2021 UN World Wildlife Day Film Showcase Winners announced

Updated on 28 October 2022


CITES, Jackson Wild, UNDP logos





2021 UN World Wildlife Day Film Showcase Winners announced

The Winners of the 2021 World Wildlife Day Film Showcase were unveiled during the first-ever virtual World Wildlife Day Celebration at UN Headquarters.


Geneva/Jackson Hole, WY /New York, 3 March 2021 – The CITES Secretariat, Jackson Wild™ and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), announced today the winners of the 2021 World Wildlife Day Film Showcase on the theme of “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet”

The 11 laureates were picked from 38 finalists, out of a total 275 entries in 5 categories, four of which comprised both long form and short form winners.  In addition to the finalists, 12 programs were selected for recognition as “Honorable Mentions.”

The winning films were unveiled during the high-level virtual event marking the World Wildlife Day celebrations, in the presence of representatives of UN Member States, UN System organizations, major civil society groups and representatives of Indigenous and local communities.

2021 World Wildlife Day Film Showcase: Forests and Livelihoods from Jackson Wild on Vimeo.

Winners and finalists submitted films that helped shed further light on the state of the planet’s forests and the impacts of global challenges as is biodiversity loss on the livelihoods of communities that rely on them and their species, and the ongoing efforts of groups around the world to preserve these livelihoods and restore endangered forest habitats and conserve their wildlife.

The UN World Wildlife Day Film Showcase films are broadly available for a free streamed screening here: https://watch.eventive.org/worldwildlifeday/

CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: "The laureates of this year’s Film Showcase have provided us with a deep insight into the profound relationship between people around the world and forests, forest ecosystem services and forest species. By recording the stories and experiences of people involved in all manner of efforts to preserve their forest-based livelihoods and to conserve endangered forested areas and wildlife, our outstanding laureates will help inspire our own work and that of all stakeholders involved to steer our relationship with nature towards sustainability.”

Jackson Wild™ Executive Director Lisa Samford added: "The power of personal storytelling to inspire individual, community and systemic change has never been more important. As we’ve been increasingly isolated during this pandemic, the global impact of media to share these compelling stories has helped connect each of us to our planet and to one another to address the massive impacts of climate change and accelerate equity in our world."

Midori Paxton, Head of Biodiversity, UNDP said: “The 2021 World Wildlife Day Film Showcase highlights the importance of forest ecosystems for indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as for our broader societies and economies. The stories captured by the winners of this year’s Film Showcase offer powerful examples of the critical role that forests play in helping countries accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda, including goals to eradicate poverty reduce inequalities, protect biodiversity, and mitigate the risk of climate change.”

Winners of the 2021 World Wildlife Day Film Showcase in the 5 categories are:

People & Forests (sponsored by National Geographic):

Winner, long form:
Backyard Wilderness
Archipelago Films, Arise Media, HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, SK Films and Reconsider

Winner, short form:
The Church Forests of Ethiopia
Emergence Magazine

My Forest (sponsored by Fable & Mane):

Winner, long form:
Mundiya Kepanga, the voice of the forest
ARTE France and Muriel Barra / Lato Sensu productions

Winner, short form:
Leo Plunkett, Environmental Investigation Agency

Future of Forests (sponsored by San Diego Zoo):

Winner, long form:
After the Wildfires
Northern Pictures for ABC, CBC, Love Nature and Blue Ant International

Winner, short form:
How Old Cell Phones Are Protecting the Rainforest
Seeker Media

Living Forests (sponsored by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios):

Winner, long form:
Earth's Tropical Islands: Borneo
BBC Studios Natural History Unit, PBS

Winners, short form (two films tied):
Chasing Ghosts
Grizzly Creek Films, bioGraphic

Memories of the Future
a Mares Mexicanos production

Forest Micro Movie:

Gajah Borneo
Shervin Hess, Oregon Zoo

A Special Jury Award was given to:
The Man Who Planted a Forest
101India Digital Services

For artfully expressing the healing power of forests, a lifelong commitment to conservation and reminding us all that each individual person can make a difference in the fight to protect nature and the resources it provides for future generations.

Honorable Mention films: Alianza Ceibo: Equator Prize Winner of 2020 (UNDP Equator Initiative, What Took You So Long), Can Farms and Forests Coexist? (Produced by Spotzen for PBS Digital Studios), Clatter (Rémi Rappe), Eeya (House Tiger Productions), If We Plant 1 TRILLION Trees Can We Stop Climate Change? (Produced by Spotzen for PBS Digital Studios), Jungle Guardian (Doclights GmbH / NDR Naturfilm), Moss Man (Tilapia Film, Topic Studio), Primary Forests (Rojo Visuals and Wild Heritage for IntAct - International Action for Primary Forests), Rearing Giants (Green Hub (NEN - DFF)), Rise of the Warrior Apes (KEO Films for Discovery Network International), Sungai Utik -The Fight for Recognition (If Not Us Then Who), The Ogieks; Guardians of the Mau Forest (Maurice Oniang'o)


For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

United Nations Development Programme, Sangita Khadka, +212 906 5043, [email protected]

CITES Secretariat: Francisco Pérez, +41 22 917 1447, [email protected],

Jackson Wild: Abbey Greene, +1 307 200 3286, [email protected]

To arrange free community screening events, please contact:

Melanie Judd, (307) 200-3286 ext. 4, [email protected]


The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed on 3 March 1973 and entered into force on 1 July 1975. With 183 Parties (182 countries + the European Union), it remains one of the world's most powerful tools for wildlife conservation through the regulation of international trade in over 38,000 species of wild animals and plants. CITES-listed species are used by people around the world in their daily lives for food, health care, furniture, housing, tourist souvenirs, cosmetics or fashion. CITES seeks to ensure that international trade in such species is sustainable, legal and traceable and contributes to both the livelihoods of the communities that live closest to them and to national economies for a healthy planet and the prosperity of the people in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals.

About UNDP
UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at undp.org or follow at @UNDP.

About Jackson Wild
For almost 30 years, the Jackson Wild Summit has grown a reputation for hosting extraordinary convenings science, nature and conservation media stakeholders. The World Wildlife Day Film Showcase brings together stakeholders from all over the world to focus on a single global theme. Jackson Wild’s international board members include: ARTE France, BBC Studios, Blue Ant Media / Love Nature, Borealés, Conservation International, Discovery, Doclights, FujiFilm Optical Devices - Fujinon Lenses, Gorongosa Restoration Project, HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, Humane Society International, International Fund for Animal Welfare, National Geographic Partners, National Geographic Society, Nature/WNET, Netflix, Off the Fence Productions, ORF/Universum, PBS, Saint Thomas Productions, San Diego Zoo, Seeker, Smithsonian Channel, Sony Electronics, SVT - Swedish Television, The Nature Conservancy, Terra Mater Factual Studios, Vulcan Productions, Wanda Films, WGBH, and World Wildlife Fund US.

About the United Nations World Wildlife Day
On 20 December 2013, the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 3 March as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. The date is the day of the signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973. World Wildlife Day has quickly become the most prominent global annual event dedicated to wildlife. It is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the various challenges faced by these species. The day also reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime, which has wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.