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The Firefox Guardian

Red Panda numbers are dangerously decreasing and there could be less than 2500 red pandas left in the wild.

But an unconventional warrior has devoted her life to fight all forces that are against her and her beloved Red Pandas.

The Firefox Guardian takes you on a mesmerizing journey through dense bamboo jungles in Nepal while exploring a special bond between the unique ‘Firefoxes’ and Menuka, an indigenous village girl.

In this twelve-minute story, we follow Menuka, the first female forest guardian working with the Red Panda Network, as she tries to find a Panda juvenile to see if last season’s wild Panda reproduction was successful.

This film provides a unique window into the lives of the Forest Guardians and through their eyes, the life of the rarely documented endangered Red Pandas in the wild.

  • Gunjan Menon
  • Gunjan Menon
  • Emma Butterworth
    Original Music
  • Gunjan Menon
  • Daryl Fernandes
  • Gunjan Menon
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Nature, wildlife, conservation, environmental, activism, women, feminism, endangered, humans and wildlife
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 10, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    4,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Nepal, United Kingdom
  • Language:
    English, Nepali
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital - fullHD+4K
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - The University of the West of England, Bristol
  • Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
    New York
    United States
    October 20, 2018
    Official Selection
  • Virgin Spring Cinefest
    October 21, 2018
    Best Student Film
  • Calcutta International Cult Film Festival
    October 15, 2018
  • BAFTA Student Awards, LA
    United States
  • International Wildlife Film Festival
    United States
    April 22, 2018
  • Woodpecker International Film Festival
    New Delhi
    Best Film (Student)
  • Smita Patil International Documentary Film Festival
    Jury Award (Documentary)
  • Best Shorts

    Best Nature Film
  • Independent Shorts Awards

    Best Documentary (Short)
  • Oniros Film Awards

    Best Natural Scenography
  • Miami Independent Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Norwich Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • 11th International Kuala Lumpur Eco Film Festival 2018

    Official Selection
  • Elements International Environmental Film Festival

    Official Selection
  • Barcelona Planet Film Festival

    Best Trailer
  • NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented Youth)

    Official Selection
  • Bristol Independent Film Festival

    Official Selection
Director Biography - Gunjan Menon

Gunjan Menon (she/her) is a National Geographic Explorer and conservation filmmaker from India. She has written, shot and directed films on human-wildlife coexistence, endangered species, wildlife expeditions and is known for her impact-driven storytelling. Over the last nine years, Gunjan has won multiple accolades with over 40 awards and nominations across 15 countries, including the prestigious Jackson Wild Rising Star Award in 2020, a Best Student Film award at the International Wildlife Film Festival and a student BAFTA nomination. Her work has been broadcast on Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Disney+ Hotstar, BBC Earth, Netflix Youtube, Buzzfeed and local Indian platforms. Gunjan holds a Master’s degree in Wildlife Filmmaking from the University of the West of England, Bristol, in partnership with BBC-NHU and during her years in Bristol, she directed and shot the critically acclaimed short film, ‘The Firefox Guardian’ in Nepal, which later became a part of the 3-part series ‘WildLives’. The film still travels to renowned film festivals, colleges and schools, starting a dialogue on ecofeminism, raising funds for red panda conservation worldwide. She works alongside Red Panda Network on outreach activities and anti-poaching campaigns.

Gunjan’s work has taken her to the remotest corners — trekking at 12,000 feet in the Himalayan bamboo forests filming red pandas, traversing rainforests looking for endangered purple frogs and, among others, searching for extremely rare turtles in the mighty Brahmaputra. But sometimes, even telling engaging stories about bats in her backyard makes her happy.

Gunjan is a TEDx Speaker, 'Girls Who Click' partner photographer, and leads workshops and seminars for emerging filmmakers on conservation storytelling and cinematography. She also volunteers as a wildlife rehabber and strives to shift the limelight to lesser-known species and habitats. She authored a book for The Habitats Trust, which highlights grassroots conservationists and frontline warriors in India. Gunjan is the Co-founder and Director of ‘Beyond Premieres’, a non-profit organisation that supports filmmakers to create tangible impact through their art.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

In 2016, I came across an article that said there could be fewer than 2500 red pandas left in the wild. These were my favourite animals and it was something that shook me completely. I was pursuing my Masters in Wildlife Filmmaking in Bristol, UK and it was the time when we had to research ideas for our degree films. I knew in my heart this was what I wanted to bring people's attention to. I've always wanted to film red pandas in the wild but I never had the resources but this time, I decided to finally go ahead with my passion and find a story that would be worth telling. I read about Menuka during my story research and I could resonate with her and wanted to give her story a platform to reach the world. She's an exceptional woman and leaves everyone who meets her inspired. It was challenging to film someone who'd never been on the camera before nor spoke the same language as me but our shared passion for red pandas made it possible to bring the story out to the world.