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The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival is one of the world’s great conservation gatherings and a showcase for amazing documentaries about wildlife, ecosystems, and the fight to save both.

It’s held every other September at various locations around the valley, including the Jackson Lake Lodge, the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts, and area theaters.

The film festival’s work goes well beyond the screening of documentaries. In the years between film festivals proper, the foundation hosts the Science Media Awards & Symposium, which celebrates cutting-edge scientists and science-media professionals. It also does extensive educational outreach to foster ecological literacy and conservation passion among younger generations. In short, this institution is an internationally significant player in the conservation world.

The 2015 iteration of the film festival is rapidly approaching. Book yourself a room in one of the amazing luxury hotels in Jackson Hole WY and grab some front-row seats to enjoy jaw-dropping cinematography and celebrate the world’s precious biodiversity!

The Jackson Hole Conservation Summit

In 2013, the film festival coincided with a particularly high-profile and ambitious event: the Great Apes Summit, a collaboration with the Great Ape Survival Partnership (a United Nations entity) and the Arcus Foundation. This impressive symposium–the inaugural run of the Jackson Hole Conservation Summit–brought together leading experts and stakeholders to explore the myriad global threats facing our closest relatives: chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans.

Among the participants was one of the world’s preeminent primatologists and perhaps its most famous living wildlife researcher: Jane Goodall, who implemented a groundbreaking study of chimpanzees at Gombe Stream Reserve (now Gombe Stream National Park) in the early 1960s.

In 2015, the film festival will follow up the Great Apes Summit with the Jackson Hole Elephant Conservation Summit (September 26-29). Both Asian and African elephants are gravely threatened by anthropogenic challenges such as habitat loss and poaching: As the film festival notes, an elephant is killed somewhere every 15 minutes.

The Best of the Best

In 2013, the film festival’s 100-plus international judges evaluated more than 540 entrees to choose 81 finalists. There were winners in 23 award categories, including Best Animal Behavior, Best Wildlife Habitat Program, Best People & Nature Program, and Best Media Installation.

The highest honors come with the Grand Teton Award. In 2013, this went to On a River in Ireland, an exploration of the ecology of the River Shannon, the Emerald Isle’s longest stream. The same team behind On a River in Ireland–Colin Stafford-Johnson and Crossing the Line Films–also landed the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival’s top award during the preceding competition in 2011, that year for Broken Tail, a portrait of a doomed Bengal tiger in India’s Ranthambhore National Park.

The 2015 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival

The 2015 run-through of the film festival kicks off on September 28 and closes on the 2nd of October. The panel will accept submissions between March and June, and announce its finalists on August 1.

The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival is just another of the incredibly diverse attractions in this magical Rocky Mountain valley. Don’t miss it!

Jerry Williams is a native of Wyoming who loves to write about the place. He likes to find and share the exciting places and events that take place there each year by posting online. His articles appear mainly on travel, vacation and family websites.

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