International Wildlife Film Festival

International Wildlife Film Festival
September 1, 2008

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:

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.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.