Wildscreen Festival 2020
19 - 23 Oct, 2020
Enter the Festival!

Wildscreen Festival 2020

The first virtual edition of Wildscreen Festival

We were excited to officially kick off Wildscreen Festival 2020 with the launch of our unique film library of over 200 films including our fabulous Panda Awards submissions. Discover our world-leading programme of headline speakers and unmissable keynotes on our Speaker page and find out more about our first ever virtual programme - sessions, masterclasses, live Q&As, very special commissioner content and unique networking opportunities on our Virtual Programme page. All of this plus the opportunity for our festival delegates of 2020 to watch some of the best natural history productions by way of premiere screenings. 

Explore the very best of the natural history industry, celebrate the Panda Awards nominees and network with the best in the international wildlife community. Whether you're an emerging talent filmmaker, a wildlife enthusiast, freelance industry professional or international production company.

Wildscreen Film Library

From 17 September to 16 December, the Wildscreen Festival 2020 film library launched for delegates. Panda Award submissions and nominees and Official Selection films were available to watch on demand and released in waves until Festival week.

If you enjoyed your home screenings of our outstanding productions, make sure to tag us on social media! #WildscreenFestival #WSF2020

Monday 19th October

10:45 -  Welcome to Wildscreen Festival 2020

11:00 - Beyond the Boom: How Natural History Can Hold On to it's Global Audience.

Big blue chip series on VOD platforms have enjoyed a commissioning (and a viewing) boom, and the pipeline is bursting with more. The audience is well and truly super-served. But is it about to be over-served? Do we risk saturation of our market and what can we do to prevent it?

11:30 - Commissioner Briefing: Jörn Röver CEO Doclights/ Head of NDR Natural History Unit 

12:30 - Scriptwriting Masterclass: In Conversation with Jeff Pope 

How do you craft a winning narrative for your wildlife film? Award winning screenwriter Jeff Pope - the man behind "Philomena", "A Confession", "Stan and Ollie" and "Isolation Stories" - shares lessons and top tips on what he's learned from scripting Drama"

14:00 - Audio Network Masterclass: How Music can Tell your Story

Join Audio Network's head of music Ali Johnson in discussion with composers and producers on the tremendous value music brings to natural world documentaries. Offering insights into working with original scores, production music and live orchestras, this masterclass clearly demonstrates how music can support and maximise the creative storytelling of any wildlife documentary.

15:00 - Sharing the Wealth: Philanthropy for Conservation Communications

Fundraising for a project is always a challenge. But as the power of conservation storytelling becomes more recognised there is a growing community of philanthropists funding these projects. This panel is made up of benefactors from around the world whose support of conservation stories is moving the dial.

16:00 - Johan Rockström Keynote: The Latest Science Behind the Planetary Crisis

We are always being asked to “trust the science." But what is the science? Leading environmental scientist Johan Rockström has pioneered the understanding of the critical planetary tipping points - one-way doors beyond which the natural world will never recover. If you want to understand the hard facts behind the planetary crisis - and the possible solutions - this is a must-see keynote.

16:00 - Commissioner Session: Howard Swartz Senior Vice President of Production and Development, Documentaries and Special at Discovery Channel

17:30 - Change Session: How can an Impact Campaign bring about Change?

How can we make films that bring about real change? How can we use films to support it? And what's the point of having an impact campaign if it doesn't result in tangible change? In this session a panel of filmmakers and impact producers discuss measurable ways that films can contribute to campaigns that create lasting conservation change.

20:00 - Planet Earth: A Celebration – Premiere and Q&A

Indulge in a visual and musical feast as Planet Earth: A Celebration takes you on an exhilarating journey to the wildest places on earth. Bringing you eight of the most extraordinary sequences from the BAFTA award-winning Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II, with new narration from Sir David Attenborough and new compositions from Hans Zimmer and Bleeding Fingers – performed by UK rapper Dave and the BBC Concert Orchestra. Join Lizzie Daly in a conversation with the award-winning team behind these incredible series, Jo Shinner, Mike Gunton and Mark Brownlow, and have your chance to ask them a question yourself!

Tuesday 20th October

11:00 - Everything has Changed

Everything has changed since Wildscreen 2018. A global pandemic has left economies in meltdown while global climate change has caused wildfires on every continent. Trump has left the Paris Agreement and China's committed to Net Zero. Greta, Extinction Rebellion and Black Lives Matter have all dominated the news.

