We have a very special episode of the podcast for you today – instead of one expert interview we have a series of interviews with a wide variety of wildlife filmmakers, all of whom were screening their work at this year’s International Wildlife Film Festival. These are some of the most prominent wildlife and conservation oriented filmmakers working today, and there is a wide variety of approaches and topics covered from the nine filmmakers that were interviewed.
As is explained in the episode, these filmmaker interviews are split up into different categories, and our first category is for short documentaries. I had a particular interest in the short films that were screening at the festival for a couple of reasons. First because a lot of the work that I do in my role as a producer with Eyes on Conservation is focused on short wildlife films. These films are also interesting in the context of this episode and blog post because many of them are freely available to watch online. Below you will find embedded links to four of the five short documentaries that are featured in this episode.
Consider the Ant
From filmmaker Emily Fraser: A personal search for ethics in the
post-modern wilds of an overpopulated planet – where Catholic guilt,
environmental destruction, and the fascinating lives of ants collide.
Learn more about this film and Emily’s filmmaking background here: http://emilyelizabethfilms.com/
Salmo trutta lacustris
From filmmaker Daniel Göz: Salmo trutta lacustris is a wildlife film on the rare European lake trout. The film was shot with fish ecologist Matthias Meyer in the Bernese Upland / Swiss Alps. The film follows large female trout as they migrate into high altitude Alpine streams to return to their birthplace during late fall.
This short documentary is not yet available for online streaming, but you can read more about it and see still images on Daniel’s website here: http://www.danielgoez.com/Alpine%20Trout.html
A Wolf’s Place
From filmmaker Annie White: Whether you see the wolf as the majestic cousin of man’s best friend, or as a bloodthirsty devil bent on destruction, we all have a visceral reaction to these misunderstood animals. “A Wolf’s Place” takes a close look at how wolves have impacted the ecosystem since their reintroduction to Yellowstone 18 years ago, and the effect the recent hunting season have had on the park’s wolves.
Learn more about the film and Annie’s filmmaking at: http://playbowstudios.com/
From filmmaker Madison McClintock: By attending mushroom forays and fungus festivals, talking to scores of individuals from mycologists to artists, businessmen to locovore chefs, Fungiphilia Rising paints a vivid image of the secret life of mushrooms and its admirers.
Learn more about this film and Madison’s filmmaking at: http://www.nestboxcollective.com/projects/
Silencing the Thunder
From filmmaker Eddie Roqueta: When temperatures drop in Montana, wild bison migrate to lower elevations outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. But once outside, they run the risk of being killed because some carry a chronic disease called brucellosis that ranchers fear could spread to cattle. Silencing the Thunder presents the obstacles ranchers face, as well as the side of those trying to protect one of America’s most iconic animals.
Learn more about this film and Eddie’s filmmaking at: http://www.forestclayproductions.com/
The next section of interviews in this unique episode of the EOC podcast features discussions about three longer-form wildlife documentaries. Although these films are not yet available for online streaming, be sure to check out the trailers below and click on the website links to see if there are any upcoming screenings in your area.
From filmmakers Luke Padgett and James Reardon: We live in interesting times. We can still see our inheritance, the rich natural world that spawned us, but as our use and missuse of this planet grows so does our need to find new ways to live off and with the natural world. The green movement of the past half a century has owned these issues in the eye of the western media at least. But stronger forces underly our behaviours that drive deeper than the any hue of politics or ideology.
Hallowed Isles is a film that attempts to explore those forces.
This film had its world premiere at the International Wildlife Film Festival! Learn more about the film here: http://hallowedisles.com/
Learn more about Luke’s filmmaking here: http://lukepadgett.com/
Return of the River
From filmmaker Jessica Plumb: “Return of the River” is a feature documentary that tells the story of the largest dam removal and river restoration project in history, currently unfolding on the Elwha River in Washington State. The film explores an extraordinary community effort to set the river free, and shows an unlikely victory for environmental justice.
Learn more about the film here: http://www.elwhafilm.com/
Learn more about Jessica’s filmmaking here: http://www.plumbproductions.com/
Russian River: All Rivers
From the film’s producers William Sorensen, Stella Kwiecinski and Nancy Econome: THE RUSSIAN RIVER: ALL RIVERS – THE VALUE OF AN AMERICAN WATERSHED explores the conflicts and challenges of this California wine country river and watershed – issues shared by rivers throughout the world.
Learn more about the film here: http://russianriverallrivers.com/
Our final interview in this special episode of the podcast is with the series editor for the PBS series Nature, Janet Hess. While my focus has been on independently produced films, many of the best wildlife documentaries are produced for broadcast television, and Nature is simply the best wildlife-focused television series that we have here in the US.
Nature on PBS
Featured episode: A Sloth Named Velcro
From the PBS Nature website: In 2000 in the jungles of Panama, a young journalist, named Ana, has a chance encounter with a tiny orphaned sloth, which she names Velcro. For nearly two years, the pair is inseparable until finally Ana travels up a remote river to reintroduce Velcro back to the wild. This is the story Ana’s return to Central and South America to see how much has changed since Velcro came into her life.
Learn more about the PBS series Nature here: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/
To wrap up this episode about the International Wildlife Film Festival we listen in on a few snippets from the festival award ceremony. These are just a few of the award-winning films from the festival – check out the IWFF website to see the full list of award winners this year.
Featured on the podcast we have three award categories – the Advocacy Award, the Best Broadcast Series, and the Best of Fest. These are three particularly amazing films/programs that deserve our attention, although I was not able to capture extended interviews with the filmmakers. Here are our three featured award winners:
Chuitna: More than Salmon on the Line
From the filmmakers: Chuitna chronicles the journey of conservation-minded fly fishermen who travel to Alaska’s unspoiled Chuitna Watershed to wade waist-deep into its salmon-rich waters and the fight to defeat the proposed Chuitna Coal Mine.
These filmmakers were not able to attend the festival, but they deserve our support! Learn more about this project here: http://savethechuitna.org/
Best Broadcast Series
From the BBC website: Life Story takes us on the greatest of all adventures – the journey through life.
This BBC produced series is not currently available for online streaming in the US, but episodes can be purchased on their website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p026vg04
Best of Fest
From the film’s website: Poached exposes an obsession that can wipe out a species of birds: Illegal egg collecting.
This film premiered at South by Southwest and has just started its festival run. The filmmakers have yet to cut a trailer, so you’ll have to visit their website to learn more about the film! Visit the website here: http://poachedmovie.com/
That wraps up this special episode of the EOC podcast! A big thanks to everyone who helped organize an amazing festival experience for all of us filmmakers this year. As I explain in the episode, there are a lot of film festivals out there, and IWFF definitely stands out among them. Not only has it been around a whole lot longer than any other wildlife-themed film festival, but it has a wonderful community feel to it that is appreciated by all who attend.
Greater Sage-Grouse: Emblem of the American West – the film we screened at IWFF!
Listen to the podcast episode here:
Tags: conservation filmmaking, environmental films, festival screenings, film festivals, filmmaker interviews, Greater sage-grouse, International Wildlife Film Festival, IWFF, sage grouse, wildlife documentaries, wildlife film festivals, wildlife filmmaking, wildlife films