2019 Semifinalists

Human-Wildlife Interaction

The Last Green Thread

Directors & Producers: Danny Schmidt, Eric Bendick

April 17 @ 3PM – Buy Tickets – Our Impacts Shorts Block 

April 18 @ 3PM – Buy Tickets – Our Impacts Shorts Block 

In 2018, three friends set out on an expedition into the most rapidly developing landscape in Central Florida, traveling the narrowest and most imperiled wildlife corridor in the state.


Sponsored by The Green Light

Whale Wisdom

Director: Rick Rosenthal
Producer: Katya Shirokow

April 15 @ 3:45PM- Buy Tickets

April 19 @ 12:45PM- Buy Tickets

Whales live in a world so removed from our own that we can barely imagine their lives. Marine biologist and filmmaker Rick Rosenthal has filmed whales for much of his long career. Now he is on a quest to probe deeper into their lives, to compare scientists’ observations against his own experience, and just maybe, to get a glimpse of the world as it must seem to these ocean giants.

Sons of Enkai

Director: Nacho Ruiz
Producers: Nacho Ruiz, Alberto Saiz, Jorge Alesanco, Mariola Liberal, Into the Wild Productions, Vince Turmo

April 14 @ 1:45PM- Buy Tickets 

April 16 @ 7:45PM- Buy Tickets

An intimate look at the relationship between man and nature in one of the most iconic wild places on Earth: the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. A Maasai warrior guides us through the epic natural events and spectacular wildlife with which he shares his land, reflecting on our deep connection to the natural world.


Sponsored by Lithia Toyota of Missoula 

Children's and Young Adults

Backyard Wilderness

Directors & Producers: Susan Todd, Andrew Young

April 15 @ 2PM – Buy Tickets

April 14 @ 11:30AM – Extended QA with Missoula Insectarium + National Wildlife Federation

BACKYARD WILDERNESS will surprise and entertain viewers with the unexpected wonders of nature that are right under our noses: literally in our own backyards. Spanning four seasons, the film captures unique wildlife images and behavior in rare and breathtaking intimacy. Wi-Fi is not the only connection that matters and that in ordinary places, we can discover extraordinary things – if we just step outside.


Sponsored by National Wildlife Federation 

The Anomalies: Venom Race

Directors & Producers: Nathan Dappen, Morgan Heim

April 14 @ 1:30PM – Plays in Squeamish Shorts Block after Dung Dynasty

Most scorpions are harmless to humans, but in the deserts of North America, one species called striped bark scorpions produce venom that is extremely painful and potentially lethal. Despite their potent venom, striped bark scorpions are still a favorite meal of the grasshopper mouse. After decades of work, biologists have discovered that this tiny rodent may be the key to explaining how and why striped bark scorpion venom is so toxic.

Great Barrier Reef

Director: Stephen Amezdroz
Producers: Tony Wright, Matt Downey

April 14 @ 3:30PM – Buy Tickets – For Bigger Kids Shorts Block 

April 17 @ 4PM – Buy Tickets 

Grab your mask and snorkel and come on an unforgettable adventure! GREAT BARRIER REEF captures the exquisite beauty and strangeness of the world’s largest living wonder and introduces us to the visionaries and citizen scientists who are helping us better understand this awesome, bizarre, and vibrant world.

Sponsored by The Green Hanger


Monkey Menace

Director: Javier Douglas

April 13 @ 7:15PM – Buy Tickets 

April 16 @ 6:30PM – Buy Tickets 

MONKEY MENACE explores the escalating conflict that exists between Delhi’s rhesus macaques and its human citizens. Javier Douglas’s keen observational camerawork shows what it’s like to be a rhesus macaque living in one of the most polluted and populous megacities in the world.


