From astounding photo-journalism to bicycle-powered cinema, TBM gives you the lowdown on the Wildscreen Festival programme, which takes place from 10-14 October
Beasts on the big screen
All the films nominated for Panda Awards, including the Bristol-made masterpieces such as The Hunt, will be shown at Watershed as part of the public screening programme, which runs from 10 to 16 October and includes 10 premieres – three of them world firsts and one – The Ivory Game – the European premiere of a Netflix Original produced by Leonardo di Caprio which debuted at the mighty Toronto Film Festival last month.
Wildscreen is stepping up its commitment to unite natural history’s best visual storytellers with a new strand putting photography in the spotlight. From 7-28 October, the public will be able to enjoy a free alfresco exhibition of images by some of the world’s finest wildlife photographers. And it looks set to be the most environmentally-friendly show ever mounted of its kind – printed on Tyvek, a 100% recycled and recyclable material, using 100% sustainable inks and low electricity Canon technology, mounted (by Bristol-based Signs & That) on stands made from recycled wood, and fitted with solar panels to power the LED bulbs which will light the show up at night.
Photography in focus
Organisers are also hosting a day exploring the art, techniques and business aspects of nature photography with a truly stellar line-up of guest speakers. The day will conclude with an event at St George’s, starring one of the world’s most celebrated documenters of rainforests, the renowned US photo-journalist Tim Laman – a rare chance to hear the field biologist, filmmaker and National Geographic favourite talk about the intimate and unique pictures of rainforest wildlife, including orangutans and birds-of-paradise, that he has captured during 30 years of exploring the rainforest canopy.
“For most of its 30 year life, the Wildscreen Festival has focused on encouraging and applauding the best in wildlife film and TV,” says Lucie Muir, Wildscreen CEO. “But there have been huge changes in recent times to how people find, view and use imagery to tell stories about the natural world, especially via online channels. We want to reflect this by expanding the Wildscreen Festival’s remit to take in the ever-more varied forms of visual storytelling – both to add power to conservation messages and open up new income streams for those who are able to capture and share inspirational moments from biodiversity’s frontlines. From now on, photography is part of the festival’s DNA.”
Until 16 October, Wildscreen will be touring a free bicycle-powered wildlife cinema across Bristol, showing a mix of Panda Award-nominated films, with a focus on family friendly titles in the afternoon and early evening, then harder hitting environmental documentaries later on. The screenings will take place in parks, community centres and indoor/outdoor events and spaces such as St George’s Park, St Andrews Park, Arnos Vale Cemetery, the At-Bristol big screen, Make Sunday Special and Ashton Community Centre.
The thrill of the (celeb) hunt
There’ll be plenty of well-known faces from the wildlife world in town for the festival – the likes of Doug Allen, Gordon Buchanan, Steve Backshall, Liz Bonnin. There are even rumours Sir David Attenborough may be attending. Other well-known guests will be David Puttnam, Jonathan Dimbleby and Stephen Price, the Oscar-winning composer of the musical score for Gravity. See who you can spot!
Putting on the glitz
The biggest event of the festival is set to be the Green Hollywood-themed Panda Awards Ceremony at Colston Hall on 13 October and this year, it’s open to the public. The hall will be having a ‘wild wonderland’ makeover using lights, digital projection, special effects and surround sound.
Of the 43 films still in the running for Panda Awards – which have been painstakingly narrowed down from 1,000 entries – more than a third are the work of Bristol companies. Get involved and support the talented local filmmakers this city houses!
Wildscreen takes place from 10-14 October. For more information or to buy tickets, visit wildscreen.org
Feature image from The Hunt © Olly Scholey