The documentary “Snow Leopard: Beyond the Myth” was chosen “Best of Festival” at this year’s International Wildlife Film Festival.

The following article appeared in the Missoulian on 8 April 2008:Newly edited ‘Snow Leopard’ best of IWFF
By JAMIE KELLY of the Missoulian
The film chosen Best of Festival for this year’s International Wildlife Film Festival has already been seen in Missoula.

However, “Snow Leopard: Beyond the Myth” underwent plenty of editing changes during the last year, when its producer arrived fresh from Pakistan, where the film takes place.

Resubmitted as an official entry this year, the epic story of the rare snow leopard, and efforts to save the species, is “an indicator of the future of wildlife filmmaking,” said IWFF executive director Janet Rose.

“It’s not just about wildlife,” Rose said of the BBC Natural History Unit film, one of 96 documentaries to be screened next month. “It’s about culture and people. The film really hits on all of those cylinders in a dynamic and sometimes controversial, sometimes emotional way.”

The festival’s six finalist judges awarded the film Best of Festival, but as always, it was a close call, said Rose.

Because the entries are increasingly excellent, the festival expanded its list of award categories, for the first time recognizing the best of Montana wildlife documentary filmmaking.

The Montana Filmmaker Award went to “Fish and Cow,” an 18-minute film by Bozeman filmmakers Geoff Stephens and Rick Smith about ranchers and conservation efforts in the Upper Big Hole Valley. It was filmed for the Nature Conservancy.

The Sapphire Award, named after Montana‘s official gemstone, is essentially the runner-up to Best of Festival. The award went to “Crash: A Tale of Two Species,” by New York filmmaker Allison Argo, an emotional tale of the decline of horseshoe crabs and a small species of bird that relies on crab eggs for its survival.

The last addition to the award category is the Special Jury Award. It went to “The Last Trimate,” an account of Birute Galdikas’ lifelong fight to save Indonesia‘s wild orangutans.

For more information about the award-winning films and all others that will be shown at next month’s IWFF, go to

Coming next monthThe 31st International Wildlife Film Festival runs May 10-17 at the Roxy Theatre and the Wilma Theatre. For tickets and information, go to

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