Staff Report

Imagine yourself off the coast of Africa with hippos, in the swamps of Florida, discovering hidden parts of Rio de Janeiro, or in an Octopus Garden in the Monterey Bay, or seeing the pristine waters of Bristol Bay in Alaska. These are just some of the locations featured in the fourth annual NatureTrack Film Festival (NTFF).

NTFF aims to ignite a passion for nature through film. Filmmakers who care deeply about the earth have created cinema connecting people to places worldwide, inspiring viewers to care about the natural world, and to get outdoors. The film line-up for the one-day, in-person portion of the 2021 NTFF is now on the website.

This year NTFF will run concurrently with Los Olivos’ annual Day in the Country Festival on Oct. 16. The in-person screenings that day will be 9 a.m.-11 p.m. in Stacy Hall at St. Marks in the Valley in Los Olivos. In addition there will be a virtual festival that runs Oct. 17-31. Tickets at $10 per program block and passes at $100 and $75 go on sale Sept. 1.

“We’ve committed to having the film festival in October to coincide with Day in the Country for future years,” said Sue Eisaguirre, founder of NatureTrack and NTFF.  “It’s a perfect way to partner with the idyllic rural location and gives film festival enthusiasts a chance to experience more than just film. They’ll enjoy the best that small towns can offer, and then some, like world-class wines.

“While the 2021 NatureTrack pop up Film Festival will be one day only this year, we are already planning the expanded 2022 NatureTrack Film Festival to celebrate our 5th season of presenting international nature cinema,” she said. “Still, we also decided future festival will always be a hybrid festival, so those who cannot travel to Los Olivos can enjoy the incredible nature cinema we offer.”

Festival directors did not decide to do the in-person festival until late June once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. With such a late decision, they were concerned they may not get enough films submitted, but with only a two-week window open for submissions, they received more than 800 films.

More than 70 films from 14 countries were chosen for this year’s event, with 30 of those being shown in-person on Oct. 16 at Stacy Hall, and the rest presented virtually. Most of the in-person films will also be available virtually.

As a bonus, the virtual festival will feature a number of the past three years of NTFF award-winning films. The festival showcases long and short film submissions in live and animated form in Adventure, Animation, Biography, Conservation, Kids Connecting with Nature, Scenic, Student, and a special category called Outdoors & Out of Bounds.

The NatureTrack Film Festival welcomes sponsor inquiries and individuals who wish to support the NTFF. Contact Sue Eisaguirre for information on sponsor or donor opportunities.