UK wildlife conservation organization Wildscreen has revealed a line-up of natural history-focused documentaries for Wildscreen Festival’s inaugural Official Selection program.
Established this year to open the festival up to a wider range of documentary makers, the Official Selection will serve to discover and celebrate “bold, authentic and diverse stories” that “urgently” spotlight the natural world.
The first-ever program will screen 35 productions – including 17 feature films and 18 shorts – that provide new insight into the natural world and humanity’s relationship with it.
The final selection of films represent 14 countries across five continents — including Mozambique, Kenya, Argentina and Russia — and were curated by a global team of programmers that includes Lucy Mukerjee (U.S.); Kevin Mwachiro (Kenya); Jonathan Peynet (Germany); and the UK’s Emma Hughes, Lynn Nwokorie and Peter Venn.
Anchoring Wildscreen’s film slate will be Rebecca Kormos and Kalyanee Mam’s Cries Of Our Ancestors, which documents the relationship between humans and chimps that have lived side by side for generations in Guinea; Aner Etxebarria Moral and Pablo Vidal Santo’s Bayandalai: Lord Of The Taiga (pictured), which charts the last elder of the Dukhas tribe; and Ofelia de Pablo and Javier Zurita’s Sharing The Land, which explores the conflict between shepherds and wolves in Europe.
Also joining the line-up is James Byrne’s Our Gorongosa, which examines how Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park is redefining the identity and purpose of an African national park; and Chelsea Jolly and Whit Hassett’s This Land, which follows runner and advocate Faith E. Briggs as she covers 150 miles through three controversial National Monuments in the U.S.
The selections also feature films from established heavyweights of the natural history genre, including Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble’s The Elephant Queen (Apple TV+) and BBC Studios Natural History Unit’s Earth from Space and Pangolins: The World’s MostWanted Animal.
The full list of the Wildscreen Festival’s Official Selection can be found here.
“These engaging, emotionally impactful films eloquently and urgently present the state of planet Earth today in a way that feels both informative and inspiring,” said Lucy Mukerjee, senior programmer at the Tribeca Film Festival and co-founder of the Programmers of Colour Collective, in a statement. “By putting the spotlight on little-known places and species, this cinematic collection reveals the high stakes of survival, and the delicate balance necessary in order for nature and humanity to coexist.”
Audiences will be able to stream the Official Selection films with selected director Q&A’s during the first-ever virtual edition of the Wildscreen Festival, which launches in September.