Sponsored by Ecostreamz 

Saving ‘Ōhi’a -- Hawaii's Sacred Tree

Director: Annie Sullivan Kopcsó, Liza Sullivan
Producers: Christy Martin, Annie Sullivan Kopcsó. Produced by CLUB SULLIVAN for the University of Hawai’i / Hawai’i Invasive Species Council

April 13 @ 7:30PM – Buy Tickets 

April 16 @ 3PM – Buy Tickets

This film highlights the significance of Hawaii’s native tree species–the “mother of the forest,” ‘Ōhi’a–and the current threat of Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death that is impacting thousands of acres of forest throughout Hawai’i. This film provides an in-depth look into the cultural and ecological importance of Hawai’i’s keystone species. Meet the team of scientists, conservationists and Hawai’i residents determined to save ‘Ōhi’a.


Sponsored by The International Forestry Students’ Association

Fox Chaser

Director: Rio Mitchell
Producer: Chris Hsiung

April 15 @ 4:15PM – Buy Tickets

April 16 @ 6PM – Buy Tickets

In the deep freeze of Northern Alberta, a young man finds freedom and his livelihood on the trapline. But with increasing family obligations, and with industrial development encroaching upon the area’s wildlife, this may be his last chance to live his passion for the wilderness.


Sponsored by Worden’s Market 

Feature or Independent Film


Director & Producer: Ken O’Sullivan

April 13 @ 4:30PM & April 15 @ 7:30PM

Underwater cameraman Ken O’Sullivan sets out on a series of voyages from Ireland’s coast into the deep waters of the North Atlantic to find blue and sperm whales and map their migration routes. His journeys take him out to the edge of the continental shelf and 3,000 meters down into dark Atlantic waters in search of cold water coral reefs to see how life in the surface waters is affected by what happens on the deep sea bed.


Sponsored by PayneWest

The Last Pig

Director: Allison Argo
Producers: Allison Argo, Joseph Brunette

April 17 @ 5:30PM & April 19 @ 12:15PM

THE LAST PIG is an achingly beautiful meditation on what it means to be a sentient creature with the power to kill. Deeply immersive and experiential, the film follows a pig farmer through his final year of slaughtering pigs. The bucolic life of the pigs on the farm is ruptured by weekly trips to the slaughterhouse. Through sparse, intimate musings, the farmer reveals his growing conflict of a life spent “peddling in death.”

STROOP - journey into the rhino horn war

Director: Susan Scott
Producer: Bonné de Bod

April 14 @ 5:15PM – Buy Tickets

April 15 @ 5:15PM – Buy Tickets

In this roller coaster ride between Africa and Asia, two first-time filmmakers embed themselves on the front-lines of the rhinoceros genocide. Carving out six months for the project, the women quickly find themselves immersed in a world far larger and more dangerous than they had imagined, emerging from their odyssey four years later.

Broadcast Feature

EPIC YELLOWSTONE: Return of the Predators

Director: Thomas Winston, Eric Bendick, Shasta Winston
Producers: Thomas Winston, Tria Thalman, Eric Bendick, Avela Grenier, Jeff Reed, Shasta Winston, Smithsonian Channel


April 19 @ 6:45PM – No ticket necessary, just show up early for a seat!

@ The Wilma – 131 S. Higgins

It’s the dawn of a bold new era in Yellowstone. The resurgence of iconic predators like wolves and bears is shaping every aspect of life in this ecosystem – restoring an ancient balance between predator and prey. This world comes alive through the eyes of a lone wolf searching for a pack and alongside the trials of a legendary grizzly defending the next generation. For these tireless hunters, what will it take to survive, protect their turf, and raise young – all while trying to stay at the top of the food chain?


Sponsored by The Nature Conservancy 

Lost Kings of Bioko

Director: Oliver Goetzl
Producers: Gulo Film Productions for NDR Naturfilm / Doclights. Co-produced by NDR, WDR, ARTE, ORF, SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL, SVT.

April 18 @ 7:30PM – Buy Tickets

April 19 @ 2:15PM – Buy Tickets

Off the coast of Central Africa lies an isolated island, covered by primeval rainforest and inhabited by a greater variety of species than nearly any other place on Earth: Bioko. The rulers of this realm are one of the least known primates on the planet–drills. This film will reveal the secrets of these shy and endangered monkeys.