The way we make and consume wildlife content has been utterly transformed. Streaming has overtaken linear viewing. And Sir David Attenborough has joined Instagram. So what should our roles be in this rapidly changing world? We talk to filmmakers with very different jobs and backgrounds to discover more about both the challenges and the opportunities that this much altered world presents for natural history content production.

11:30 - Commissioner Session: Meghan Cassin VP Development, National Geographic Channels

12:30 - Netflix’s Our Planet and Apple TV Tiny Worlds - Dolby Vision HDR makes nature shine in your home

Join Dolby in conversation with the teams behind Netflix’s Our Planet and Apple TV ’s Tiny Worlds as they take you through HDR capture and the creative process to deliver these landmark series in Dolby Vision.

14:00 - The Money Shot Masterclass: The Business of Photography

Find out how to negotiate, market yourself, employ best practices and reach your goals while maintaining financial stability. With John Harrington, author of Best Business Practices for Photographers.

15:00 - What's the Big Idea? Developing and pitching natural history shows

How do you create and shape a winning TV concept? What's the best way to tempt someone to buy your show? And is there really no such thing as a bad idea? Wildlife presenter Lizzie Daly quizzes a range of industry experts on the Development business.

16:00 - Sky's CEO Jeremy Darroch in Conversation with Steve Backshall Headline

Under Jeremy Darroch's 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 carbon zero by 2030. Discover more about the broadcaster’s new factual channel Sky Nature. And get under the skin of a man for whom the environment is both a personal, and a business issue.

16:00 - Commissioner Sessions: Gernot Lercher Head of Natural History, ORF Austrian Broadcasting Corporation

17:30 - Pitch Perfect

Successful freelance photographers not only make great images, they also know how to research and pitch their ideas. Join an expert panel led by former Director of Photography at National Geographic, Sarah Leen, as they discuss best practises for crafting the perfect pitch, finding the right audience for your ideas and avoiding common mistakes.

19:00 - David and Greta in Conversation: The Planetary Crisis

He's the world's best loved natural history presenter and broadcaster. She's the Swedish schoolgirl who inspired a world to sit up and take notice of the climate emergency with her Climate for School strikes. Wildscreen is thrilled to be virtually bringing them together for a very special Keynote conversation. They're separated by 77 years in age but united by one shared desire - to protect the natural world.  Join them as they discuss some of the key issues facing the planet - and what we can do to mitigate against them.

20:00 - Our Gorongosa Featured Screening

Join us for a special screening of Our Goronogosa: A Park for the People followed by a live Q&A with Executive Producer Jared Lipworth, Gorongosa scientist Dominique Gonçalves, and Manager of the Gorongosa Girls Program - Larissa Sousa

Dominique Gonçalves, a young Mozambican elephant ecologist, shares the inspiring story of Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, a park as committed to enriching the lives of the local people—and in particular the girls and women—as it is to protecting its wildlife. This powerful and empowering story reveals the surprising links between wildlife conservation and human development, and showcases Gorongosa’s role as a model for conservation in the 21st century. Our Gorongosa is an official selection of the Wildscreen Film Festival and is available to watch through the festival Film Library.

22:00 - Special Screening: Jane Goodall - The Hope

"Jane Goodall: The Hope" follows world famous conservationist Jane as she travels over 300 days a year meeting with everyone from schoolchildren in Zanzibar to Prince Harry. Using wisdom, heart and humour she spreads a message of hope, showing how every individual has the potential to be a catalyst and create lasting change. "Jane Goodall: The Hope" premiered on 22nd April 2020 on National Geographic, and is now receiving a special screening at Wildscreen.


Wednesday 21st October

11:00 - Wildlife Camera Craft: Tips from the Top

What does it take to capture a world class natural history sequence? From hard won lessons to magical moments, a panel of leading wildlife cinematographers from around the world share their stories about the most unforgettable experiences that have shaped their careers. Combining clips, anecdotes and tips this is a fascinating insight into the long journey to acquiring the skills of a top-tier wildlife Director of Photography.

11:30 - Commissioner Session: Jack Bootle 

12:30 - Through the Door: How to get a job in the BBC Natural History Unit

Get the low down on how to get your foot through the door from a range of industry insiders working across the BBC Natural History Unit. With hints and tips, practical advice and inspirational insight this is THE masterclass for anyone wanting to work at the BBC.

14:00 - Bertie Gregory: A Filming Adventure with Wolves and Polar Bears

How do you get the best out of your equipment when you're filming in an extreme environment? As a wildlife cinematographer who films in far flung places on assignments for National Geographic, Bertie Gregory shares how he got started in wildlife filmmaking. He'll also detail the Canon products that form part of his staple kit list, enabling him to produce the highest quality content. And he'll share the incredible shots and footage he's recently captured of polar bears, wolves and more.

