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The NatureTrack “Virtual” Film Festival 2020

Third Annual NatureTrack Film Festival

Unspools in Living Rooms

October 9 – 18

New Virtual Option for Rescheduled 2020 Festival

Los Olivos, Calif. (July 30, 2020)— Dozens of documentaries and short films from 21 countries, in both live and animated form, will be screened virtually at the third annual NatureTrack Film Festival(NTFF). From exhilarating and adrenaline inducing, to wonderous and spectacular, from heart-breaking to hope-filled, discover inspiring stories from passionate filmmakers about the world we live in and share with the other animals on earth. Save the second week of October (10/9-10/18) for a film festival delivered to your home – the safest environment for our patrons during the Corona virus pandemic. All tickets previously purchased for the festival in March will be honored.

Festival directors are saddened to have to cancel the live three-day event and move to a virtual-only festival, but given the current crisis, it is the only way to share all the incredible films. NTFF founder Sue Eisaguirre said, “In 2021, look for NatureTrack Film Festival ON TOUR, and in 2022 we will be back in person. We look forward to making our beloved town of Los Olivos pop in a most festive way and to celebrating the filmmakers whose passion leads the way.”


Of special interest to conservationists -Goleta-based FLIR, a returning NTFF sponsor, has provided a two-minute short as a companion piece to the feature film Birth of a Pride. FLIR has been working with the World Wildlife Fund’s Wildlife Crime Technology Project to put an end to illegal poaching in Africa. FLIR’s infrared camera technology, paired with cutting-edge software,has become the newest tool to tamp down this rampant problem for the beloved majestic wildlife found on the African continent. NTFF’s producers wanted to give patrons a look at how thermal imaging is used in the wild. Making this presentation eventimelier, these thermal imaging solutions from FLIR are in use now at businesses, airports, and other places that can help screen for elevated body/skin temperature – a possible sign of COVID-19 infection. From public spaces such as airports and train terminals to federal buildings, private offices, and factories – deploying thermal imaging cameras for screening provides a more safe and secure environment for all.

In the extreme adventure film By Handtwo Pismo Beach brothers paddle by hand from Alaska to Baja, unaided by anyone else, just the Higginbotham twins in a coming of age story with nature as their mentor. No motors to propel them, no support boats, their custom-made boards carried everything, and they paddled more than 2,000 miles with only director Kellen Keene’s camera keeping them company. By Hand has been scooping up awards at film festivals this year; you don’t want to miss what many are calling this year’s “Free Solo.”

The Lost Kings of Biokoby Oliver Goetzel, whose films have taken awards at the first two NTFF events, returns with another endangered species in his lens, one of the world’s least-known primate species, the Drill Monkey. Off the coast of Central Africa lies Bioko, an isolated island covered by ancient rainforests and surrounded by dark ocean waters. Island folklore tells of a Drill king who ruled the island’s forests, a place where Drills still play a critical role in the health of an ecosystem known to scientists as a biodiversity hotspot. The film takes on subjects most of the world is unaware of in Goetzl’s quest to create a brighter future for the Drills through science and, most importantly, species protection. Oliver also created “Making of Lost Kings of Bioko,” a special behind-the-scenes bonus short just for the NatureTrack Film Festival. This twofer is a must-see.

Another past NTFF award-winner, Matthias Mayr, goes to the Arctic’s northernmost mountain range in the world for his 83° Ski the North. Joined by adventurer Hauni Haunholder the two set off to ski the Arctic Cordillera and as the saying goes, “it’s the journey not the destination” as the men encounter major athletic and filmmaking challenges. The Ellesmere Island location is home to arctic wolves, polar bears and native Inuit people who actively support the intrepid mountaineers.

Bringing the personal story of Madame Kokoly to the NTFF, U.K. filmmakers Garth Cripps and Paul Antion capture a wide-angle look at the world’s marine environment through the close-up story of a traditional Vezo fisherwoman in Madagascar. Living in extreme poverty, Madame Kokoly reflects on her personal losses and life experiences, and the ocean she fishes which is changing beyond her control. Female only voices are represented in this heartbreaking film. Kokolyis a short documentary film, produced by Blue Ventures, and supported by Stories of Change, a project of the Sundance Institute, with support from the Skoll Foundation.

Getting down and dirty,Threats in the Northern Seasdirector Jacques Loeuille from France brings light to silent and deadly underwater witnesses from WWI and WWII – three billion tons, yes tons, of chemical and conventional bombs that lie at the bottom of the North and Baltic seas. Loeuille’s film examines the underwater stockpile of lethal munitions and takes on the cause of defending the survival of our vital oceans and seas. Why were these weapons dumped and are these massive watery caches of highly toxic ordnance an avoidable disaster? Sue Eisaguirre says she has discovered that NTFF patrons are “proactive people for our natural world, and this film will educate you about the dangers and natural disasters caused by climate change.”

NTFF film categories are: Adventure, Animation, Biography, Conservation, Kids Connecting with Nature, Scenic, Student, and a special category, Outdoors & Out of Bounds.

The entire list of participating films is posted on the festival website. All-Access Passes, and single tickets are now available and may be purchased by going to the NTFF website, One hundred percent of the proceeds from the festival go to support the NatureTrack Foundation. All tickets from the March 2020 dates will be honored. Cost for an All-Access “Virtual” Pass is $100. Those who earlier purchased an in-person All-Access Pass, we suggest either sharing the pass with a friend, or donating the difference in cost to the NatureTrack Foundation as a much-needed gift.

About NatureTrack Film Festival:

The 2020 NatureTrack Film Festival will be a virtual week-long celebration of nature and outdoor adventure through film. Los Olivos, California in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country, is where the festival was founded in 2018 by Sue Eisaguirre, who conceived the idea as an extension of, and fundraiser for, the non-profit NatureTrack Foundation which she started in 2011. NatureTrack introduces schoolchildren to outdoor spaces from the seashore to the inland oak woodlands of Santa Barbara County by providing cost-free outdoor field trips. Since it began, NatureTrack has provided more than 22,000 outdoor experiences for school-aged students. More information about NatureTrack Foundation can be found at