Sponsored by Great Burn Brewing 

Humpback Whales - A Detective Story

Director & Producer: Tom Mustill

April 15 @ 2:45PM – Buy Tickets 

April 18 @ 4PM – Buy Tickets

In 2015, a 30-ton humpback whale breached and landed on Tom Mustill and his friend in Monterey Bay, California. Both survived the incident, but the near-death experience haunted him. Tom returned to discover far larger questions, not just about his encounter but also about our relationship with whales and their future alongside us.


Return of the Desert Bighorn

Directors: Ben Masters, Charles Post

April 16 @ 4:45PM – Buy Tickets – North & West Shorts Block 

April 18 @ 6:15PM – Buy Tickets – North & West Shorts Block 

After all native desert bighorn sheep were eliminated from Texas, conservationists began the long fight for their return. RETURN OF THE DESERT BIGHORN follows wildlife biologists as they capture, collar, and relocate desert bighorn to restore a healthy population to West Texas.


Sponsored by First Interstate Bank 

namanu rruni | Albatross Island

Director: Matthew Newton
Producer: Catherine Pettman


April 17 @ 5:30PM – Buy Tickets – Rhythms in Nature Shorts Block 

April 19 @ 12:15PM – Buy Tickets – Rhythms in Nature Shorts Block 

April 19 @ 2PM – Buy Tickets – Plays before Birth of a Pride 

Albatross Island is a magical place. Eighteen hectares of conglomerate rock off the north western tip of Tasmania, it is home to 5,200 breeding pairs of albatross. In the 1800s they were harvested to near extinction, but the population gradually recovered to half the estimated historical size. In recent years, however, the population has begun to again decline.

Sides of a Horn

Director: Toby Wosskow
Producers: Toby Wosskow, Emmanuel Castis, Charlie Hicks, Erika Klopper

April 17 @ 3PM – Buy Tickets – Our Impact Shorts Block 

April 18 @ 3PM – Buy Tickets – Our Impact Shorts Block 

From executive producer Sir Richard Branson, SIDES OF A HORN is the first film to tell the story of Africa’s war on poaching from both sides of the fence. Based on actual events, and filmed in one of the communities most directly impacted by wildlife crime, we follow the journey of two brothers-in-law fighting on opposite sides of Africa’s poaching war. This dramatic short film paints an unbiased portrait of a modern conflict that is tearing communities apart and driving a prehistoric species–the rhinoceros–to the verge of extinction.

Cowboys & Scientists

Director: Eric Bendick
Producer: Tom Winston

April 16 @ 4:45PM – Buy Tickets – North & West Shorts Block 

April 18 @ 6:15PM – Buy Tickets – North & West Shorts Block 

Thirty years ago a partnership between Archbold Biological Station and Buck Island Ranch inspired a new mission: cowboys and scientists working together to advance scientific discovery on a ten thousand acre working cattle ranch. Bridging this cultural divide has resulted in a series of transformative discoveries that have begun to reshape our misconceptions about agriculture, sustainability, and conservation in the 21st century.

A Letter To Congress

Director: Christopher Newman
Producer: Dalia Burde

April 17 @ 3PM – Buy Tickets – Our Impact Shorts Block 

April 18 @ 3PM – Buy Tickets – Our Impact Shorts Block 

Wallace Stegner’s 1960 letter to Congress about the importance of wilderness is the framework for a new message, one in which our unified voice can help prevent the transfer of our most valuable heritage— our public lands— to private and corporate interests.


Sponsored by Noteworthy Paper & Press


Keeper of the Call

Director & Producer: Billy Clapham

April 14 @ 7:45PM – Buy Tickets – Change Makers Shorts Block 

April 19 @ 12PM – Buy Tickets – Change Makers Shorts Block 

One of the British countryside’s most iconic sounds is falling silent. But for one Welsh farmer, seeing the curlew disappear from his farm is not an option. Follow Wynford as he works alongside conservationists to save his precious family of curlews. But with the modern countryside so full of dangers, will Wynford see his chicks fly?

The Great Pretender

Director & Producer: Nardine Groch

April 14 @ 3:30PM – Buy Tickets – For Bigger Kids Shorts Block 

April 19 @ 5:30PM – Buy Tickets – For Bigger Kids Shorts Block 

After the loss of an important display feather a famous lyrebird named “The Pretender” struggles to win a mate during the most competitive song-and-dance competition in Australia.


