MISSOULA — Ingenuity and flexibility saved this years Wildlife International Film Festival after stay at home orders closed the original venue for the event.
The International Wildlife Film Festival is normally held at the Roxy once a year but this years festival was conducted a little differently because of state wide stay at home orders.
Carrie Richer the Artistic Director of the IWFF says that they had to plan according.
“It just started looking like any major virus impact would probably hit Missoula around mid April which is around the time of our festival. We were about to send our program to print and spend a lot of money and we just called it a little early and tried to embrace a virtual festival instead of getting bogged down,” said Richer.
It takes a motivated talented staff to pull that type of transition off.
“We certainly have learned a lot along the way and we just wanted to make sure that the experience was as deep as we could get it in the three weeks time that we had to pivot. We are just really happy we could pull together, their were about three of us that worked on this really intensely and pivoted and made this happen,” said Richer.
Most sponsors stuck around despite the transition which the film festival organizers are extremely thankful for.
They are also thankful for the support of film makers during the transition.
“So many of them made special arraignments to let us show their films that you know we just really appreciate. Everyone really loves the festival and we have really close intiment relationships with our filmmakers and I think that made all the difference. I mean for the most part everyone was receptive we were blown away by the support,” said Richer.
Richer says that Ryan Hawk was huge in switching over to an online festival and you can find winners on IWFF’s website here.