2021 UN World Wildlife Day Film Showcase Winners announced

New York: The CITES Secretariat, Jackson Wild™ and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), announced today the winners of the 2021 World Wildlife Day Film Showcase on the theme of “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet.”

The eleven award-winners were picked from 38 finalists, out of a total of 275 entries in five categories, four of which comprised both long form and short form winners. In addition to the finalists, 12 programs were selected for recognition as “Honorable Mentions.”

The winning films were unveiled during the high-level virtual event marking the World Wildlife Day celebrations, in the presence of representatives of UN Member States, UN System organizations, major civil society groups and representatives of Indigenous and local communities.

Winners and finalists submitted films that helped shed further light on the state of the planet’s forests, the impacts of global challenges like biodiversity loss on the livelihoods of communities that rely on them and their species, and the ongoing efforts of groups around the world to preserve these livelihoods and restore endangered forest habitats and conserve their wildlife.

The UN World Wildlife Day Film Showcase films are broadly available for free streamed screening at https://watch.eventive.org/worldwildlifeday/

CITES Secretary-General Ivonne Higuero said: “The laureates of this year’s Film Showcase have provided us with a deep insight into the profound relationship between people around the world and forests, forest ecosystem services and forest species. By recording the stories and experiences of people involved in all manner of efforts to preserve their forest-based livelihoods and to conserve endangered forested areas and wildlife, our outstanding laureates will help inspire our own work and that of all stakeholders involved to steer our relationship with nature towards sustainability.”

Jackson Wild™ Executive Director Lisa Samford added: “The power of personal storytelling to inspire individual, community and systemic change has never been more important. As we’ve been increasingly isolated during this pandemic, the global impact of media to share these compelling stories has helped connect each of us to our planet and to one another to address the massive impacts of climate change and accelerate equity in our world.”

Midori Paxton, Head of Biodiversity, UNDP said: “The 2021 World Wildlife Day Film Showcase highlights the importance of forest ecosystems for indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as for our broader societies and economies. The stories captured by the winners of this year’s Film Showcase offer powerful examples of the critical role that forests play in helping countries accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda, including goals to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, protect biodiversity, and mitigate the risk of climate change.”


Winners of the 2021 World Wildlife Day Film Showcase in the five categories are:

People & Forests (sponsored by National Geographic):

Winner, long form:

Backyard Wilderness
Archipelago Films, Arise Media, HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, SK Films and Reconsider

Winner, short form:

The Church Forests of Ethiopia
Emergence Magazine

My Forest (sponsored by Fable & Mane):

Winner, long form:

Mundiya Kepanga, the voice of the forest
ARTE France and Muriel Barra / Lato Sensu productions

Winner, short form:

Leo Plunkett, Environmental Investigation Agency

Future of Forests (sponsored by San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance)​:

Winner, long form:

After the Wildfires
Northern Pictures for ABC, CBC, Love Nature and Blue Ant International

Winner, short form:

How Old Cell Phones Are Protecting the Rainforest
Seeker Media

Living Forests (sponsored by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios)​:

Winner, long form:

Earth’s Tropical Islands: Borneo
BBC Studios Natural History Unit, PBS

Winners, short form (two films were selected):

Chasing Ghosts
Grizzly Creek Films, bioGraphic

Memories of the Future
a Mares Mexicanos production

Forest Micro Movie (sponsored by WaterBear Network):


Gajah Borneo
Shervin Hess, Oregon Zoo

A Special Jury Award was given to:
The Man Who Planted a Forest
101India Digital Services

For artfully expressing the healing power of forests, a lifelong commitment to conservation and reminding us all that each individual person can make a difference in the fight to protect nature and the resources it provides for future generations.

Honorable Mention films include: Alianza Ceibo: Equator Prize Winner of 2020 (UNDP Equator Initiative, What Took You So Long), Can Farms and Forests Coexist? (Produced by Spotzen for PBS Digital Studios), Clatter (Rémi Rappe), Eeya (House Tiger Productions), If We Plant 1 TRILLION Trees Can We Stop Climate Change? (Produced by Spotzen for PBS Digital Studios), Jungle Guardian (Doclights GmbH / NDR Naturfilm), Moss Man (Tilapia Film, Topic Studio), Primary Forests (Rojo Visuals and Wild Heritage for IntAct – International Action for Primary Forests), Rearing Giants (Green Hub (NEN – DFF)), Rise of the Warrior Apes (KEO Films for Discovery Network International), Sungai Utik -The Fight for Recognition (If Not Us Then Who), The Ogieks; Guardians of the Mau Forest (Maurice Oniang’o)


For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

CITES Secretariat: Francisco Pérez, +41 22 917 1447, francisco.perezgonzalez@un.org

United Nations Development Programme: Sangita Khadka, +1 212 906 5043, sangita.khadka@undp.org

Jackson Wild: Abbey Greene, +1 307 200 3286 ext. 700, abbey@jacksonwild.org

To arrange special screening events, please contact:

Melanie Judd, (307) 200-3286 ext. 4, melanie@jacksonwild.org

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