IWFF Awards Ceremony and Free Community Screening!

Join us to celebrate in true IWFF fashion at The Wilma. Watch as the impressive work of Missoula’s community of nonprofits, conservationists, and researchers come alive on-screen through four short IWFF LABS films made during the week of the festival. Our prestigious jury will be recognizing winners within our 2019 Film Competition throughout the evening with ten awards honoring the best in wildlife film. Afterward, sit back and enjoy a special screening of a newly finished 4K adventure through beloved Yellowstone made by Grizzly Creek Productions and The Smithsonian. This film is sure to stun and inspire every audience member. 6:45 Screening of EPIC YELLOWSTONE: Return of the Predators Snacks and a cash bar will round out the evening with door prizes and more surprises to come. Made possible by The Nature Conservancy

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 is for filmmakers and scientists to advance ideas, tools and working methods that will address pressing environmental, wildlife and conservation issues through media.

Ideal IWFF LABS applicants may be but are not limited to:

Scientists, researchers, and managers working in the natural sciences, especially with a focus on ecology, biology, wildlife science, or conservation, who have an interest in using visual media to expand their science communication skills. Filmmaking students or emerging filmmakers, journalists or other media makers interested in deepening their science communication skills and advancing their wildlife filmmaking careers.


  • 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.
  • Prior filmmaking experience is not required but some experience with visual media is a plus.
  • IWFF LABS 2019 begins FRIDAY, APRIL 12 and culminates in the LABS films screening at the IWFF Awards Ceremony on FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2019. Fellows must be available for the entire range of dates.
  • IWFF LABS will accept 16 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.

IWFF 2019 LABS Mentors include out-of-the box storytellers and thinkers and will be announced shortly. Past Mentors have included representatives from BBC (Neil Nightingale), NATURE, bioGraphic, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New West Studios, and Grizzly Creek Films.



Questions? Email [email protected]

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