“We want this to be the children’s film festival, we want to be the first-putter’s film festival, we want to be the down-home film festival, we want to be the scientifically accurate film festival.” - Chuck Jonkel, IWFF Founder

Festival Dates: April 17-23, 2021

Every spring, this annual event draws industry, filmmakers, scientists, conservationists, and audiences to the heart of the Rockies for this long-standing Missoula tradition. Through diverse programming and community events, IWFF celebrates ethical wildlife and environmental filmmaking as well as emerging filmmakers.

Filmmakers can expect lively Q&A’s after every screening, engaging day-time programming including panels, dialogues and networking opportunities with top-notch filmmakers, fresh media makers and scientists working on the brink of discovery. The festival also hosts IWFF LABS, a highly competitive science-driven filmmaking intensive.

Films screen to packed theaters full of sharp audiences that want to learn more about themselves and the world we live in. IWFF is centered around stories that promote awareness, knowledge and an understanding of science, wildlife, and the humans that impact our world every day.

Founded in 1977 at the University of Montana IWFF is the first and longest-running event of its kind. In 2002, the festival purchased the historic Roxy Theater as its home. In 2013 The Roxy launched its year-round screening series and began extensive collaboration with the university, businesses, and community, serving a diverse, all-ages population with broad programming. A unique historic venue with incredible resources, The Roxy houses three cinema screens with HD projection, 35mm projection, state-of-the-art sound systems, two stages and amenities ideal for conferences, film festivals, and educational events. IWFF embraces its home inside The Roxy Theater and as the heart of the Missoula community.

Semifinalists will be announced for each category when the full lineup is announced.

Ultimately finalist films for each category are selected by the final jury and will receive awards at the close of the festival. Best of Festival, an Audience Award, and the Chuck Jonkel Legacy Award will also be honored at the Awards Ceremony.

Films eligible for the International Wildlife Film Festival's juried competition must have a central focus on non-domesticated wildlife species, natural habitats, or conservation. The jury’s chief concerns are scientific accuracy, ethical decisions made during production, and demonstrated efforts toward the betterment of our natural world. IWFF’s judging process prioritizes a robust representation of perspectives in every category. IWFF highlights both the best of this long-lasting genre as well as alternative approaches to storytelling.

Film entries must also match the following criteria:
Entries must have a release date, copyright date or air date after 2019.

For public screenings during the festival, please be prepared to submit a DCP, Blu-ray Disc, H264 or .mov file.

Filmmakers must submit 1 viewing copy per entry, preferably online.

Non-English language productions must include an English voiceover or subtitles.

The 44th International Wildlife Film Festival will be April 17-23, 2021.

Please preview your entries before submitting. Programs with time code, broken links or other defects may be disqualified. No refunds.

Overall Rating
  • Susan Scott

    We screened at a lot of festivals around the globe and this was undoubtedly our best in terms of communication! We could not attend but the festival team were fantastic in their comms with us and after the screening, the audience engaged directly with us which was awesome! It's not often that there is follow-up after a festival and IWFF were fantastic with that.
    An A+ festival and we will definitely be entering all our future films into IWFF and hopefully we get selected and can attend! Highly recommend this film festival!

    July 2020
  • Frederik Wolff

    This festival is brilliant! It offers everything from a super strong line-up of inspiring films, large and engaging audiences, a warm and casual atmosphere with lots of good networking opportunities, to even a Wildwalk parade in the streets of Missoula! And not to forget - a really hard working, creative and supportive staff! A festival that leaves you full of inspiration and with many new friends in the industry. I hope to return in the future!

    May 2019
  • allison argo

    This festival is an absolute gem! It's a great combination of filmmakers from around the world and the public. The staff is creative, warm and supportive, the choice of films is topnotch, and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun. There's plenty of time get to know your fellow filmmakers, which is precious. I feel I've made friends for life and am looking forward to new collaborations. I will definitely return to IWFF in years to come!

    April 2019
  • Karen Hall

    Wonderful event. Met lots of inspiring people and the educational seminars were great. Everyone was very supportive. As a first time film producer this was wonderful.

    May 2018
  • Dusty Hulet

    Exceeded all expectations. Over nine days we made important connections with industry leaders and mentors in casual, low-stress settings conducive to the formation of lasting relationships. The impressively open sharing of industry insights left us with an entirely new perspective on the possibilities of global distribution for our film. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have attended this festival prior to taking our film to market. Don't miss the chance to promote your film in front of the whole community during the opening parade!

    April 2018