Director & Producer: Gail Kukula

April 14 @ 1:30PM – Buy Tickets – Squeamish Shorts Block 


In the warm waters of the Philippines lives a poisonous, shapeshifting predator. ​FLAMBOYANT follows one young cuttlefish as she learns to hunt in a new home after a life-changing encounter with a scuba diver. ​ Will she learn the right skills to compete with a new, established predator?


Wild Korea: Voices of Nature

Director & Producer: James Reed

April 17 @ 8PM – Screens with Wild Edens: Russia – Buy Tickets 

April 18 @ 3:30PM – Screens with Wild Edens: Russia – Buy Tickets

For thousands of years Korea was known for its staggering natural beauty. Now it is better known for its decades of conflict. Beyond the battle scars and the fortifications, there is another side to this troubled peninsula. South Korea boasts areas of great wilderness with intriguing animals, some of which share extraordinary relationships with humankind. It is in these connections, rather than in political division, that we can truly see Korea.

The Serengeti Rules

Director: Nicolas Brown
Producer: David Allen

April 15 @ 3:30 – Buy Tickets 

April 17 @ 8:30 – Buy Tickets 

In the 1960s, a band of young scientists headed out into the wilderness, driven by an insatiable curiosity about how nature works. Immersed in some of the most remote places on Earth—the Serengeti to the Arctic Ocean and through the Amazon jungle—they discovered a single set of rules that govern all life. Now in their twilight, these five unsung heroes of modern ecology share the stories of their adventures and reveal how their pioneering work flipped our view of nature on its head.


Director: Alex Lowther
Producer: Emily Grant

April 13 @ 7:30PM – Screens with Saving Ohi’a – Hawaii’s Sacred Tree – Buy Tickets 

April 16 @ 3PM – Screens with Saving Ohi’a – Hawaii’s Sacred Tree – Buy Tickets 

Takayna in northwestern Tasmania is home to one of the last tracts of old-growth rainforest in the world, yet it’s currently at the mercy of destructive extraction industries, including logging and mining. This documentary, presented by Patagonia Films, unpacks the complexities of modern conservation and challenges us to consider the importance of our last wild places.



Director: David Hambridge
Producers: Andrew Harrison Brown, David Hambridge

April 13 @ 5:15PM – Buy Tickets 

April 17 @ 6:30PM – Buy Tickets 

KIFARU (Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, Slamdance 2019) follows the lives of two young Kenyan recruits that join Ol Pejeta Conservancy’s rhino caretaker unit, a small group of rangers that care for and protect Sudan, the last male northern white rhino or, in Swahili, “kifaru.” Spanning the caretakers’ first four years on the job, KIFARU allows viewers to experience the joys and pitfalls of conservation firsthand through the eyes of these men.

Take Back the Harbor

Directors: Kristi Jacobson, Roger Ross Williams
Producers: Christopher Clements, Julie Goldman, Carolyn Hepburn, Kristi Jacobson

April 14 @ 3:45 – Buy Tickets 

April 17 @ 8:15 – Buy Tickets 

On New York’s Governor’s Island there is an ambitious goal: to restore oysters to New York Harbor. The foot soldiers of this environmental movement are an unlikely group–high school students at a public school which teaches waterways stewardship alongside math and English. TAKE BACK THE HARBOR highlights these students and their teachers as they persevere to turn the tide on decades of neglect and bring back the health of their city’s waterways.


Sponsored by Discovery 

The Human Element

Director: Matthew Testa
Producers: Olivia Ahnemann & Daniel Wright. Concept by James Balog

April 17 @ 5PM – Buy Tickets 

April 18 @ 5PM – Buy Tickets 

Renowned photographer James Balog (CHASING ICE) creates stunning images that reveal how environmental problems are damaging the lives of all Americans. Using the four elements – air, earth, fire and water – to frame his journey, Balog documents fishermen, firefighters, coal miners and children on the front lines of climate change, inspiring us to re-evaluate our relationship with the natural world.


Sponsored by The Good Food Store