15:00 - Storytelling Superpowers: Photography in Conservation Campaigns

Storytelling has the power to create empathy, change hearts, influence minds and generate action. Meet the photographers who've dedicated their lives and careers to showcasing issues and fighting injustices, using their work and their partnerships with non-profits to bring about tangible change.

13:00 - Commissioner Session: Masa Hayakawa Executive Producer, Natural History & Science Programs, NHK Enterprises, Inc.

16:00 - Sandesh Kadur Keynote: Shifting Focus - The Journey from Photographer to Filmmaker

Sandesh Kadur's work straddles both the still and the moving image. From wildlife photographer, ILCP senior fellow and National Geographic explorer to award-winning documentary filmmaker, his work powerfully demonstrates just how much visual storytelling is key to conservation. From his work on Planet Earth II to his groundbreaking films for Nat Geo Wild, his impactful images show us the natural world in a new light.

17:30 - Moving the Dial on Diversity

Much of the world is responding to the need for greater diversity and inclusion across all aspects of life. How is the natural history filmmaking community responding? What role can in-country talent, both on and off screen, play to build a more globally inclusive industry? Join a panel of broadcasters, producers, presenters and industry experts as they share how we can all turn the dial on diversity.

19:00 - James Cameron: Deep-Sea Explorer and Filmmaker - in conversation with Orla Doherty

We are proud to announce a rare and exciting opportunity to hear from a man who is not just one of the world's best-known filmmaking visionaries but who has also made history for his deep-sea exploration. Director James Cameron, a National Geographic Explorer at Large for nine years, is currently executive producing "Secrets of the Whales" and "OceanXplorers" for National Geographic. Cameron additionally executive produced "Akashinga: the Brave Ones" - the story of a group of all women anti-poaching rangers in Zimbabwe. This short film, winner of two Jackson Wild awards, among others, will receive a special screening at Wildscreen.

Join us to hear about Cameron's experiences in the world of natural history documentary filmmaking, his love of ocean exploration, and where he sees tech and innovation taking us - both as messengers and as custodians of a fast-changing planet.

20:00 - Premiere Screening: A Bee's Diary followed by Live Q&A

In a beehive, tens of thousands of tiny animals work toward a common goal: the survival of the colony. A Bee's Diary explores what is life like for an individual honeybee. Narrated from the point of view of just two bees, an elderly winter bee who nurtures the new generation and then a young forager who grows as the colony expands, this documentary reveals the secrets of a bee’s life from a completely new perspective. Through an alpine spring and summer, the film follows two star bees as they tend to their colony, forage, scout, get lost and fight off invaders, each with her own unique style and personality.
Live Q&A with Dennis Wells and James Manfull

22:00 - Special Screening: Akashinga: The Brave Ones

Executive produced by James Cameron and directed by Maria Wilhelm, 'Akashinga: The Brave Ones,' is the story of a team of women-only rangers and their fight to protect some of Africa’s key species from poaching in Zimbabwe. This short film, winner of two Jackson Wild awards among others, will receive a special screening at Wildscreen.

Thursday 22nd October

11:00 - Remote Control: How To Make a Wildlife Programme During a Pandemic 

The global pandemic has forced the TV industry to be more creative than ever as social distancing measures, lockdowns and travel restrictions have challenged ongoing productions like never before. Join programme-makers and producers from across the BBC Natural History Unit as they compare and contrast their experiences of creating content amid Coronavirus restrictions.

12:30 - BBC's Seven Worlds, One Planet: Dolby Atmos brings you closer to nature

Join Dolby in conversation with the team behind BBC One’s landmark series ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet’ as they take you through the creative and technical process behind the creation of the series' immersive soundtrack - from capture to broadcast.

14:00 - RED Virtual Cinematographer Series: "Behind the Look" - with Justine Evans

British wildlife filmmaker Justine Evans' work has featured in many BBC Natural History Unit productions including Frozen Planet, Planet Earth II, Night on Earth, Seven Worlds One Planet and the upcoming Queens. She is a canopy specialist and an expert on filming nocturnal animals. Justine’s "Behind The Look" conversation with RED focuses on her work shooting wildlife from the Arctic to the Tropics, and her ongoing relationship with nature and shooting in extreme environments.

15:00 - A Different Picture: The Push for Diversity in Photography

Join the first female Director of Photography at National Geographic, Sarah Leen, and a panel of photographers as they discuss diversity behind the camera and the challenges of breaking into the industry.   

