First Virtual Wildscreen Festival celebrates record-breaking success

The first ever fully virtual Wildscreen Festival which ran from 19-23 October, has been hailed as a great success by delegates, speakers and organisers as it was revealed that a record number of people took part in the 20th anniversary of the biennial event.

More than 1800 delegates registered on the Festival platform, from over 42 different Countries including Taiwan, Mongolia, Rwanda and Tanzania, making it the most diverse and inclusive Wildscreen Festival to date.

Almost 15,000 minutes of content were available to view throughout the week, with highlights including Sir David Attenborough and climate activist Greta Thunberg in conversation, plus key note speeches from Hollywood Director James Cameron, Sky’s CEO Jeremy Darroch and world renowned photographer and biologist Cristina Mittermeier. There is also a remarkable discussion between old friends, world leading primatologist Jane Goodhall and the famous wildlife photographer Thomas Mangelsen. The winners of this year’s coveted Panda Awards were also announced in a spectacular live ceremony hosted by presenters Lizzie Daly and Patrick Aryee, with the Golden Panda Award going to Craig Foster, Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed for the film My Octopus Teacher. 

Sue Martineau, interim CEO of Wildscreen, the UK-based not-for-profit conservation organisation behind Wildscreen Festival said: "We are delighted at the amazing response and feedback we have received praising Wildscreen 2020. To reimagine the event with so little time to reorganise and implement was a herculean task. However, the team, advisory board, volunteers and trustees pulled together and created a Festival with outstanding content that attracted an incredibly diverse audience.”

Martha Holmes, Wildscreen Festival Advisory Board Chair and Head of Natural History at Plimsoll Productions, added: "Wildscreen 2020 surpassed all expectations in the exceptionally high calibre and broad range of its content.  From the informal, intergenerational conversation between Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg to the humour of Bertie Gregory on location, we had it all.  Many people from so many countries contributed in a meaningful way and delivered a menu of endlessly watchable, fascinating and entertaining sessions.  

But, equally exciting, is that Wildscreen also surpassed all expectations in its reach.  The virtual nature of the festival meant that it was open to the world at large.  Delegates came to the festival in their numbers like never before and engaged with everything from commissioner briefings to masterclasses, from keynotes to panel discussions.  The positive response we had from delegates was overwhelming. 

We had a superb advisory board in the run up to the festival, devoting time and extraordinary effort to offer ideas and help deliver the content, and we had a first-rate team who picked up the ideas and created a festival of which to be immensely proud."

For those who were unable to attend the Festival in October, the Wildscreen Festival platform will continue to be open until the extended date of 30th December, with On Demand Tickets still available from just £30. Tickets will provide access to over 200 outstanding natural history films, along with all the additional content filmed as part of the Festival. For more information visit https://www.wildscreen.org/festival/tickets/

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