IWFF was founded to showcase ethical wildlife media and to foster a sense of community around wildlife filmmaking. We aim to facilitate dialogue between scientists, filmmakers, and the general public. IWFF LABS seeks to further the mission of IWFF by giving both scientists and filmmakers intensive training and resources to help them contribute to this important dialogue. IWFF LABS is designed to help bridge the gap between scientists, filmmakers, and the public by providing the training and resources necessary for successful science communication.


  • IWFF LABS is tuition-free, lodging and two meals a day are provided. Additional food and travel costs will be the responsibility of the Fellow.
  • IWFF LABS 2020 begins THURSDAY, APRIL 16 and culminates in the LABS films screening at the IWFF Awards Ceremony on FRIDAY, APRIL 24, 2020. Fellows must be available for the entire range of dates.
  • IWFF LABS will accept 12 Fellows into this highly competitive program.

During this week-long intensive workshop, IWFF LABS Program Leader Colin Ruggiero facilitates lectures, discussions and hands-on workshops that will feature professional wildlife filmmakers who act as mentors in their areas of expertise (production, editing, pitching, etc.). Colin Ruggiero’s multi-faceted experience as a teacher and a filmmaker ensures that LABS students will walk away with new-found knowledge, skills, and confidence as science communicators and visual storytellers. Mentoring from a diverse group of professional filmmakers, as well as the LABS program’s close integration with the festival, gives fellows the opportunity to cultivate long-term relationships within the industry.

During the week, fellows also create a ready-to-launch, polished mini-documentary with a local conservation organization or scientific research team. The films will premiere at the IWFF Awards Ceremony. In past years, IWFF LABS films have been selected for the National Geographic Short Film Showcase and won awards at film festivals across the world.

Past LABS Mentors have included representatives from BBC (Neil Nightingale), NATURE, bioGraphic, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Grizzly Creek Films and individuals such as Allison Argo, Oliver Goetzl, Jenny Nichols, and cinematographer, Shane Moore.


IWFF Fellows must have prior media experience complimented by a background as scientists, researchers, or managers working in the natural sciences.  Fellows will thrive most with a previous focus in ecology, biology, wildlife science, or conservation. Filmmaking students, emerging filmmakers, journalists or other media makers interested in deepening their science communication skills and advancing their wildlife filmmaking careers are ideal.

“IWFF Labs has lit my filmmaking fire! Being immersed in the filmmaking process while surrounded by
motivated peers and the incredibly passionate IWFF community really solidified my desire to pursue science/conservation
filmmaking as an integral part of my career!” – 2019 LABS Fellow

Questions? Email [email protected]

IWFF LABS is made possible through a collaboration with the University of Montana Wildlife Biology Program.