WILD to INSPIRE Finalists Announced

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Nat Geo WILD, in partnership with the Sun Valley Film Festival (SVFF) and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), announced today the four finalists of the second annual WILD TO INSPIRE filmmaking competition.

The finalists will all travel to the Sun Valley Film Festival for a special screening of their short films on Thursday, March 5, and the winner will be announced at the festival’s Awards Bash on Saturday, March 7. The winning filmmaker will travel to Africa to document wildlife for Nat Geo WILD viewers. There will also be a special screening of “The Corridor,” a short from last year’s WILD TO INSPIRE winner, Dan Duran, which he put together based on his trip to Africa last November.

Starting in November, participants were asked to submit a short film showcasing their own version of Destination Wild. Full of awe-inspiring scenery and wildlife, Nat Geo WILD’s Destination Wild specials feature the best, most innovative wildlife storytelling from some of the greatest filmmakers in the world.

Finalists were selected based on wildlife stories and moments from their own lives, whether on their travels or in their own backyards. Films were judged on their connection to the Destination Wild theme, quality and creativity of the script, production and editing. The ultimate goal was to turn footage into something that will captivate viewers and inspire them to let the wild in every day.  

“This year’s finalists embody the ‘wild’ spirit of the competition and their films are truly inspirational,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager for Nat Geo WILD. “The Sun Valley Film Festival is the perfect showcase for these imaginative films.”

The WILD TO INSPIRE Finalists include:

  • “Adapt” by Filipe DeAndrade. Filipe is a freelance cinematographer and producer who travels the country shooting time lapses and wildlife. He studied film and wildlife ecology & conservation at the University of Florida. In “Adapt” a filmmaker finds his voice through a camera and his salvation in nature.

  • “Living Isle” by Alex Goetz (Toledo, OH) Alex has been the videographer for the Toledo Zoo for two years. In addition to creating educational and promotional materials for the zoo, he also creates short films on wildlife and conservation efforts. “Living Isle” spotlights a chain of islands known as the Cayos Cohinos, where the Garifuna people have lived virtually the same way since the 1700s using traditional fishing methods.


  • “Northern” by Jake Lamons (Kalamazoo, MI) Jake lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he is studying Digital Cinema at Northern Michigan University. “Northern” shows the beauty of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan through the eyes of a Northern Michigan University student.

  • “Not on Our Watch: Keeping the Congo’s Gorillas From Extinction” by Austin Haeberle and Wendy Jacques (New York, NY) Austin is an independent digital journalist who reports on human rights, conservation and development.  He won a Peabody Award for “Beyond Borders: Personal Stories from a Small Planet”.  Wendy is a journalist and multimedia educator who produces films on conservation and human rights.  She also facilitates digital storytelling workshops in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East with thedigitalcanopy.net. “Not on Our Watch” takes us to the Republic of the Congo, where Mobie Prime and his team of “eco-guards” at the Lesio-Louna Natural Forest are helping to save the local gorilla population from extinction. 


The films will be screened by judges from Nat Geo WILD, AWF, SVFF, Huffington Post Green, Earth Touch and Vice to name the ultimate winner. The winner will travel to Africa to share their wildlife adventure through a variety of media, including video diaries, photos, social media and more, as part of an online companion to Nat Geo WILD’s signature Sunday night nature series, Destination Wild.

For more information, including contest rules, visit natgeowild.com/wildtoinspire.