Announcing the WILD TO INSPIRE Short Film Competition Finalists

This year’s WILD TO INSPIRE short film competition was the most competitive yet, with more submissions than ever. Narrowing down all of the amazing entries was challenging, but today, in partnership with the Sun Valley Film Festival, we are announcing the top four finalists of the third annual Wild to Inspire filmmaking competition. Congratulations to our final four!

Participants were asked to submit a short film that captured stories of individuals letting the wild into their own lives. Films were judged on the connection to the theme, quality of the storyline and script, creativity, originality, production quality and editing. The winner will be announced March 3rd at the Sun Valley Film Festival.

The Wild to Inspire finalists include:


“Conowingo Dam Bald Eagles” by Mike Lemery (Schenectady, NY)    @MikeLemery

Lemery is a video producer and filmmaker based in Schenectady, New York, with more than eight years of professional video experience in documentary-style and television production. “Conowingo Dam Bald Eagles” shows the resurgence of the bald eagle population at the Conowingo Dam in Maryland, where hundreds of bald eagles fiercely fight for the stunned fish that make it through the dam’s turbines.


“In Search of a Moment” by David Fontneau (Honolulu, HI)                   @DavidFontneau

Fontneau is a self-taught photographer and cinematographer who seeks to inspire others through his passion for nature and photography. In his film, “In Search of a Moment” Fontneau describes his search for what he can best describe as the purity of a moment.


“To the Explorers” by Alex Goetz and Justin Grubb (Toledo, OH)        @alex_m_goetz

Goetz and Grubb are filmmakers who focus on telling the stories of conservation and wildlife around the world, in an effort to raise awareness of the issues that affect our planet. This short film is an ode to all the adventurers, explorers and conservationists who dedicate everything they have to conservation, wildlife and the outdoors. It is also a “thank you” to those who inspire us to tell our stories as filmmakers.


“Wild Heroes of Uganda” by Marlina Moreno (Los Angeles, CA)   @MarlinaMoreno

Moreno is a freelance cinematographer with a passion for sharing the stories of people doing wonderful things to protect our planet’s biodiversity. This fall, she will graduate with a master’s degree in conservation biology. In “Wild Heroes of Uganda” Moreno pays tribute to the wildlife conservation heroes she met while exploring Uganda.

Last year’s winner, Filipe DeAndrade, has spent the past couple months in Africa, working on several upcoming shows for the soon-to-launch Nat Geo WILDKiDS block (Saturday mornings beginning March 5). In addition, DeAndrade has shared short, powerful vignettes, imagery and other social media posts throughout his African adventure. DeAndrade’s “Girls Can’t Be Scientists?” — a short film he created during his time in Africa — will be screened at the Sun Valley Film Festival. “Girls Can’t Be Scientists?” highlights three female conservationists at different points in their career who are perfect examples of individuals living deliberately and passionately.

Congratulations again to our four finalists, and we look forward to announcing this year’s winner at the Sun Valley Film Festival.


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