Wildlife film and TV Festival, Wildscreen, has opened its call for entries for its Panda Awards and Official Selection film competitions. 

This year’s Panda Awards will include two new categories, the first being a Special Recognition Award for Field Craft, which will highlight the critical role of local in-country field crew within the natural history genre. Nominated and judged by industry peers, the award will celebrate individuals such as field guides, drivers and local conservationists who have made a significant contribution to the industry spanning a number of years and productions.    

This builds on the legacy of Wildscreen Festival Nairobi, a two-day event which took place in 2023, bringing talent and storytellers from across the globe to Kenya’s capital as part of the organisation’s mission to build a more inclusive industry.   

There will also be a Children’s Award sponsored by Wildscreen ARK, a new online nature hub for young people, which the charity launches next month. 

Lucie Muir, CEO of Wildscreen, said: “Since 1982, the Panda Awards have celebrated the human endeavour, commitment and unique skill that it takes to connect nature’s stories with global audiences. Biodiversity loss and climate change are the greatest environmental crises of our time, with the documentary genre never being more important or needed.” 

The 2024 competition comprises 14 categories, with all films nominated across the 14 categories being eligible for the Golden Panda Award, with previous winners including My Garden of a Thousand Bees (2022) and My Octopus Teacher (2020). Nominees will be announced in the Summer, with the winners announced at the Wildscreen Panda Awards Ceremony which will be held in Bristol on 17 October 2024.  

Now in its third year, the Official Selection competition acts as a global launchpad for new voices, original stories and vital messages.  

The 2022 edition of the Official Selection competition featured 32 productions ranging from feature-films, shorts and immersive productions and originating from 16 countries. Over 50% of the Directors identified as an underrepresented group in the industry. Curated by a team of international programmers, the stories will be screened as part of the Wildscreen Festival in October. Cash prizes of £3,000 are available.   

The 2024 edition of the Festival takes place from the 14-18 October 2024 in Bristol and via a virtual platform.

Jon Creamer

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