Local nonprofit uses the power of film to impact global wildlife conservation

(Jackson, Wyo.) - The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival is expanding its footprint, with the goal of making Jackson Hole the global hub for wildlife conservation work. The local non-profit has grown significantly since its first conference in 1993. The Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival is a biannual event for filmmakers, media distributors, and conservationists who come together for a week of seminars, panels, and film screenings. Just this past year, the film festival expanded to include the Jackson WILD Festival, which provided an opportunity for the public to attend screenings of the wildlife films. On March 3, as a highlight of the United Nations' World Wildlife Day, the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) teamed up in organizing an International Elephant Film Festival to raise global awareness of the various challenges facing the African and Asian elephants. [image: Inline image 1] *Lisa Samford, Executive Director of Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival with John E. Scanlon, Secretary General of CITES. Photo h/t CITES. * "We had a successful film festival," said Kathryn Jeffords, who does marketing and strategic partnerships for the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. "We had 250 entries, which was pretty amazing." Right now, the organization is focusing on the upcoming Science Media Awards & Summit , which will be held in Boston this September. The Science Media Awards & Summit is held every other year (opposite the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival) and, according to the organization, brings together science media stakeholders to celebrate exceptional media, cutting-edge discoveries and explore new ways of communicating the wonders of science to a global audience in a rapidly-changing media landscape. While some of this non-profit's events occur outside of the valley, the film festival is keeping its name and its roots deep in Jackson Hole. "We are trying to get Jackson Hole out there as the center for conservation," said Jeffords. Using these powerful films, the Jackson Hole Wildlife Festival hopes to educate the world on important wildlife issues and conservation efforts. "The goal is to take all the films and turn them into a database of programing that can be used for educational purposes for non-profits and for NGOs," said Jeffords. "And the ultimate goal is to get them on DVDs and ship them to schools in particular conflict areas like Tanzania and Kenya. There are great films being made, but the people where they are made don't usually get to see the films." What started as a gathering of wildlife filmmakers at the Jackson Lake Lodge more than 10 years ago has evolved into an organization making a global impact on wildlife, conservation and education. "It is more than just a film festival, it is more than just one day celebrating elephants and wildlife," Jeffords added. "We are really trying to address an issue and film just has a way of impacting people in such an amazing way." *Feature Photo: Racing Extinction film crew speaks on a panel at the 2015 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. h/t Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival / Pitchengine Communities.* #buckrail #news