Wildlife Film Festival celebrates 40 years

Featured documentaries at International Wildlife Film Festival

The International Wildlife Film Festival celebrates a milestone forty years of exploring the natural world and honors its past while looking into the future.

This April, Missoula will play host to nearly 100 diverse, groundbreaking and inspirational films from around the world and some of the most talented wildlife filmmakers working today. From incredible broadcast programming to forward-thinking environmental work, this annual spring event draws industry, filmmakers, and audiences with a hunger for ethical and cutting-edge films.

The roots of the festival will be honored with a celebration of the life and work of Dr. Chuck Jonkel. A famed bear researcher and the inventor of bear spray, Dr. Jonkel founded IWFF in 1977 to be a film festival for accurate and ethical depictions of wildlife in films. A small ceremony and unveiling of a permanent memorial at the Roxy Theater will precede a screening Walking Bear Comes Home:The Life and Work of Chuck Jonkel on April 20. Dr. Jonkel’s legacy of work for wildlife in the state of Montana continues in perpetuity.

The annual WildWalk celebrates it’s own milestone this year, 2017 will mark the 25th year of the community parade. In the weeks leading up to WildWalk, Home Resource will host a series of community costume-building workshops every Saturday from March 18th - April 8th, 11:00am-3:00pm with mentors Craig Menteer, Courtney Blazon and Keith Erickson. Family-friendly programming at the festival also includes the ever-popular WildFest following the parade on April 15th and daily children’s matinees every weekday during the festival.

IWFF Labs brings the festival into its next decade. A first for the festival, IWFF Labs is an immersive, cross-disciplinary science filmmaking workshop that brings scientists and student media creators together to learn effective tools to communicate science, nature, and conservation with broad audiences.

The results of the pairings will be presented in a program of mini-docs that will screen Monday April 17th as well as a series of nightly seminars by industry professionals open to the public April 12th -14th.

Programming highlights include all six episodes of Planet Earth 2 and the eye-opening animal rights film Unlocking the Cage. Film strands include retrospectives from Gorillas in the Mist cinematographer and producer Alan Root and screenwriter and documentarian John Heminway. IWFF and Montana Public Radio will present a special night focusing on former Missoula resident Amy Martin’s new bison-focused Threshold podcast. The winners of Fusion’s Project Earth Documentary Challenge will premiere at IWFF along with other dynamic shorts programs from the world’s most engaging wildlife film directors.

Unlocking the Cage - Trailer from Pennebaker Hegedus Films on Vimeo.



The vision of the IWFF will always be to foster an  engaged, enlightened community that finds itself through cinema, and helps the planet to heal. With plenty of opportunities for exploration, discussion, and insight, we will welcome filmmakers, industry executives, scientists, conservationists and enthusiasts from around the world to participate in screenings, Q&As, panel discussions, roundtables, workshops, and other free events at The Roxy and The University Of Montana.

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