Wildlife and nature lovers, unlock this amazing virtual film festival and explore some of our planet’s most beautiful landscapes – all from the sanctuary of your own home!

I am currently watching the All Living Things Environmental Film Festival (ALT-EFF), a virtual event organised by a variety of passionate youngsters who are dedicated to bringing wildlife and nature to a global platform, accessible by all. This film festival is entirely virtual and such a tonic to my heart, which aches to be outside collecting field data in the Western Ghats and other wild landscapes of India. Let’s take a quick look at what you can expect to see if you decide to unlock these moving films.

There are different options for viewers interested in this film festival: 1) the entire film collection, which unlocks 33 feature and short films; 2) the Escapade collections, which are four carefully curated sets of 9-10 films based on genres; and 3) pay per individual film. The Escapade collection is amazingly well-done. Each Escapade (Blue, Green, Orange, Yellow) has a set of films that fit within the following themes:

Blue Escapade – journey to India’s coral reefs and wild backyards with this collection!

Green Escapade – journey on the large scale around the globe to hear about big issues and the people fighting to resolve them!

Orange Escapade – Stories from the ground that are guaranteed to move you. Learn about the things people do for the love of nature with this collection!

Yellow Escapade – This collection celebrates amazing storytelling and inspiring tales from across the world. Learn about a deaf and mute artist from Ranthambhore, the tale of salmon from Russia, and travel to Columbia too!

Alternatively, you can go for all films or choose individual films of your liking. The site offers a lot of options and is very easy to navigate, even for a technological neanderthal like myself.

Thus far, I have unlocked and watched one film – India’s Wild Leopards. Having met filmmaker Sandesh Kadur (you may know him as the man who captured snow leopards up close for Planet Earth II’s Himalayan footage!) multiple times in Bangalore, I was dying to watch this documentary on his quest to capture footage of two of India’s rarest wild cats – the snow leopard and the clouded leopard.

Journeying from Bangalore to the dense rainforests of Northeast India to the snow peaks of the Himalayas, Sandesh and his team take us on a memorable and inspiring ride to some of India’s least explored regions. The footage is absolutely stunning, be it of the landscapes or of the cats themselves. Keep in mind that capturing any wild cat on a camera is incredibly tough. Snow leopards and clouded leopards are fewer in number than other big cats, and when you add their dwindling populations to their remote habitats, it is impressive that Sandesh managed to find any at all! Look out for some adorable cubs in the videos too!

I made the spur-of-the-moment decision to buy a pass to see all the films because, well, it’s a pandemic and I haven’t had the chance to go out and immerse in the wild like I normally would. This film festival is a great way to learn more about environmental issues, the people solving them around the planet, and to see some of our world’s rarest wildlife in their natural habitats. Kudos to the team of ALT-EFF as well as the filmmakers who have made documenting our wild landscapes and creatures their life’s work. Sitting on my bed and watching these films has given me immense respect for your hard work and efforts!

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