Wildscreen, the UK-based not-for-profit conservation organisation behind the biennial Wildscreen Festival, today announces the 20th anniversary edition of the Festival will bring the natural world to the online world this October.
Seizing the opportunity for evolution in light of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the reimagined virtual event will be the most accessible Wildscreen Festival to date, with more people than ever before being able to tune in to its ground-breaking content and benefit from the events unrivalled networking opportunities.
Wildscreen’s patron, renowned naturalist David Attenborough says, “Never has communicating the threats facing our natural world and the bold solutions required to protect and restore it been so vital. Wildscreen, with its convening power is uniquely placed to support and challenge those who can tell the stories the world needs to hear and see.”
The online edition of the Festival, already slated for the 19-23 October, will include everything that the international industry expects from the genres’ leading event, including keynotes, masterclasses, sessions, commissioner meetings, film premieres and screenings with director interviews, and a new programme of one-to-one meetings.
Over 300 films will also be available over a three-month period between September to December, which will then be accompanied by all the industry content released during the Festival week from Friday 23 October.
Martha Holmes, Wildscreen Festival Advisory Board Chair and Head of Natural History at Plimsoll Productions, said, “During these unpredictable and unprecedented times, never have amazing stories about nature been more needed. Our vision for a virtual Wildscreen Festival in October 2020, not only reflects the times we are living in but opens our community up to more creators, bigger audiences and more buyers, enabling the Festival to reach them in their homes, offices and field stations.”
Lucie Muir, CEO of Wildscreen continued, “We already had plans for live-streamed content and networking events hosted in global hubs beyond Bristol during the 2020 Wildscreen Festival to reduce the environmental impact of the event and bolster greater access and inclusion across the industry. The pandemic has accelerated and focused us on those ambitions and gives us the opportunity to be bold and reimagine what a future Wildscreen Festival and industry could look like.
“Though we love Bristol and it’s our home, the pandemic has shown more than ever that we need to nurture and support natural world storytelling talent and audiences around the world and demonstrate leadership in democratising the industry.”
BBC Studios is also announced as Principal Sponsor. Julian Hector, Head of the Natural History Unit and Wildscreen Board member says: “BBC Studios fully supports Wildscreen’s bold and ambitious move online which will open the festival up to new voices and new audiences and continue to support the global wildlife filmmaking industry.”
Also announced today is the first keynote, an interview with Sky’s Group Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch. Under his leadership, Sky has saved over a billion trees in the Amazon Rainforest, campaigned for healthy oceans and set the ambitious target for its business to become net zero carbon by 2030. This week, the broadcaster launched three factual channels, including Sky Nature a dedicated home to natural history programming.
The week will also feature a virtual version of the Wildscreen Panda Awards. The celebration, to be held on 22 October, will reveal the winners of the most coveted prize in the global wildlife film and TV industry.
Full three-month industry passes for Wildscreen Festival will cost £125 ( VAT where applicable), with concessions offered at £50, to further Wildscreen’s mission to diversify the natural world storytelling industry. Full ticketing options being announced in July via the Wildsreen website.