The 41st International Wildlife Film Festival showcases groundbreaking and inspirational films from around the world April 14-22. With more than 120 films to choose from, this annual spring event draws industry professionals, filmmakers, and audiences for a week of extraordinary environmental films and events.
The festival kicks off on Saturday, April 14, with the ever-popular WildWalk down Higgins Avenue culminating in the annual WildFest in Caras Park, featuring music by Shakewell, food vendors, face painting, and lots of activities to keep kids entertained and connected to the wild.
Special events during the week include a free screening of “The Trouble with Wolves” and a presentation on pronghorn migration by Beyond Yellowstone Program Leader Chris Johns and National Geographic Filmmaker Joe Riis at the University Center Theater (April 16), an evening focusing on beavers with a special visit from Animal Wonders’ own Huckleberry the Beaver (April 17); Nonprofits Meet Filmmakers Townhall Networking Event (April 21); and Dressed (Not) to Kill, a sustainable fashion show focusing on choosing “green” fashion over fast fashion (April 22).
Programming highlights include: “Love and Bananas” about a 70-year-old woman leading an elephant rescue in Thailand; “Kangaroo,” a close look at the love-hate relationship between Australia and its most famous mammal; and “The Last Stand: The Vanishing Caribou Rainforest,” about saving an endangered species from industrial development.
Programming strands feature a retrospective from wildlife cinematographer and Yellowstone fixture Bob Landis (National Geographic: Explorer) and Wild Sounds, podcasts and audio documentaries about the state of the wild.
New this year, IWFF presents “Reimagining Wildlife” shorts as an official satellite for the Imagine Science Film Festival, dedicated to new and experimental works bridging the worlds of science and film. The winners of the Audience Awards’ Ocean Film Challenge will screen at IWFF as well as premieres of the IWFF Labs films, made in Missoula in just five days by students.
IWFF Special Guests
Every year, IWFF welcomes extraordinary creators working in the fields of wildlife and conservation to screen their work and discuss it. This year’s special guests include filmmaker Kate Brooks, whose opening night film, “The Last Animals,” is about the conservationists, scientists, and activists battling poachers to protect elephants.
Shane Campbell will record a live episode of his Biology of Superheroes Podcast with University of Montana’s Doug Emlen; the program focuses on what beetles can tell us about the possible anatomy of Dark Horse comics’ Hellboy. Niobe Thompson of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation and Nigel Pope of Scotland’s Maramedia will share judging honors.
The week concludes on Sunday, April 22, with Dressed (Not) to Kill: A Sustainable Fashion Event featuring a fashion show of sustainable local designers and vintage collectors including Grain, Green Light and Divine Trash Vintage. The evening includes a screening of “Snakeskins for Luxury Goods: The Python Code.” A panel discussion follows, with a discussion of the cost of fast fashion and what we can do to wear “green” and wear it well.
The festival finishes up with an after party at the Downtown Dance Collective where attendees can bid on the looks worn at the show, with half of the proceeds going to local wildlife conservation organizations in Missoula.
IWFF Labs will return to the festival for its second year. The program is an immersive, cross-disciplinary science filmmaking workshop designed to help participants learn the necessary tools to communicate the concepts of science, nature, and conservation to broad audiences. The program’s resulting mini-docs will be presented by this year’s Labs fellows on Thursday, April 19.
The vision of the IWFF will always be to foster an engaged, enlightened community that finds itself through cinema, and helps the planet to heal. With plenty of opportunities for exploration, discussion, and insight, the annual event welcomes filmmakers, industry executives, scientists, conservationists and enthusiasts from around the world to participate in screenings, Q&As, panel discussions, roundtables, workshops, and other free events at The Roxy and The University Of Montana.