Finalists Announced for World Wildlife Day Film Showcase

Updated on 28 October 2022
For use of the media only;
not an official document.


Finalists announced for World Wildlife Day Film Showcase

Geneva/Jackson Hole, WY/Montreal/Nairobi/New York, 19 February 2020 – Judges and organizers of the World Wildlife Day 2020 Film Showcase have unveiled the finalists of this year’s contest, highlighting 57 outstanding films, picked from a total of 345 entries. The seven final laureates will be announced on 3 March, during the World Wildlife Day celebrations at a high-level event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The festival was organized by Jackson Wild, the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), along with film professionals. It was announced last November and is the fifth of its kind.

The Showcase is anchored in the theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day: "Sustaining all life on Earth," which aims to celebrate wild fauna and flora as essential components of the world’s biodiversity, to highlight their immense benefits to humanity as purveyor of resources and livelihoods, and to raise awareness about the threats they currently face.

The theme also underlines the importance of sustainable use of biodiversity, as research continues to shed light on the scale and speed of the biodiversity loss crisis the world is facing, and the role that overexploitation of wildlife and the degradation of habitats and ecosystems play in accelerating it.

The judges – professional filmmakers, biodiversity experts and stakeholders from around the world – selected the finalists in eight categories:

  • Science, Innovation and Exploration;
  • Issues and Solutions;
  • People and Wild Species;
  • Stories of Hope;
  • Global Voices;
  • Web of Life;
  • Short; and
  • Micro.

The full list of finalists can be found below.

Winners and finalists will be showcased extensively at events across the world to raise awareness of the importance of conserving and sustainably using the world’s biodiversity and wildlife and maintaining their habitats and ecosystems that benefit all humankind. They will also be part of the messaging around what has been dubbed the ‘biodiversity super year’, at the numerous high-level events organized in 2020 by UN Member States, UN system organizations, multilateral environmental agreements and civil society. The aim is to bring biodiversity and the challenges of halting its loss to the forefront of the sustainable development agenda by adopting an ambitious and transformative global biodiversity framework in line with the Agenda 2030 decade for action.

CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: "We are grateful to all filmmakers who submitted their entries celebrating all life on Earth and the great value of our world’s wildlife. The stories and images they recorded will be powerful tools to help raise awareness of the grave crisis that is biodiversity loss. With nearly a million species currently threatened with extinction in the near future because of unsustainable human activity, it is time for us to reshape our relationship with nature, including wild plants and animals. For this year’s World Wildlife Day celebrations, we want to push for a more sustainable use of all the precious and – though we sometimes forget it – limited components of the biosphere. These wonderful films will help us do just that."

As noted by Midori Paxton, Head of Biodiversity for UNDP: "Wildlife and biodiversity are under tremendous threat from unsustainable production and consumption, urban expansion and population growth. If we’re to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we must reverse this trend now and put nature at the center of development. We need to scale up what is already working and advance more innovative solutions through partnerships that help shift how our societies think, feel and act about Nature. This year’s Film Showcase is an example of how a dedicated network of practitioners, experts and advocates can raise awareness and catalyze urgent action needed to protect biodiversity and wildlife which provides a global safety net for all life."

"Global biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history, with one million plant and animal species currently threatened with extinction. 2020 is a critical year for transformative change to lay the groundwork for a decade of nature conservation and restoration. The World Wildlife Day 2020 Film Showcase will inspire action by capturing real stories about the irreplaceable benefits that nature provides to support human well-being," said Susan Gardner, Director for Ecosystems for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

"This year’s selection of finalists are some of the most moving and powerful pieces of media we have ever seen," said Lisa Samford, Executive Director of Jackson Wild. "These films are sure to move the dial for conservation of our planet’s biodiversity."

"The World Wildlife Day 2020 Film Showcase serves as a wonderful way to highlight the importance of sustaining all life on Earth," said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). "As governments prepare to negotiate the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, increasing the sustainability of wildlife use and management is a priority.We know the stakes are high. We must strive to conserve and use biodiversity sustainably to ensure wildlife keeps sustaining all life. The awareness raised by these films will no doubt serve to enlighten many people about the critical importance of bending the curve on biodiversity loss."

World Wildlife Day 2020 Film Showcase finalists:

Science, Innovation and Exploration:

A Song for Love - An Ape with an App
A co-production of Terra Mater Factual Studios, Mark Fletcher Productions and Colorful Nature Films.

