Festival Dates: April 17-May 15, 2021

To filmmakers -
The 43rd International Wildlife Film Festival held in 2020 was like no other before it. The festival pivoted in 3-weeks to execute one of the first virtual film festivals in the industry this past April. We sold passes in 47 states and 27 other countries. The festival was met with joy, collective fervor, and a grateful enthusiasm. The 2020 filmmakers connected with our audiences at a time where connections were rare and the unknown loomed large. Our mailing list doubled in size and IWFF embraced the virtual landscape eager to honor filmmakers and bring creative and important content to the world.

2021 will demonstrate the same level of innovation and success. There will be a virtual catalog hybrid screening opportunities for outdoor installations, IWFF at The Roxy's Centerfield Cinema (a partnership with Missoula Paddleheads bringing films to hundreds of people in an outdoor and safe space - the ballpark!), intimate screenings in the new Roxy Movie Garden, and more. Never fear - our team is creative and fearless and this festival will be unique.

We recognize this year presents unique challenges to screening your creative work. In order to acknowledge the difficulties facing the industry and its filmmakers, we have lowered our festival submission fees. We also recognize the impact presenting the festival in a virtual environment rather than in our quirky Roxy Theater will have on our staff and our operations and in that spirit, all submissions fees this year will go directly to supporting our staff and our dear home, The Roxy.

If your film cannot be shown virtually - we suggest holding off on the submission as this is a festival requirement of all 2021 selections. We will be accepting fewer selections in order to give the films we show in 2021 the most positive and attentive experiences.
We look forward to hearing from our filmmaker friends but also new voices whose view needs more representation in this industry. Thank you for sharing your unique perspective on our natural world with our 2021 judging panel. We are looking forward to curating a distinctive and immersive experience for the 2021 International Wildlife Film Festival.

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

Finalist films for each category are selected by the final jury during the festival. Finalists will receive awards at the close of the festival or in the mail. Best of Festival, an Audience Award, and the Chuck Jonkel Legacy Award will also be honored annually.

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.
Entries must be permitted to stream virtually - at the very least to a Montana audience, audience caps are negotiable.

Please be prepared to submit a file for streaming and possibly a separate file for appropriate projection. Our Technical Director will be in touch.

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- May 15, 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