This year’s Wildscreen Festival will hear from James Cameron, Darren Aronofsky, Christiana Figueres and Wildscreen’s patron, Sir David Attenborough.

The headline speakers will join those already confirmed, including broadcaster Liz Bonnin speaking with Tom McDonald, Executive Vice President of Global Factual, Unscripted Content, National Geographic Content about innovation in natural history storytelling.

The natural world storytelling event features worldwide film premieres, talks from industry figureheads, photography exhibitions and public screenings. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, this year will be a hybrid event, available in person and virtually, taking place from 10th to 14th October in Bristol UK.

Oscar-nominated director, writer, and producer Darren Aronofsky, recently celebrated for his work on Nutopia’s Welcome to Earth, will explore new ways to tell stories in natural history during a live fireside chat.

Oscar-winning director and National Geographic Explorer at Large, James Cameron, known for his visionary films such as Titanic and Avatar, will explore the future of wildlife storytelling and how inspiration from other genres can create powerful and emotive environmental narratives, in a pre-recorded intimate conversation.

Internationally recognised leader and previous executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres will deliver a pre-recorded keynote exploring the solutions needed to fight the climate and biodiversity crises.

Iconic broadcaster and patron of Wildscreen Sir David Attenborough will open the event to celebrate the Festival’s 40-year legacy via pre-recorded special message.

Lucie Muir, ceo of Wildscreen, said: “We’ve been making huge efforts towards securing the lineup for our landmark 40th anniversary, which we believe to be our strongest yet. Celebrating the very best in natural world storytelling, delegates will get a chance to hear from the industry’s most groundbreaking speakers across politics, the arts, content and activism, with numerous opportunities for the public to also be part of the event including opportunities to attend exclusive film screenings and photography exhibitions.

“This also comes at a time of expansion for Wildscreen as we launch new Global Hubs in South Africa, Kenya and India, helping us to connect further with changemakers from across the world.”

The introduction of the Festival Global Hubs will offer the opportunity for storytellers and change makers based in global natural history content hotspots to be part of the Festival. Headline Festival Sponsor, BBC Studios Natural History Unit, is supporting the Nairobi hub, Principal Sponsor Save our Seas Foundation is supporting the Cape Town edition, with our final hub based in Bangalore, India.

Jonny Keeling, Head of BBC Studios Natural History Unit, Headline Sponsors of Wildscreen said “The NHU is committed to building a more sustainable and inclusive wildlife film industry – it’s critical for telling the most impactful stories, stories that will inspire a global audience to love and protect the natural world.

“Supporting Wildscreen Festival as the Headline Sponsor marks our commitment to activating change and encouraging action.

“We are looking forward to opening our doors, connecting with new people and showcasing a diverse range of career paths in wildlife filmmaking.”

This content joins previously announced British Musician Imogen Heap, who will discuss her passion for the environment and how she has combined this with her music career.  US Drag Queen Pattie Gonia will deliver a virtual keynote regarding their mission to build an inclusive outdoor community and climate action. Finally, Leader of the Indigenous Brazilian Borari community and Amazon Forest Defender Chief Dada will share an exclusive screening of his film with Pope Francis, The Letter: A Message to our Earth.

This year’s Festival will feature exclusive film premieres and screenings, including:

Frozen Planet II, Episode 6 (Industry premiere)

Lynx (UK Premiere)

My Garden of a Thousand Bees

Jaguaretê (International Premiere)

Panteras (UK Premiere)

Mother of the Sea & Miwene (European Premiere)

I Am Capable & Exposure (World Premiere)

for this year, all tickets automatically have a small carbon offsetting fee included to help reduce the carbon impact of the festival.

Pippa Considine

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