Audience Awards Wild and Green Film Festival Winners!
For the third year in a row, Audience Awards just ran its Wild and Green Film Festival. Though we’ve held many environmental and animal friendly competitions over the years, Wild and Green opens the field up to interpretation. This year, our top six films ranged from a film investigating the Emerald Ash Borer (an invasive species of beetle wreaking havoc on North America’s ash trees) to a beautiful film called Blind Spots, which combined images of dance with the the problem of plastics taking over our oceans.
Ultimately, it was animator Seth Boyden’s An Object at Rest which came away with the win. In a little over 5 minutes, Boyden manages to take us through what he describes as “the life of a stone as it travels over the course of millennia, facing nature’s greatest obstacle: human civilization.”
Most of the top six films carried that same theme, no matter what the vehicle. As Corky Quirk, founder of NorCal Bats says, “Ignorance causes so many problems and when we’re afraid, sometimes we do bad things without thinking.” She was featured in Kristin Tieche’s The Invisible Mammal – The Bat Rescuer, Wild and Green’s 2nd place winner.
As mentioned above, A Femme Fatale Could Save Ash Trees From An Invasive Killer took 3rd place. Filmmaker Aaron Lemle follows Drs. Michael Domingue and Akhlesh Lakhtakia as they try (and succeed!) in outwitting the Ash Beetle like a fly fisherman outwits a fish. Between the entomology and science and mechanics departments at Penn State, these two doctors developed a shocking decoy. The Emerald Ash Borer was brought to the U.S. on Chinese shipping containers and has managed to slash the ash tree population by 90%, once again demonstrating the devastating effects of Man on nature.
The exception was, perhaps, Daroji, a children’s film which was part of the Animal Film Festival before it came to Audience Awards. Filmmaker Sugandhi Gadadhar says intended to introduce children to wildlife by following the animals inside the Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary in India. It follows Bindu, a female Indian Sloth Bear, and gives the message that man and animal can live together peacefully.
“The highlight for us is seeing children, college students and adults watching the film, enjoying it, laughing (especially when the monkey pulls the peacock’s feathers),” Gadadhar says, “and going back home with a message about how humans and animals have to coexist and live side-by-side.”
Thank you to all filmmakers who submitted and congratulations on our winners! Look forward to seeing the top three films premiere at AudFest 2018!