Staff Report

After a full weekend of nature-themed films shown at three venues in Los Olivos, the NatureTrack Film Festival has announced the winners of its second annual event.

The overall “best in festival” winner for feature film was “Free Solo,” directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, and for short film, “Loved by All: The Story of Apa Sherpa,” directed by Eric Crosland.

A special award for “Igniting Passion for Nature” went to “Into the Arctic: Awakening,” directed by Cory Trépanier.

In a tie vote, the audience favorite award went to “White Wolves – Ghosts of the Arctic” by Oliver Goetzl and “Into the Canyon” by Pete McBride.

After a Friday kick-off reception at St. Mark’s Church, 62 films played over three days on the weekend of March 22 – 24, with a closing reception at Sides restaurant.

More than a dozen filmmakers attended, and more than 60 volunteers covered 192 different positions between the opening and closing receptions, a spokesman said.

Other “best in festival” winners, by category, were:

  • Adventure (Feature), “Into the Canyon, directed by Pete McBride
  • Adventure (Short), “Stumped,” directed by Cedar Wright and Taylor Keating
  • Outdoors & Out of Bounds (Feature), “Free Solo,” directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin
  • Conservation (Feature), “The Human Element,” directed by Matthew Testa
  • Conservation (Short), “From Golf Course to Wetland,” directed by Michael Love
  • Biography (Feature), “In the Starlight,” directed by Mathieu Le Lay
  • Biography (Short), “Loved by All: The Story of Apa Sherpa,” directed by Eric Crosland
  • Scenic (Feature), “White Wolves – Ghosts of the Arctic,” directed by Oliver Goetzl
  • Scenic (Short), “Rooted: The Rock Splitter, directed by Barend van der Watt
  • Animation (Short), “The Elephant’s Song,” directed by Lynn Tomlinson
  • Kids Connecting to Nature (Short), “Boy Nomad,” directed by Niobe Thompson

“It was an honor and a pleasure to have been a part of the NatureTrack Film Festival,” John Dutton, director of “The Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle.” “Everything was so well thought-out and impeccably organized … and we thoroughly enjoyed discovering Los Olivos.”

The festival will begin accepting film submissions for 2020 on June 1 at The third NatureTrack Film Festival will return to Los Olivos on March 20-22, 2020.