IWFF LABS

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LABS 2019 shoot
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The International Wildlife Film Festival’s LABS program will occur in tandem with our 45th annual festival, April 23 - 30, 2022.

The week-long intensive offers teams of four visiting filmmakers an opportunity to be guests of the festival and to craft a 4-minute film about a local Montana conservation/wildlife issue with their peers. The short films are screened on at the historic Wilma Theater during the festival. This annual celebration, where the festival’s 12 awards are presented, is free to our community, lifts up local conservation work, and serves as an exciting culmination to the LABS fellowship.

IWFF LABS program will be invitation-only this year. The eight fellowship slots will be extended to filmmakers who filled key roles in a 2022 IWFF selection. Teams will be chosen to reflect the participants’ various experience levels, strengths, and perspectives. LABS Fellows receive travel support, lodging, food, and VIP treatment as festival guests. LABS productions come with cutting-edge gear, production support, and a local production assistant for each team.

Write to [email protected] for further information.

IWFF LABS Timeline


February 1, 2022:

  • Final submission date to enter a film in the IWFF’s open call for films through filmfreeway.

December - February 1:

  • IWFF Preliminary Judging Period
    IWFF’s anonymous preliminary jury is made up of wildlife field biologists, environmental journalists, graduate students in related fields, alumni filmmakers, former professors, film programmers, camera operators, and long-time festival friends in the community. Films are viewed by three jury members and evaluated extensively. The 25-30 person jury is diverse and has local, native, international, and various ages & genders represented. The jury chooses 50-65 film selections out of 350-400 submissions.

February 20, 2022:

  • Filmmakers are notified of their selection status.

February/ March:

  • The IWFF team collects film details and makes decisions on LABS fellowships. The IWFF staff curates two teams of four fellows, extending invites to EIGHT filmmakers among the 2022 selections.

March 15:

  • Eight Fellows are confirmed for the 2022 LABS fellowship and travel arrangements are made.

January - March:

  • The IWFF LAB producer will vet and line out two compelling stories for the 2022 LABS teams’ projects.

March 1:

  • IWFF staff will evaluate current COVID safety and protocols for moving forward safely with the retreat. Any plan will include private rooms, masking, COVID tests, and fellows will be expected to be vaccinated.

April 20:

  • Beginning date for 2022 IWFF LABS. Teams head into the MT wilderness for 2 days.

April 23- 30:

  • Festival week at the Roxy Theater, Missoula MT.

April 28:

  • Awards Ceremony and LABS film premiere screening at the Wilma Theater

May 1-7:

  • Finished LABS films premiere online and the IWFF virtual catalog is available for streaming internationally.