Staff Report

The NatureTrack Film Festival, which welcomed enthusiastic audiences to Los Olivos for its debut weekend March 23-25, has announced the films and filmmakers that its jury singled out for top honors.

Winners were:

Best in Festival: “Looking for the Wild,” directed by Andoni Canela

  • Best Adventure: “Fishpeople,” directed by Keith Malloy
  • Best Conservation: “Yellowstone,” directed by Oliver Goetzl
  • Best Student Film: “Ursa Major,” directed by Kerrin Keiser
  • Best Outdoors & Out of Bounds: “The White Maze,” directed by Matthias Mayr
  • Best Kids Connecting With Nature: “Looking for the Wild,” directed by Andoni Canela
  • Audience Favorite: “Nesting with the Devil,” directed by Stephen Matter

Filmmakers Malloy and Matter were present to accept their awards.

In its first year, the festival screened films at three venues: The Grange Hall, St. Mark’s in-the-valley Church, and the Gates Foss Community Center at Los Olivos School. The town was bustling with attendees and scores of volunteers sporting bright blue NTFF signature T-shirts and sweatshirts.

After a Friday kick-off reception at Mattei’s Tavern, 59 films played over three days before the winners were announced Sunday, March 25, at a closing reception hosted by the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn.

In a related event, visitors to the Wildling Museum in Solvang over the next three months will be able to see the original cameras used to shoot the iconic TV program “Wild Kingdom.”

The cameras made a special appearance at a Wild Kingdom/winemaker dinner held at Bottlest during the NatureTrack Film Festival. Chris Jenkins, head of production and film media studies at UCSB, demonstrated the cameras and showed clips from the groundbreaking television show starring Marlin Perkins, before the equipment made its way to the Wildling. It will be on display there until June 30.

The NatureTrack Film Festival plans to return to Los Olivos next year on the weekend of March 22-24, 2019.