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 third film festival will take place in Autumn 2021 at the Oxford Museum of Natural History (date 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 Underwater
- Life on Land
- Beyond Boundaries

Shortlisted films and winners of our first edition can be found here: and of our second edition here:


- Malaika Vaz is a National Geographic Explorer, TV Presenter and wildlife filmmaker from India. She hosts, directs and produces documentaries focused on the environment for networks like Nat Geo Wild, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Al Jazeera. Malaika is the co-founder of Untamed Planet, a documentary production house aimed at bringing conservation programming onto mainstream television globally.

Her recent TV series on the community-led conservation of Big Cats in India titled 'Living with Predators' is airing on Nat Geo Wild and Disney+. She is passionate about documenting transnational wildlife crime, and has been investigating the illicit trade pipeline in Manta Rays from India to China for the last 3 years, and filming the nexus between captive elephant tourism and trafficking.

Over the past few months, Malaika has documented the impact of the pandemic on migrant communities in India with a film supported by National Geographic's COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists and reported on bat conservation world for Al Jazeera's award-winning environmental TV series Earthrise.

- Chris Renaud: With over 20 years of experience in film and television production, Director and Producer Chris Renaud has established himself as one of the most prolific and consistent talents in the world of animation following the phenomenal box office success of movies such as Despicable Me (2010), Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax (2012) and Despicable Me 2 (2013). Along with Pierre Coffin and Eric Guillon, he also co-created the iconic yellow Minion characters featured in the Despicable Me films and the global smash Minions (2015).

He went on to direct The Secret Life of Pets (2016) which debuted in the United States to $104M, breaking the weekend opening record for any film based on an original concept. His work has been nominated twice for both the British and American Academy Film Awards.

- Lizzie Daly is a Welsh wildlife biologist, broadcaster, filmmaker and conservationist and a Teaching and Outreach Fellow at Swansea University.

Lizzie has worked as a presenter on Cbeebies, CBBC, National Geographic, BBC Two, Animal Planet and BBC Earth. In 2018 Lizzie hosted the renowned Panda awards at WildScreen. In addition to broadcasting work, Lizzie continues to publish her own wildlife films on @LizzieDalyWildlifeTV. Lizzie is also very proud to be an academic teaching and outreach fellow at Swansea University and aims to continue to push boundaries when building the bridge between scientific understanding and reaching wider audiences.

With a lifelong passion to conserve elephants, Lizzie has always had a research interest in elephant behaviour in order to better understand elephant movements across a changing landscape. She is studying her PhD at Swansea University studying African elephant movements. Lizzie is a conservationist with a fierce passion to care for our oceans and protect our wild spaces. She is an ambassador for Orca, the Marine Conservation Society, the Jane Goodall Institute UK and an ambassador for Norwich Science Festival.

- Luke Massey has been taking photos ever since he started stealing his sister’s camera when he was 12, taking it along with him on his nature walks. Being able to show people that the azure dot on the screen was indeed a kingfisher, instead of just telling them about it, sparked his passion for storytelling through imagery.

From the Spanish mountains searching for the Iberian lynx, to the backstreets of Delhi photographing black kites. Luke loves experiencing different cultures & places, meeting the people on the ground making a difference and living alongside incredible species. Luke hopes his work can be used as a tool to educate and inspire, showing people species close to home and further afield.

1h to 1h30 mentoring sessions with experts!

- People & Nature Mentor: Tom Mustill is a Producer, Director and Writer specialising in stories of where people and nature meet. His work with David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, Stephen Fry and conservation and science heroes across the globe have won over 30 international awards, including two Webbys, a Wildscreen Panda, three Jackson Wild Awards and been nominated for a Primetime Emmy. He directed on the blockbuster Inside Nature’s Giants series which won a BAFTA, Royal Television Society and Broadcast award, as well as the ZSL Award for Communicating Zoology. He also co-hosts the podcast: SO HOT RIGHT NOW, with his friend the environmental journalist Lucy Siegle.

- Life on Earth Mentor: Anne Sommerfield is a multi-award winning Irish Wildlife Filmmaker whose documentaries have achieved massive global audiences on the BBC, National Geographic, Netflix, Discovery and beyond. Specialising in Natural History for the last 16 years, Anne's work on the Emmy Nominated "Meerkat Manor" was credited with changing the landscape of natural history storytelling. More recently her landmark series "Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough" drew both critical and environmental acclaim and was screened for world leaders at the Paris Summit on Climate Change. Her passion for wildlife conservation and behavioural ecology has taken her to some of the most remote and remarkable places on the planet.

- Animation Mentor: Alli Sadegiani is a Swedish award-winning artist whose portfolio spans over multiple mediums and decades. As a character animator, he has contributed to critically acclaimed and Academy Award-winning blockbusters at Walt Disney Animation, DreamWorks, and Pixar Animation Studios. Staying close to his roots as an independent filmmaker he delves into human, social and universal conditions and is best recognized by striving to break the mold in an effort to entice and engage the audience.

Students Mentor: Akanksha Sood is among India's premiere multi-award-winning natural history filmmakers. She is known for her extreme passion and brilliant story-telling. With two decades of work experience that covers the range and breadth of film production, she has been documenting some of the rarest and endangered species across India. Her films have been televised across the globe, not just for the strong stories and breathtaking visuals, but also for the empathy her work has created towards the natural world and exposed the need for conservation. Among the 250+ awards and nominations, she has won three National Film Awards given by the President of India, a UN Film Award, and recently, the Diversity Leadership Award by the World Congress of Factual Producers. She is also one of the Jurors for the International Emmy ® Awards – Documentary category and a part of the Advisory Group to Jackson Wild.

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 Julia Migné 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 2018 to be considered for the 2021 Conservation Optimism Short Film Festival.


Please keep track of the deadline closely and note that all short films must be submitted by 11:59pm GMT on May 31st 2021.


All works selected must be available by May 31st 2021 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 2021 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
  • 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
  • Serge Dentin

    Great festival! Very pleasant exchanges with the team, nice program. We just regret not being able to attend :( Another time, we hope!

    September 2019
  • Fiona McAndrew

    Although I wasn't able to attend the festival I followed some of it online and found the speakers and other films inspiring. Communication was effective with quick responses, it looks like it is a very well organised festival. I hope to be a part of it again in the future :)

    September 2019