Episode Summary:

For the past month or so on the podcast we have been focusing on the distribution end of wildlife and conservation filmmaking, with interviews highlighting film festivals and other routes for reaching audiences.  This has been in part inspired by our efforts here at Wild Lens to launch a brand new environmental film festival here in Boise, ID – called Les Bois Film Festival.  This event will be taking place on March 5th – just a few days after this episode airs – at the Egyptian Theatre in downtown Boise.

As a way to bring this topic full circle, Today’s interview will be about the festival that started it all: The International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Montana.

The International Wildlife Film Festival (IWFF) was the first film festival on the planet to focus specifically on wildlife and the environment.  IWFF’s inaugural event was held way back in 1977, and it was specifically created to address ethics in wildlife filmmaking.  There was great concern within the conservation community at the time (and this persists today) that many wildlife filmmakers were using unethical practices to capture animal behavior on film.

IWFF has undergone many changes over the years, but it remains one of the most prestigious wildlife and conservation oriented film festivals in the world – on par with Wildscreen in the UK and Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Fest here in the US.  Today’s guest Mike Steinberg has served as IWFF’s executive director for the past three years, and he walks us through how these changes have shaped the festival.

Mike and I have gotten to know each other over the past couple of years through the time that I’ve spent at IWFF in Missoula.  We’ve been lucky enough to have a Wild Lens film screening at this prestigious festival for the past two years – and Mike has very graciously invited me to participate in this year’s event as a festival judge!

So once again I will be traveling to Missoula in mid-April to attend the 10-day festival, mingle with fellow wildlife filmmakers, explore Montana’s great outdoors, and watch lots of amazing wildlife documentaries!  The difference this year is that I will be partly responsible for determining which films are worthy of winning IWFF’s top awards!



The International Wildlife Film Festival

IWFF board member Chris Palmer on the Ethics of Wildlife Filmmaking

Les Bois Film Festival


Listen to the podcast episode here:

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