Due to the current situation, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel the screening of the films at the Oxford Natural History Museum. However, we will still be running a virtual screening of the shortlisted films on YouTube at 7pm on May 29th!

The films will then be judged by YOU in two categories: ‘Students’ and ‘Conservation Optimism’ and the winners of each category will be entitled to a 1.5-hour mentoring session with a filmmaking expert. Prize-winners will be announced on the day following the screening.

Stay tuned for more updates!

The mentors:

Our winners will get the incredible opportunity to be mentored by a range of experts.

Damon GameauMentor

Damon Gameau is an Australian actor and director. His most recent film is a feature documentary called ‘2040’ which looks at what the world could look like in the year 2040 if we simply embraced the best solutions already available to us to improve our planet and shifted them rapidly into the mainstream. Structured as a visual letter to his four-year-old daughter, Damon blends traditional documentary with dramatised sequences and high-end visual effects to create a vision board of how these solutions could regenerate the world for future generations.

He has authored an accompanying book called ‘2040: A Handbook for the Regeneration”. Both the film and the book provide an entry point into a whole ecosystem of solutions that people can get involved in today. You can visit whatsyour2040.com to join the Regeneration, a movement of people who are mobilising to learn about, contribute to, advocate for and invest in regeneration solutions to improve our planet.


Jeronimo Prieto – Mentor

Jeronimo Prieto is an industrial engineer from ITESM with a Master of Business Administration from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is the Founding Partner and Co-director of Pelagic Life and won the San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival for Direction in the documentary México Pelagico.

Jeronimo has been an underwater filming partner with National Geographic, Discovery Channel and GoPro in Mexico. He is a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer diving instructor since 2009 with 6 specialities and has been a leader in more than 25 expeditions with mega marine fauna in Mexico since 2006.


We will be running live Q&As throughout the day so keep an eye on this page to see the updated programme.


Rohit Varma & Radha Rangarajan – Nature inFocus
Noon (BST time)

Radha Rangarajan is usually found lost in either a forest or a book. A photographer, Radha dabbles in filmmaking, art, and writing. She is the Editor at Nature inFocus and also curates and edits stories for JLR Explore. She’s a natural history buff and is partial to elephants, fungi, owls, and trees. Radha has written and guest-edited over ten picture books for children, all of which have been published on Pratham Books. She tweets as @missgoobe and posts as @radharangarajan on Instagram.


Sophie Darlington – Freelance Natural History Filmmaker and Director of Photography 12.30 (BST time)

Sophie Darlington is a freelance natural history filmmaker and Director of Photography who has been making wildlife feature films and television for more than 25 years. Sophie has worked on feature films and landmark television series such as Our Planet, Dynasties and The Hunt for The BBC NHU, Netflix, Disney Nature and National Geographic amongst others.


Keith Scholey – Co/CEO and Co-founder of Silverback Films
2pm (bst time)

Keith Scholey is currently a director of Silverback Films Ltd. In 2019 he series produced Netflix’s ‘Our Planet’, and in 2020 is an executive producer for the BBC One series ‘A Perfect Planet’ and director of the cinema films ‘David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet’ Disneynature’s ‘Dolphin Reef’.

Recent credits as an independent executive producer include the Discovery Channel series ‘Wild Planet; North America’ and ‘Deadly Islands’ and also the producer and director of the Disneynature cinema films ‘African Cats’ and ‘Bears’.Born and raised in East Africa, he qualified as a Zoologist with both a degree and PhD from Bristol University.


Virtual Exhibition:

We will be running a virtual exhibition on the day of the festival by putting a spotlight on the work of the following illustrators, photographers and artists:

Amy Fitzmaurice – PhD student and Photographer

Being a conservation scientist is not just about studying wildlife, it is about the whole ecosystem and that often includes people that live alongside wildlife. Amy worked on a photograph series during her second year of PhD fieldwork conducting the research for the Living with Tigers Project, to show what the daily life of a conservation scientist is like.

The Living with Tigers Project is a collaborative project run by Chester Zoo, in partnership with Green Governance Nepal, WildCRU (Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University), Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), eight communities, Bardia National Park (BNP) and Chitwan National Park (CNP). The project aims to reduce human-tiger and human-leopard conflict by promoting coexistence and alleviating poverty.


Dr Cécile Girardin – Ecosystems Scientist / Biodiversity & Climate Change / Artist

Cécile trained as an Ecosystems Scientist at the University of Oxford and Imperial College and has over 15 years of field experience: working in tropical forests, managing international teams, leading scientific publications, training students, and facilitating discussions on translating science into policy and action (eg. REDD+, Nature-based Solutions). She combines years of experience in climate change policy analysis with a background in tropical ecology and thorough understanding of forest ecosystem functioning to provide a unique multidisciplinary approach to her work. Her research focuses on the potential for Nature-based Solutions to respond to climate change.

She is an ecosystems scientist at the University of Oxford and a science illustrator. As Science Lead of the Oxford Biodiversity Network, she gets to dive into the latest cutting-edge research on our natural world, ecosystems, and biodiversity. She took this opportunity to share some of those stories. The network has many, many more exciting stories to tell and so check out its website to dive into the science and meet the researchers fighting to protect our natural world. The artworks that will be shared as part of the festival are a series of illustrations & short articles produced for UN Biodiversity, on the occasion of Earth Day 2020.


Tim Kuiper – PhD Student and Photographer

Tim is a PhD student at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science at Oxford University. He loves statistics and is getting to grips with the social sciences, as he researches ranger-based monitoring of elephant poaching in his home country of Zimbabwe. He loves capturing beauty in nature and wildlife through his photography hobby and hopes you enjoy his shots!



Alicia Hayden – Student, Illustrator and Photographer

Alicia is a second-year Biological Sciences undergraduate from North Yorkshire who enjoys wildlife art and photography. With her art, she prefers to work in biro to create realistic images of animals displaying natural behaviour. Her illustrations for Conservation Optimism focused on British species which are threatened, but still form part of an optimistic conservation story, leading her to choose the pine marten, various species of bees, and the brown hare.

She took up wildlife photography when she was 10, and specialises in birds and macro photography. She loves trying to find unusual angles and lighting, and capturing action, such as birds in flight. You can see some of her work, both art and photography, here: https://www.photocrowd.com/photographer-community/243617/.



More artists to be announced soon!


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