retired Executive – BSChE Univ ND, MBA Univ Conn, MSUAF student mentor, poet, hiker, skier & lover of great independent film
- Lori Lawson – Secretary. MSU Faculty Lecturer – Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship and College of Letters & Science, Liberal Studies Program
- Marie Gary – Allstate Insurance, Owner/Agent
- Elin Hert – Off the Beaten Path – Editor-in-Chief – Intellectual Property
- Christine Thompson – Film enthusiast. Dara Rasi Truck Show Associate
- Danielle Daley – MSU Student, Leadership Institute and Boardroom Bobcats
- Bill Neff – Emeritus Board Member, MSU School of Film and Photography Professor and KGLT voice of “Keep ‘Em Flickering!”
- Lisa McGrory – Executive Director. Owner/founder, Beaucoup Custom Framing
BFS BOARD OF DIRECTOR APPLICATION
The Bozeman Film Society is always on the look out for experienced, enthusiastic and forward-thinking film lovers to serve on our Board of Directors. Please email email@example.com for more information or click the following link to complete an online application. You may also send an application to:
Bozeman Film Society, 111 S. Grand Ave., Suite 112, Bozeman, MT 59715
KEEP ‘EM FLICKERING!