Wildscreen has launched its first short film fund in partnership with On the Edge, to “catalyse new and creative projects by emerging filmmakers to bring new perspectives and fresh approaches to the natural history filmmaking genre.”

The fund will provide grants of up to £15,000 to 6 emerging filmmakers or teams, to produce “new, innovative, out-of-the-box short films that resonate with GenZ audiences and spotlight Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species and zones.” The fund also aims to elevate emerging storytellers from backgrounds currently underrepresented within natural world storytelling, and platform original storytelling from filmmakers and communities that are “deeply connected to the natural world and EDGE zones.”

Successful filmmakers will also get a “wrap-around” support programme including training and mentoring from leading industry figures in the wildlife and environmental film community to guide them through the filmmaking process.

The final films will be showcased as part of a special screening event at the next Wildscreen Festival 2024.

Dates for the Wildscreen Festival 2024 are also announced today as 14-18 October 2024 in Bristol.

Lucie Muir, Wildscreen CEO said: “We’re so excited to be partnering with On the Edge on this fund and to have the opportunity to move Wildscreen more into the film funding space. Through the Edge of Nature: Short Film Fund, we hope to grow and democratise the global ecosystem of natural world storytelling talent, by shaking up traditional entry points and by disrupting the stories being told and who they are being told by. We’re looking for experimental filmmakers and teams exploring new natural history styles; approaches that push boundaries and break the mould.

“EDGE species and zones are little known with many of their stories untold. We can’t wait to see their stories brought to the mainstream for a GenZ audience whilst supporting unheard voices, new perspectives and narratives.”

Dr Alex Bowmer, Director of Natural History at On the Edge said: ‘This is an exciting opportunity to support emerging filmmakers in Natural History, those who want to tell new stories and change how nature is portrayed on our screens. Not only that, but for the first time, we are casting the spotlight on Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species and spaces, those who receive little to no attention. Think of them as nature’s underdogs, and this fund as the opportunity to tell their stories.

“By partnering with Wildscreen, we will be able to reconnect audiences with nature through authentic and entertaining storytelling. Not only will the species and spaces captured be new to most, but also the means by which they are presented’.

Applications for the fund open today. The deadline for submissions is 5 October 2023. Shortlisted filmmakers will receive pitch training and then pitch to an industry panel led by Wildscreen and On the Edge, in late October, with the recipients announced November 2023.

Jon Creamer

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