15:00 - Commissioner Session: Hélène Ganichaud Deputy Head of Commissioning - Specialist Factual, ARTE France

16:00 - Commissioner Session: Christian Cools Commissioning Editor, ARTE G.E.I.E.

17:30 - How did they film that? Top tech solutions for hard to film content

As technology advances so too do the options available to the wildlife filmmaker. Join our industry professionals as they share their experiences of using cutting edge tech to get to the heart of the action.

19:00 - Dr. Jane Goodall & Thomas Mangelsen: A Conservation Conversation

Dr. Jane Goodall and Thomas Mangelsen are legends in the conservation field - and great friends. Join them as they discuss the impact of photographs and films in bringing conservation issues to a wider audience, the changes in storytelling techniques over the years, and how environmental threats and issues are fast evolving.  

20:00 - Panda Awards Ceremony


Friday 23rd October

Introduction by Lizzie Daly

11:00 - Creative Collaboration: How Storytellers United to Protect Alaska's Arctic Refuge

What happened when a team of photographers, filmmakers, writers, artists and First Nation peoples were sent to Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to create and share stories in opposition to proposed drilling? Find out in this session on creative collaboration.

11:30 - Commissioner Session: Alison Barrat VP Production & Development, Love Nature

12:30 - Presenting Masterclass: So you want to be a wildlife TV presenter?

Breaking into the wildlife TV presenting business isn't easy. But our three panelists have all recently successfully navigated the process. Get top tips and advice from Gillian Burke, Dan O’Neill and Malaika Vaz on how to get in, how to get on, and how to make yourself stand out in a crowded market.

14:00 - Masterclass: How to Make a Landmark Globally Successful

At a time when there have never been so many high budget landmark series in production, Alastair Fothergill shares some of the lessons he has learnt over 30 years of blue chip landmark  production and explains the particular challenges of making an environmental series that will attract massive global audiences.

15:00 - How Digital is Changing the nature of Wildlife Content

Love Nature is attracting new audiences on FAST channels and social platforms in the US market at rapid speed. Join Love Nature's VP of Digital, Stephanie Atlas and a team of experts to find out why a new generation of wildlife and nature fans are flocking to these platforms in search of natural history programming during a time when this genre has never been more popular.

16:00 - Cristina Mittermeier Keynote: Conservation photography - Art, Ethics and Action: 15 years of Progress 

15 years ago Conservation Photography was just emerging as a genre. Since then technology and media platforms have shifted but the overarching goal remains the same - how to sway public opinion and create action. One of the world's best photographers Cristina Mittermeier discusses lessons learned since the founding of the International League of Conservation Photographers. 

17:30 - All Stories Great and Small: with Aardman Animation

For the last 40 years Aardman animations have been creating some of the world’s most distinctive and beloved animated entertainment through a blend of comedy and technical excellence. But they’ve also been captivating and holding their audience’s attention through top storytelling techniques – across Series, Specials, Shorts and now Immersive. Join them to hear how they do it, and to get top tips on storytelling for your next wildlife project - whatever its shape!

20:00 - Short Film Showcase: Wilderland at Wildscreen

Industry-leading judges introduce their favourite independent natural history short films. Now in its second year Wilderland, the UK's first touring wildlife film festival, showcases the very best of this year's international short wildlife films.

Wildscreen Festival 2020 Close


Available on the Festival Platform

Also available on our Festival Platform will be over 200 films which make up our Official Selection, Panda Awards Nominees and Panda Awards submissions. We will also have some amazing industry-focused content available that we will announce in the run up to the festival.

Bringing an Optimistic Frame to Conservation

Join the Conservation Optimism team to get a deep-dive into the Positive Communication Toolkit that they developed in partnership with Framing Matters. You'll hear about the importance of the values and beliefs that underpin your message and will discover how to avoid common communication traps to bring an optimistic twist to your content. You'll also get the opportunity to hear from Ed Harrison, the designer and illustrator behind the innovative print series Under The Skin and the official illustrator for Wildscreen Festival 2020. Ed will be talking about his inspiration for the Wildscreen illustrations and will share how he applies a positive frame to his work.

With Cheli Cresswell Sinclair (CEO Conservation Optimism), Ed Harrison (Co-Founder at Under the Skin) Julia Migné (Programme Coordinator at Conservation Optimism)

Who goes to Wildscreen?

Check out who's attending Wildscreen Festival 2020!

 2020 Festival Sponsors





















What are you looking for?

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If you’re looking for information about a species, try National Geographic Photo Ark or IUCN Red List