Conservation Optimism is built on the belief that empowering everyone to make a difference for nature, while also learning from successes and failures within the conservation sector, is key to securing our planet’s future.

We are calling all filmmakers to send us short films featuring stories of hope from around the globe. Have you been inspired by someone taking action for nature in your community? Have you witnessed some conservation successes? Have you learned from conservation failures? We want to hear from you!

Our fourth film festival will take place in summer 2023 at the Oxford Museum of Natural History (date and judges to be confirmed closer to the time). We will be selecting short films for the following categories:

- Student (email us at stating your current course of study for a fee waiver password)
- Animation
- People & Nature
- Life on Earth

1h to 1h30 mentoring sessions with experts!


“Alli Sadegiani [2021 Mentor] was very generous with his advice and even offered an additional session to show me the ropes with a new animating software which he thought would help advance my work. I found it really enlightening to learn about life as a professional animator and how he was animating the characters in some of my favourite films!” – Lauren Cook, 2021 Overall Winner

“The Film Festival was a great experience! It was useful to be connected to the Conservation Optimism team and have our networks connect in a way that may not otherwise have happened. It was sad that we couldn’t do it in person at a physical event, but the virtual festival worked well and allowed our international audience to be involved as well. Having the mentoring session with Damon Gameau [2020 Mentor] was very useful. We are still in touch and opportunities are still developing from it, which is exciting. I hope to get involved again next year!” – Leo Plunkett, 2020 Conservation Optimism Film Winner

“In the mentoring session, Lucie Muir [2019 Mentor] gave me advice on my films, helped me get work experience on natural history programmes and helped me to make contacts. She is a wonderful person and gave me a great boost in the industry. And to this day, she is still looking out for me. I really could not imagine a better mentor!”- Yaz Ellis, 2019 Winner for Student Film

We strongly encourage you review the following carefully. By submitting your short film, you acknowledge that you have read and agreed to all of the following rules and terms. All short films that have been submitted by our final deadline and that adhere to the following terms will be considered for inclusion in the Good Natured: A Conservation Optimism Short Film Festival.

If you have any further questions, please contact us at


All short films must be uploaded directly to FilmFreeway. We won’t accept DVD or Blu-Ray screeners. In addition, we cannot accept screener links via email, they must be attached to your submission. To be eligible, the short films must be under five minutes and fit within one of our categories.


All foreign-language films must be submitted with English subtitles. If we discover a submission is missing subtitles, we will attempt to email the submitter for an update. Failure to provide working subtitles by the final submission deadline will result in disqualification.


Please review all submission categories carefully before submitting your project. If you believe you have submitted your film to the wrong category, please get in touch with us as soon as possible.

Submission of one film into multiple categories is not allowed but we allow the submissions of up to two films in different categories. Note that only one of your films will be selected so please read our category descriptions carefully to determine where your submission belongs.


All projects must have been completed on or after 2020 to be considered for the 2023 Conservation Optimism Short Film Festival.


Please keep track of the deadline closely and note that all short films must be submitted by the deadline.


All works selected must be available by May 31st 2023 for inclusion in the festival.

Should your short film be accepted in the Good Natured: A Conservation Optimism Short Film Festival, you grant Conservation Optimism the right to utilise a 30 seconds excerpt from any short film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes.

All shortlisted films will screen during the festival and if selected, filmmakers may opt-in so that films will be available to watch online as part of our virtual film festival if the filmmaker opts. All scheduling is purely at the discretion of Conservation Optimism.


Good Natured: A Conservation Optimism Short Film Festival does not pay screening fees for submitted short films. By submitting your project, you acknowledge that Conservation Optimism will not pay to present your work. The shortlisted participants will have to pay for their travel to reach Oxford but won’t have to pay any registration fee to attend the film festival.


By entering your film for consideration to the 2023 Good Natured: A Conservation Optimism Short Film Festival, you authorise that your work is cleared for festival exhibition and accept full legal responsibility for the intellectual property therein. The submitter and all filmmakers associated with the project shall indemnify and hold harmless Conservation Optimism and any representative or affiliates from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.


Conservation Optimism reserves the right to disqualify any submission, even after a film has been invited or final programming has been announced, at the sole discretion of Conservation Optimism staff.

Overall Rating
  • Fabulous festival! The amazing people running this festival communicate well and bring an excellent crowd of people to attend. It's also nice that they have Jury awards, with mentorship for the prize, in addition to audience awards. The location of the screening is excellent and their overall positive message is wonderful! Highly recommend this festival to other filmmakers doing films related to science and conservation.

    July 2022
  • Simon Dures

    Wonderful festival, especially for new and aspiring conservation documentary film makers. It is a real feel good festival, a very refreshing change from the doom and gloom so often associated with conservation. Thoroughly enjoyed both the submission process and the festival.

    November 2021
  • Megan Hockin-Bennett

    What a wonderful collection of people and pieces on show here! Just what we all need. Some positivity! I wasn't able to be there in person but sent some friends along and they has the best time! I was so honoured to have won runner up for people and nature! My only advice, next year make it three times the size! haha! Well done to all involved, really positive forward thinking all round! Contracts to everyone that worked super hard!

    November 2021
  • Beth Francis

    Great festival, really enjoyed it :)

    June 2020
  • They pulled off a great and speedy adaptation to an online format for the coronavirus pandemic. I loved being a part of this, and it was amazing to see all the other films!

    June 2020