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Wildscreen’s 2022 Official Selection Revealed

Wildscreen Festival has today announced its 2022 Official Selection, a vibrant and diverse array of stories that highlight the beauty and urgency of protecting the natural world. 

Launched as part of the Festival in 2020, the competition acts as a global launchpad for new voices, original stories and vital messages. It aims to promote an inclusive and global natural world storytelling community. 

The 32 productions range from feature-films, shorts and immersive productions originating from 16 different countries. With over 50% of the Directors identifying as an underrepresented group in the industry, this years selection aligns with Wildscreen’s goal to amplify voices of marginalised storytellers.

The team and cast behind Ecuadorian film MIWENE, a coming-of-age film following Waorani woman Anita Yeti, which features indigenous people in the directorial team. Directed by; Keith Heyward, Jennifer Berglund, Gange Anita Yeti Enomenga and Obe Beatriz Nenquimo Nihua.

The six programmers behind the selection reflect a truly international team with outstanding cumulative experiences. Oscar-winning Director James Reed (UK), Salvadorian Filmmaker Amada Torruella (US), Founder of Raconteur Productions Chioma Onyenwe (Nigeria), Napu Kichwa storyteller Elizabeth Swanson Andi (Ecuador) and Interactive Arts Programmer Emma Hughes (UK).

The programming team was led for a second year by Lucy Mukerjee, a British-Indian programming disruptor and social impact film curator who also programmes for and coordinates the LGBTQ+ outreach for New York’s major film festival, Tribeca.

The 6 programmers behind Wildscreen’s 2022 Official Selection. (Top left to bottom right) Lucy Mukerjee, James Reed, Chioma Onyenwe, Amada Torruella, Elizabeth Swanson And and Emma Hughes

About the experience, Lucy had this to say “The programming team and I had a remarkable experience curating the 2022 Wildscreen Official Selections, travelling all over the world via these eye-opening stories, following elusive species, discovering little known ecosystems, and witnessing the lengths that some are going to fight the climate emergency and restore the environment.

“We’ve seen extraordinary films coming from independent storytellers in the natural history field, and we were impressed by the measures taken by production crews to reduce their environmental impact, from those who made the conscious decision to film in their own backyards, to those who left the location better than they found it.”

In order to recognise impactful productions which reduced their environmental footprint and benefited the local community, Wildscreen introduced a Sustainability Merit as part of the competition. Described by programmers as “a film about a community coming together to overcome an ecological disaster”, Jaguaretê – Avá – Pantanal in Flames receives this merit. 

Brazilian filmmaker Lawrence Wahba has been visiting The Pantanal for 30 years to document its beauty and biodiversity, in his latest feature which he ‘wishes he didn’t have to make’, he returns to capture the devastating forest fires at the worst they have ever been.

The campaign surrounding Jaguaretê has already raised funds to build fire bridgages and veterinary practices to protect all the animals and habitats that make up the subject of his film.

Veterinarians treating the burnt paws of a jaguar in Brazil. Credit to Lawrence Wahba

Wildscreen’s programming team also selected a production to receive a Programmer Prize alongside a £2,000 cash prize. Last year, cash prizes were used by filmmakers to invest back into the local communities and upgrade equipment for future productions. 

The Spanish father-son duo, Andoni & Unai Canela document their 4-year adventure in search of the last wild cats on the planet, from jaguars and leopards to the harsh terrain of snow leopards. Alongside their physical journey is a personal one as the film documents the growth of son Unai from age 12 to 17, and the bond he develops with both his father and the natural world.

The powerful line-up, will be screened in Bristol, UK, across the Festival week (10-15 October). Online screenings will be available from mid September to December via the Wildscreen Festival platform. Film and Q&A topics will range from female empowerment in natural spaces to big cat conservation and hyperlocal storytelling. 

Discover the full line-up of the 32 Wildscreen Festival Official Selection here.

Screening Tickets and Industry passes are also available here.