Wildscreen Festival Goes Online for 20th Anniversary Edition Due to Coronavirus

Tim Dams

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The Wildscreen Festival, the world’s leading natural history TV and film event, is to take place online for its 20th anniversary edition this October.

The biennial festival has become the latest in a long line of events to go virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Wildscreen is based in Bristol, a city in England’s southwest nicknamed ‘Green Hollywood’ because it produces more natural history film and TV than any other city in the world.

The online edition of the festival, already slated for Oct. 19-23, will include keynotes, masterclasses, sessions, commissioner meetings, film premieres and screenings with director interviews, and a new program of one-to-one meetings.

Over 300 films will also be available over a three-month period between September to December, which will then be accompanied by industry content released during the festival week.

The week will also feature a virtual version of the global wildlife film and TV industry’s Wildscreen Panda Awards, held Oct. 22.

Sky’s group chief executive Jeremy Darroch has been confirmed as a keynote speaker at this year’s festival. This week, the broadcaster launched three factual channels, including Sky Nature which is dedicated to natural history programming.

BBC Studios was also announced Thursday as principal sponsor of the festival.

Wildscreen patron David Attenborough said: “Never has communicating the threats facing our natural world and the bold solutions required to protect and restore it been so vital. Wildscreen, with its convening power is uniquely placed to support and challenge those who can tell the stories the world needs to hear and see.”

Martha Holmes, Wildscreen Festival advisory board chair and head of natural history at Plimsoll Productions, said: “Our vision for a virtual Wildscreen Festival in October 2020 not only reflects the times we are living in but opens our community up to more creators, bigger audiences and more buyers, enabling the Festival to reach them in their homes, offices and field stations.”

Lucie Muir, CEO of Wildscreen, added: “We already had plans for live-streamed content and networking events hosted in global hubs beyond Bristol during the 2020 Wildscreen Festival to reduce the environmental impact of the event and bolster greater access and inclusion across the industry. The pandemic has accelerated and focused us on those ambitions and gives us the opportunity to be bold and reimagine what a future Wildscreen Festival and industry could look like.”

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