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Wildscreen Festival 2020

Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam 2020 Nominees Announced!
By Jason Peters
7 October 2020

WFFR is delighted to announce the complete list of nominees selected for the WFFR 2020 Flamingo Awards. All winners will be announced during the online Flamingo Award Ceremony on Saturday the 31st of October 2020.

The Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam (WFFR) is the only film festival for nature documentaries in the Netherlands and shows the most recent films from home and abroad. Since its first edition in 2015, WFFR has been taking place in the Rotterdam film theatre Cinerama, which was also the vibrant heart of the festival this year. The programme consists of beautiful documentaries showing the beauty of nature, as well as films showing the relationship between man and nature. This year, due to COVID-19, the festival will be held virtually.

Best Film:

Okavango River of Dreams - Paradise - Trailer

Okavango River of Dreams – Paradise
Dereck & Beverly Joubert

In the area surrounding the massive Okavango river in Botswana live all kinds of wild animals: elephants, birds, hippos, crocodiles and… lions! This film features the amazing story of Fekeetsa, a lioness that was severly injured by a buffalo and left badly handicapped. After her pride has left her for dead, she has to survive in the swamp alone – and to hunt, to feed her little cubs. The film ends with the spectacular wildfires that ignite the peat bog deep underground and burn for decades, making the landscape disappear under thick blankets of smoke.

On Thin Ice - Trailer

On Thin Ice
Henry M. Mix & Boas Schwarz (Altayfilm GmbH)


Northern Russia is in trouble. Enormous layers of permafrost are thawing out and revealing remains of the ancient Siberian megafauna. Hundreds of scary looking holes are blasting off from the deep exhaling methane, which has 80 times stronger greenhouse effects than carbon dioxide.The life of arctic reindeer herders, barely changed for thousands of years, is under pressure. Their livelihoods are virtually melting away. In the Russian Arctic, climate change is not a question anymore. Scientists say that the tipping point was reached already years ago. Now, Pandora’s box has been opened. The fate of people and wildlife is at stake as is the entire Arctic.

Seven Worlds One Planet: South America - Trailer

Seven Worlds One Planet - South America
Chadden Hunter, BBC Studios

South America – the most species rich continent on Earth. From the volcanoes of the Andes to the world’s largest rainforest the Amazon: animals here must specialise to carve out a niche. In Patagonia, a puma mother draws on a lifetime’s experience to catch prey three times her weight. In the cloud forest, rarely seen Andean bears clamber thirty metres into the canopy to find elusive fruit. Poison dart frogs use ingenious methods to keep their tadpoles safe, whilst anacondas stalk capuchin monkeys. At Igauzu, swifts make death-defying flights through one of the biggest waterfalls on Earth.

Sockeye Salmon: Red Fish - Trailer

Sockeye Salmon Red Fish
Dmitriy Shpilenok, Vladislav Grishin, Petr Shpilenok & Anna Sukhova

The sockeye, a species of wild salmon, is born in Kamchatkan waters and spends its entire life in the Pacific Ocean. Only once does it return to fresh waters – to give offspring, start the circle of life, and die. These salmons form an inexhaustible resource that feeds billions of people on the planet, a resource that is restored every single year. But soon, we may find ourselves facing the unimaginable: humans will exhaust the inexhaustible…

Best Short:

How to Save Our Planet

How to Save Our Planet
Jonnie Hughes, Colin Butfield & Keith Scholey

How do we create a future in which both people and nature can thrive? This is the biggest question of our times.   In the next few decades, we need to do something unprecedented: achieve a sustainable existence on Earth. But how do we do it? We can start by understanding how we got to this point… In this film, Sir David Attenborough explains how we humans can take charge of our future and save our planet, in only 8.5 minutes!

Nigerians Fight to Protect the World's Most Trafficked Mammal - Trailer

Nigerians Fight to Protect the World's Most Trafficked Mammal
Katie Schuler

Pangolins are believed to be the most trafficked mammals in the world. As the four Asian species of pangolins have dwindled, poachers are increasingly turning to the African species to supply the trade. In this short film, meet the bold Nigerians who are fighting to protect this gentle and vulnerable creature.

Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam 2020 Nominees Announced - Winter Lake

Winter Lake
John Clay, Colin Butfield & Keith Scholey

“My friends can’t believe I go camping in winter. They think it’s crazy!” But 13­year­old Emika loves it. It’s just as beautiful as in summertime, she thinks. “You just need a good tent and sleeping bag, and warm clothes.” Every school vacation she and her cousin Antti, who is kind of like a big brother to Emika, go to the vast Saimaa Lake, an amazing nature reserve in Finland with thousands of islands.

