International Wildlife Film Festival
May 9 to 16, 2009 in Missoula, Montana
Film submission deadlines: first deadline is January 31, 2009; late deadline is February 7, 2009
Web page for entry form: www.wildlifefilms.org/festivals/iwff/entry.html
Festival programmer: Janet Rose, executive director and festival director
What is your programming mandate?
[Our focus] is wildlife; however, with the increasing emphasis on habitat, climate and other environmental issues, we do consider a great number of films where wildlife may not be the key element. This is often decided on a case-by-case basis, such as when the BBC entered Climate Chaos. It was not about wildlife per se, but what happens to our planet clearly affects wildlife and habitat.
Which film stood out for you from your most recent festival?
This year’s Best of Festival winner, Snow Leopard, was submitted by the BBC and it was a slam dunk, hands-down award winner. (American jargon, forgive me.) It had the elements of wildlife, people, local culture, heroes, conflict – all of the elements of a great film of any genre – and the wildlife cinematography, the story and the editing were all so superb.
What are some of the current trends you’re seeing in your film submissions?
More and more films have a people equation, either in the storyline or as some primary element of the film. Another trend is where local cultures play a role or have some impact on the wildlife film. That is one of the reasons we slightly modified our mission statement – to promote awareness, knowledge and understanding of wildlife, habitat, people and nature.
What are some of the biggest challenges in putting on the festival?
How to be relevant and supportive to filmmakers and broadcasters alike and provide something innovative while also being useful and inspirational. I think, too, that IWFF provides a very unofficial, informal market so that while there are plenty of deals being made, they happen in a very casual way. Maintaining and fostering that is a big challenge.