Nature: The Serengeti Rules
A Production of HHMI Tangled Bank Studios and Passion Planet in association with Sandbox Films, Thirteen Productions Llc and WNET

Serengeti: Nature’s Living Laboratory
Day's Edge Productions for Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Issues and Solutions:

Gorillas of Gabon
Earth Touch, Smithsonian Networks

Our Gorongosa
A Gorongosa Media and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios Production

Local Hero, Participant Media, Terra Mater Factual Studios

People and Wild Species:

Grasslands - North America´s Hidden Wilderness
A River Road Films production in association with CBC and Terra Mater Factual Studios

Kingdom of the White Wolf: Episode 103
Nat Geo Wild

Sharkwater Extinction
Sharkwater Pictures

The Serengeti Rules
HHMI Tangled Bank Studios/Passion Planet

Stories of Hope:

Europe's New Wild: Episode 103
Nat Geo Wild

Rare: Creatures of the Photo Ark: Episode 1
WGBH Boston and So World Media, LLC in association with National Geographic Channels

Silent Forests
House Tiger Productions

Global Voices:

Mundiya Kepanga, The Voice of the Forest
Muriel Barra/ LatoSensu productions

Okavango - River of Dreams - Episode 1: Paradise
A Terra Mater Factual Studios / Wildlife Films production in co-production with Thirteen Productions LLC, Doclights/NDR Naturfilm in association with PBS, CPB, Arte France / Unité Découverte et Connaissance, National Geographic Channels and SVT

On the Front Line, The Rangers of Gorongosa National Park
Gorongosa Media

Queen without Land
Artic Light in association with NRK, NDR/Doclights, ORF, France 3, Smithsonian Channel, SVT

Web of Life:

Borneo - Earth´s Ancient Eden
A production of Terra Mater Factual Studios

Epic Animal Migrations: Mexico
Earth Touch, Oscura Producciones Mexico, Smithsonian Channel

Lost Kings of Bioko
Gulo Film Productions for NDR Naturfilm / Doclights, NDR, WDR, ARTE, ORF, Smithsonian Channel, SVT

The Elephant Queen
An Apple Original and A Deeble, Stone and Oliff Production

The Sanctuary: Survival Stories of the Alps
Boreales / Winds, France Televisions, Terra Mater

Short (under 15 minutes):

How to Save Our Planet
Silverback Films

Hunting the Helmeted Hornbill
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Geographic Magazine and Rangkong Indonesia

Nigerians Fight to Protect the World's Most Trafficked Mammal
Coral and Oak Studios, National Geographic

Last Wild Places: Gorongosa
National Geographic Society

MY 25: The Ocean Between Us
Inka Cresswell, University of the West of England - MA Wildlife Filmmaking

(Re)Connecting Wild - Restoring Safe Passage
NineCaribou Productions, LLC

Micro (under 5 minutes):

Pioneer Studios

How to Raise Baby Corals
Exposure Labs, bioGraphic

A @tommustill Film for Gripping Films

Ocean Farmer
Silverback Films

The Story of Cabo Pulmo
Silverback Films

Uncle Elephant
Wild Earth Allies and Emic Films

What is Biodiversity?
Silverback Films

Honorable Mentions, General:

Tree Climbing Lions
Nat Geo Wild

Okavango - River of Dreams - Episode 3: Inferno
A Terra Mater Factual Studios / Wildlife Films production in co-production with Thirteen Productions LLC, Doclights/NDR Naturfilm in association with PBS, CPB, Arte France / Unité Découverte et Connaissance, National Geographic Channels and SVT

Fantastic Fungi
Moving Art, Artemis Rising, Diamond Docs

Walking Thunder
Last Stand Films

Produced for Discovery by RadicalMedia

Wildlife Pictures Institute

Honorable Mentions, Short:

Beyond The Fence
Tessa Barlin in association with the Nature, Environment & Wildlife Filmmakers Congress (NEWF)

Sounds of Survival
Katie Garrett, bioGraphic

1 MILLION Species Could Go Extinct... Here’s Why. | It’s Okay to Be Smart
Spotzen, PBS Digital Studios

The Flying Gold of Arabuko
John Davies, National Film and Television School

Mexico City and its Sacred Salamanders
Katie Garrett, bioGraphic

The Firefox Guardian
Gunjan Menon, University of the West of England

Mud, Sweat, and Fears: Episode 2 of 'Last Call for the Bayou'
Encompass Films

Where Life Begins
Coral and Oak Studios, The Wilderness Society

Honorable Mentions, Short:

Ay Santa Ana
Pongo Media

Gajah Borneo
Shervin Hess, Oregon Zoo

Meet The Real Wolf
Grizzly Creek Films

Spider Monkey for Sale
An Ateles Films production by Michael Sanderson and Ana Luísa Santos

A Constituency for Conservation | Ndoki at 25
Wildlife Conservation Society

Second Chances
Eilidh Munro

The Birdman of Chorao
Shashank Bhosale

The Burrowers
Yasmine Ellis

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

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

United Nations Environment Programme, Keisha Rukikaire, +254 722 677747, [email protected]

United Nations Development Programme, Sangita Khadka, +212906 5043, [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 36,000 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 Jackson Wild

Jackson Wild’s programs promote public awareness and stewardship of wildlife and wildlife habitat through the innovative use of media. For over 28 years, the Jackson Wild Summit has grown a reputation for hosting an extraordinary convening of scientists, conservationists, innovators and media where collaboration and innovation thrive, ideas are launched, and strategic partnerships are forged as participants work together to address critical conservation and environmental challenges facing our planet. The 2020 Jackson Wild Summit will be hosted in Austria:  28 Sept-2 Oct. in the famous Neusiedler See - Seewinkel National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

About the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

About UNDP

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in nearly 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.

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.