Mountainfilm in Telluride program director Emily Long is currently in Spain at the World Wilderness Congress, where she caught up with Jenny Nichols, director of Return to the Tepuis (Mountainfilm 2013), who is running a mini film festival at the event this week called WILDshorts.
MF: What is the World Wilderness Congress (WILD10), and how did your idea for WILDshorts evolve?
Jenny: WILD10 is the tenth World Wilderness Congress, the world's longest-running, public, international conservation project that brings together policy makers, scientists, visual artists, conservationists, nature lovers, musicians and communities. Why? To make the world a wilder place. A wilder world is a better world—for human health and prosperity and for nature’s well-being. This year, the Congress is held in Salamanca, Spain, October 4 through 10.
Because film is an integral part of the conservation communication landscape we wanted to have a night of short films projected in a plaza for the public to enjoy as well as the congress delegates. WILDshorts is a celebration of wilderness as seen through connections between people and nature, adventure, exploration, and scientific and personal discovery.
MF: Where does film fit into the world of conservation? Why a shorts program?
Jenny: My co-curator, Morgain Heim (an iLCP photographer), and I believe that film is a crucial element for inspiring awareness and action. We have found that the best way to sway opinion is not always with more and more facts, but an appeal to the values, identity and emotions of the audience. Above all, everyone likes a good story (“good” not always meaning a “happy” story).
WILDshorts is about taking conservation to a visceral, deeply human level. This is where a film festival can really take conservation beyond the walls of academia and policy by connecting with the masses. We want to jog the mind, encourage people to think outside the box, experience new ways to share important stories about the wild.
MF: Can you tell us about the program itself?
Jenny: I'm pretty excited about Mexicano vs. La Selva and Rey en el Norte, two of the Spanish language films. We are also screening some films that played at Mountainfilm last year, including the conservation short Badru’s Story and Unicorn Sashimi (by Telluride filmmakers Ben Knight and Travis Rummel). We looked back over the last several years of conservation and adventure-themed shorts to put together a program that will inspire the conservation-minded audience at Wild10, and we believe they will appreciate the quality and brilliance of the films.
See the WILDshorts program.