Green Impact:

The Hole - Trailer

The Hole
Jamie Lochhead, Charlotte Hunt-Grubbe

‘The Hole: Apocalypse Avoided’ tells the remarkable story of the hole in the ozone layer – and how the world managed to fix it. The film reveals how scientists spotted the giant hole in the stratosphere and persuaded Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – two of the most unlikely eco-warriors in history – to take action. Had they not acted, humans would’ve been forced to hide from daylight and become a nocturnal species. Human actions solved the first great man-made threat to the planet’s environment. As climate change begins to feel like an impossible challenge, the forgotten tale of the hole in the ozone layer offers a timely message of hope.

Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam 2020 Nominees Announced - How to Save Our Planet

How to Save Our Planet

Jonnie Hughes, Colin Butfield & Keith Scholey

Ever Slow Green - Trailer

Ever Slow Green
Christoph Pohl

Fifty years ago, a unique afforestation project took root on an eroded desert plateau in Tamil Nadu, South India, when people from diverse countries came together to establish the international experimental township of Auroville. Today, the lush Auroville forest is an outstanding example of eco-restoration that recreates and preserves a type of tropical forest that is on the verge of extinction. Ever Slow Green tells the story of Auroville’s 50-years-young forest through some of the diverse characters who have dedicated their lives to bringing it to fruition.  

Animal Behaviour:

700 Sharks - Trailer

700 Sharks
Luc Marescot

Dive into a feeding frenzy of 700 sharks in Polynesia, the largest concentration of sharks in the world. Filmed with very ambitious camera gear, this documentary reveals unprecedented social behavior of sharks. The film demonstrates that, contrary to what science said up to now, sharks do not hunt alone. They are actually organized animals with a leader, have strategies and collaborate among one another: an organization that resembles a pack of wolves or lions. Discover incredible scenes of hunting, in which fifty sharks team up to capture one fish, and in which prey sometimes manages to outsmart sharks.

Panda - Trailer (familiefilm)

Panda Goes Wild

Jacky Poon & Yuan Qi Wu, Mark Fletcher

We know pandas almost entirely from zoos, and little about their behaviour in the wild. Yet, if they are to survive, it’s important to learn. For three years, award-winning cameraman Jacky Poon and his team have had unprecedented access to the Qin Mountains and the Woolong Panda breeding centre. In the centre, we follow a young panda from birth, that is later selected to return to the wild. The keepers have to teach him how to cope: dressing up as pandas and training him to fear leopards, bears and people. In a final climax, the team journeys deep into the snowy forest to find the panda, six months after his release. 

My Octopus Teacher - Trailer

My Octopus Teacher
Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed & Craig Foster
South Africa

After years of swimming every day in the freezing ocean of South-Africa, Craig Foster meets an unlikely teacher: a young octopus who displays remarkable curiosity. Visiting her and tracking her movements for months he eventually wins the animal’s trust and they develop a never-before-seen bond between human and wild animal. As the little octopus shares the secrets of her world, Craig also undertakes an incredible transformation: his body becomes immune to the cold and every breath can last minutes. The octopus shows him things that have never been recorded on film and ultimately redefines Craig’s understanding of the creatures we share our world with.  


The Pollinators - Trailer

The Pollinators
Peter Nelson, Sally Roy, Michael Reuter

The Pollinators is a cinematic journey around the United States following migratory beekeepers and their truckloads of honey bees as they pollinate the flowers that become the fruits, nuts and vegetables we all eat. The many challenges the beekeepers and their bees face en route reveal flaws to our simplified chemically dependent agriculture system. We talk to farmers, scientists, chefs and academics along the way to give a broad perspective about the threats to honey bees, what it means to our food security and how we can improve it.

Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam 2020 Nominees Announced - On Thin Ice

On Thin Ice
Henry M. Mix & Boas Schwarz (Altayfilm GmbH)


The Kingdom: How fungi made our world - Trailer

The Kingdom: How fungi made our world
Annamaria Talas & Simon Nasht, Anne Pick, Susan Mackinnon, Bill Spahic

Since the dawn of life, fungi have driven evolution and ruled all life on land, making them both powerful allies and, given the chance, formidable foes. The Kingdom of Fungi is an alien world with the largest and oldest organisms alive. Fungi made life possible on a barren planet and brought life back to Earth after the last mass extinction. By looking at fungi in the context of evolution and natural history, scientists are making discoveries that will change our lives. Some fungi will save us, others will threaten us and we are just beginning to understand which is which.

Van Lawick Conservation:

Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam 2020 Nominees Announced - Sockeye Salmon Red Fish

Sockeye Salmon Red Fish
Dmitriy Shpilenok, Vladislav Grishin, Petr Shpilenok & Anna Sukhova

The Tiger Mafia - Trailer

The Tiger Mafia
Karl Ammann, Laurin Merz

The magnificent tiger is one of the world’s most beloved, and threatened creatures. Filmmaker Karl Ammann uncovers the illegal breeding in secret South East Asian tiger farms. His nine-year investigation exposes how body parts are harvested from both alive and butchered tigers, and then traded for sale in China’s underground pharmaceutical and jewelry industries.

Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam 2020 Nominees Announced - How to Save Our Planet

How to Save Our Planet

Jonnie Hughes, Colin Butfield & Keith Scholey

People & Nature:

Our Gorongosa - Trailer

Our Gorongosa
Jared Lipworth, James Byrne, Gráinne Keegan, Carla Rebai

Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique has become one of Africa’s most celebrated wildlife restoration stories. After a decade of renewed protection, Gorongosa’s large mammal population has increased tenfold to over 100,000 animals. But the Park must also find a way to co-exist with the 200,000 people living in surrounding communities. Dominique Gonçalves, a young African elephant ecologist shares the inspiring story of how Gorongosa is becoming a new model for wildlife conservation and community development.

Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam 2020 Nominees Announced - Nigerians Fight to Protect the World's Most Trafficked Mammal

Nigerians Fight to Protect the World's Most Trafficked Mammal
Katie Schuler

Ghost of the Silverback - Trailer

Ghost of the Silverback
Richard Slater-Jones
South Africa

An elusive species of gorilla roams the deep forests of Gabon, West Africa. Their leader is a silverback called “Musiru”, distinguished by his rusty red forehead. These aren’t the famous mountain gorillas of East Africa made famous by Dian Fossey – they’re the western lowland variety seldom seen by humans. Gabon’s gorillas have survived logging, poaching and even the Ebola virus, and now the future of the region’s wildlife conservation could be resting on their shoulders. This film reveals the work of Smithsonian scientists as they attempt to habituate these rarely seen primates and increase ecotourism in Moukalaba-Doudou National Park.


Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam 2020 Nominees Announced - Winter Lake

Winter Lake
John Clay, Colin Butfield & Keith Scholey

Gajah Borneo - Trailer

Gajah Borneo
Shervin Hess

Inspired by real events, the story of a Borneo pygmy elephant calf in a land ruled by palm oil comes to life in a stop motion world made out of recycled paper. We see an elephant family fleeing time and again from palm oil farmers. During one of their escape attempts, the elephant calf is separated from its parents. He is left sad and alone until help suddenly appears …

Spy in the Wild - Trailer

Spy in the Wild – The Tropics
John Downer, Matthew Gordon, Philip Dalton, Robert Pilley

Special Spy Creatures investigate the extraordinary wildlife that thrives in the tropics and the events and gatherings that happen across the year. This team of hyper-real Spy Creatures not only look like the animals they film, they behave like them too. Accepted by the families, these robotic look-alikes can not only film from an intimate perspective, they also interact with the animals and so gain revelatory insights into their worlds. See the world through the eyes of Spy Dolphin, Spy Monkey and Spy Jaguar Cub and experience wildlife like you never have before.


Wild Karnataka - Trailer

Wild Karnataka
Amoghavarsha J S

Wild Karnataka is a factual entertainment film, made to showcase the fabulous flora and fauna of Indian southern state Karnataka. The film is India’s first blue-chip natural history movie and is narrated by David Attenborough. Karnataka is the state with the highest number of tigers and elephants in India. The film covers every single habitat across four years to document and celebrate the spectacular diversity of a single Indian state. Using not just aerial, but also hidden cameras, Wild Karnataka reveals some of the most intimate moments of natural history.

Painted Ladies - Trailer

Painted Ladies
Megan Brown

One of nature’s most extraordinary journeys begins with a tiny blue egg. This film will take you on a journey with the creature inside this blue egg as it undergoes the most mysterious transformation found in nature; metamorphosis. Extraordinary timelapses show the forming of the wings inside the chrysalice, along with the development of the colours. What was once a caterpillar now emerges as a new creature: the beautiful painted lady butterfly.

Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam 2020 Nominees Announced - Beyond the Fence

Beyond the Fence

Tessa Barlin, Harry Constantine
South Africa

Beyond The Fence is a short documentary that explores a positive solution to the conservation crisis that South Africa faces. It looks at the power of photography in engaging young people from rural communities in wildlife conservation. Set in rural South Africa, where most people have never had the opportunity to experience wildlife, Queen, Rifumo and Wisani emerge as three young eco-warriors. Armed with a camera, the trio aim to rise above their difficult pasts and “reframe” the narrative of wildlife conservation, which has long since had a reputation for being white dominated. The three have one goal – to inspire the youth from their community to protect our natural heritage.

Congratulations to all nominees!!

Visit the website with the full list of nominees here: wffr.nl/nominees-2020

Follow: facebook.com/wildlifefilmfestivalrotterdam & twitter.com/wffr_nl + instagram.com/wildlifefilmfestivalrotterdam

Wildlife Film Festival Rotterdam 2020


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