Wildscreen Festival 2022 – A Celebration of International Natural World Storytelling

28th October 2022 UK: Wildscreen Festival 2022, the leading biennial natural world storytelling event, celebrated its landmark 40th anniversary with its biggest event yet, platforming underrepresented voices across the industry. The hybrid event, held in Bristol UK and online from 10 – 14 October, saw exclusive talks from industry figureheads, photography exhibitions and public screenings across the five-day showcase. Over 1,700 hybrid delegates attended the event in person in Bristol and online, showcasing Bristol as a cultural hub in moving industry discussions forward. In addition, the Festival launched its Global Hubs in Cape Town, Nairobi and Bangalore the following week to convene storytellers and change makers internationally under the Wildscreen umbrella. 

The event saw headline sessions from James CameronDarren AronofskyImogen HeapSir David AttenboroughPattie GoniaChief Dada and Steve Backshall. The Festival explored the future of natural world storytelling; including the importance of fusing genres to communicate the climate crisis, at a time where the industry is moving beyond purely traditional natural history content. There was also a look at the different types of storytellers and on-screen talent and how this can make content more accessible to the masses; giving a voice to people from across different seniority levels and backgrounds. This included sessions from LGBTQIA+ storytellers explaining how embracing your true self can lead to different perspectives and more enriched content. 

The launch of ‘Wildpitch’ provided a platform for nine nature-centered film ideas to be pitched to a panel of leading commissioners and senior executives across three categories, Animal Behaviour, Conservation / Environment and On-Screen Talent. The winners were Yaz Ellis & Jack Mifflin, for their film ‘Marmots on Toast’Pooja Rathod, for ‘Silent Heroes’ and Libby Penman for ‘The Animal Kingdom of Fife’, who will receive £6,000 to create their dream project. The sell-out Panda Awards 2022, on Thursday 13 October, recognised the best international natural world storytelling craft, with ‘My Garden of a Thousand Bees’, a standout lockdown documentary filming the lives of more than 60 species of bees, taking home four gongs including the coveted Plimsoll Golden Panda Award. Meanwhile, ‘The Bastard King’ and ‘Path of the Panther’ picked up two awards each. 

Lucie Muir, CEO of Wildscreen, said: 

“We’ve had an overwhelming response for Wildscreen Festival’s 40th anniversary and it’s been touching to see the strong display of creativity and community displayed across the event. We have always felt it’s important to amplify both the leading and most underrepresented voices within our industry to inspire new thinking in the world of conservation and filmmaking. Thank you to all our delegates for making this a truly wonderful celebration of the best that our community has to offer.”

In addition, National Geographic and National Geographic Society announced the third year of its Field Ready Program at this year’s Festival, to promote diversity and inclusion in global unscripted television production for historically underrepresented creators and storytellers. 

The Festival’s new Global Hubs, in Cape Town, Nairobi and Bangalore, launched the week after the Bristol event, with over 450 storytellers convening in these international natural history production hotspots to build on the themes and content from the Bristol event.

If you missed this year’s Bristol Festival, you can still watch all recorded sessions, masterclasses, the Panda Awards and Official Selection films online until 16th December 2022. Post-event virtual passes are £30+VAT. Find out more now: https://bit.ly/3TtqKYW

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