We introduced the Nature inFocus Film Awards for the very first time in 2019. Today, we are proud to announce the winners of the brand new second edition.

This year the competition received an original and heterogeneous mix of movies from as far as Europe, Oceania and the Americas.

The pandemic meant that we had to skip the Nature inFocus Festival. Instead, the results of the second edition of the Nature inFocus Film Awards were announced at a live virtual event on September 25, 2020.

Scroll down to see all the winning films.


Rearing Giants – Dipen Rangmang & Thejavikho Chase

Winner – Emerging (Natural History)

With insects increasingly being explored as an important source of protein to substitute red meat, the film examines the role of the Giant Hornet, reared for consumption in the hills of Nagaland.

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Loved how the film began and enjoyed watching and learning about something I knew very little about. It really felt like the story was told from within the community.                                                                                                                       – Gautam Pandey (Director, Riverbank Studios)

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Fan-throated Lizard - Undisputed King of the Arid Landscape – Pranit Bora & Dhiraj Zanvar

Special Mention – Emerging (Natural History)

Shot in the outskirts of Satara, in an area known as Chalkewadi, an abode for agamids, the short film tells the story of the Fan-throated Lizard. The film showcases the lizard's habitat, its behaviour and the development of its iconic dewlap which earns it the 'fan-throated' moniker.

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The Falling Kingdom – Sanjeevi Raja

Special Mention – Emerging (Natural History)

Falling Kingdom is a natural history documentary on the Lion-tailed Macaque, an endangered endemic primate of the Western Ghats.

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Guardians of Turtles – Naman Govil & Mithun TM

Winner – Emerging (Conservation)

This conservation film documents the impact of climate change on a tiny fishing community called Tambaldeg in Maharashtra. The film also brings to focus the community-led turtle conservation work that is done in the region.

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A well-scripted film that captures the grim reality of our coastal communities in the 21st century. It is filmed beautifully and uses local voices effectively to build on the hope for a livable future.                                           – Akanksha Sood Singh (Natural History Filmmaker)

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The Birdman of Chorao – Shashank Bhosale

Special Mention – Emerging (Conservation)

The idea that individuals cannot affect change is a myth. The documentary narrates the story of a boatman named Uday Tukaram Mandrekar who is the son of a farmer and lives on the island of Chorao in Goa. Uday is someone who understands the importance of mangroves and its inhabitants and believes in protecting this fragile ecosystem by raising awareness about the same. Uday has been transporting tourists through the mangrove swamps of the Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary for the last 25 years, offering even the most uninterested visitors a fascinating insight into life on this fragile terrain. Uday is known by birders all over the world for his in-depth knowledge of the local avian life and for his ability to manoeuvre the natural canals that crisscross Goa’s mangrove tangle.

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The Veins of the Himalayas – Kratika Goswami, Jasmeet Singh & Rishabh Jaggi

Special Mention – Emerging (Conservation)

The short film focuses on the diverse array of life forms that sustains the temperate broadleaved forests of the Western Himalayas. From Gymnosperms to Angiosperms, primitive Bryophytes and Pteridophytes to the fungi and associated fauna, the film tells the story of how all of them together sustain this moist forest. The film talks about the fragility of the ecosystem and the perils to the region's water springs, which causes degradation of forests and poses a threat to the life and livelihoods of those living here.

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The Birds of Play – Upamanyu Das

Special Mention – Professional (Natural History)

In the mountains of South Island, New Zealand, lives a parrot smarter than any other, the Kea. Through millions of years of evolution, the Kea has developed unique skills to survive in the unforgiving landscape of the Southern Alps. This film tries to explore Kea's intellect through the findings of PhD researchers Amalia Bastos & Lydia McLean.

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The Birds of Play is an informative and appealing little film. In its brief time span, the documentary packs in a good deal of information and research on its subject without ever straining the viewer. Tempting though it may be to concentrate on the eccentricities and antics of this remarkable bird, the film keeps us rooted in the wild and the behaviour and threats of its life there. It also allows time for us to enjoy scenes in the wild without commentary, and the accompanying music is a non-intrusive, pleasant addition.                                                                                                                                                   – Joanna Van Gruisen (Wildlife Photographer & Filmmaker)

Wings & Wetlands - A Story of Migration – Raghunath Belur & Sugandhi Gadadhar

Special Mention – Professional (Natural History)

This short documentary highlights the winter migration of waterbirds and the wetlands that they visit in the southern state of Karnataka. Produced by the Karnataka Forest Department, the film is a part of the state government's outreach activity for the protection and conservation of birds using the Central Asian Flyway.

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Where it stood out among others in the competition is the thoughtful, well-researched treatment provided to develop an interesting narrative. The film did stand out in many aspects; the technical quality was of a high standard when we consider visuals and sound.                                                              – Raghunandan Singh Chundawat (Conservation Biologist)

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Capuchin Culture – Luca Antonio Marino

Special Mention – Professional (Natural History)

The film paints an intimate portrait of a group of capuchin monkeys living in the semi-arid forests of North-eastern Brazil. During the dry season, it is not easy to find water and fresh fruit and these monkeys must rely on their remarkable ingenuity and skills to survive. The youngsters must learn the strategies of their group if they want to become independent: hunting, finding water, digging the ground to extract roots and using stone tools to crack open palm nuts, their favourite food. These techniques and behaviours are passed across the generations and represent the culture of this population. Capuchins are one of the species that are likely losing their ancestral knowledge at our hands. Conservationists need to think about saving species in a new way – by preserving animal traditions as well as bodies and genes.

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Peng Yu Sai – Nitye Sood & Malaika Vaz

Winner – Professional (Conservation)

Peng Yu Sai is an investigative documentary that dives into the illegal trade pipeline for Manta Rays from India’s oceans. Even though most Indians don’t know that Manta Rays exist in our waters, India has still emerged as one of the largest exporters of gill plates in the world. Through this documentary, wildlife presenter Malaika Vaz follows the illegal trade trail from fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean to the Indo-Myanmar border, and then undercover in the wildlife trafficking hubs of Hong Kong and Guangzhou in China. Along the way, she meets with fishermen, middlemen, traffickers, armed forces and wildlife trade kingpins as she tries to understand what it will take to protect these magnificent animals. Peng Yu Sai aims to not only create awareness on this issue – but decisively influence legislative change to protect them under India’s wildlife laws.

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Conservation films, by the very nature of it combining filmmaking with impact on the ground, take patience, rigour and a commitment to make a difference. These films are few and far between, but become embedded as catalysts of change. Peng Yu Sai is a film like that – a film made with the commitment to make a difference.                                                                                             – Rita Banerji (Founder-Director, Dusty Foot Production)

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Kadar – Faraway Originals & Pollachi Papyrus

Special Jury Award – Professional (Conservation)

Courage was not taught to him. Neither was fear or instinct. His only education was the stories his mother told him. Kadar is a story that softly calls to you from the jungle. In the Anamalais, where the Kadar tribe or the 'People of the Forest' step gently alongside creatures that inhabit these wild slopes, there exists an unspoken bond. Loganathan, in his childhood, was taught to walk the wilderness in reverence for all the life that thrived here. This has been the way of the Kadar people. But every once in a while, perhaps unintentionally, boundaries are crossed and chaos comes calling in the dead of the night. This is the story of that night in the jungle, under a moonless sky, when a lone male tusker broke down Loganathan's door and stood right before him.

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If an elephant smashed down your home in the middle of the night, would you go back to rebuild and live in it or move to a safer place, far away from danger? That is what the film is about, the true test of who we are when the walls crumble around us – do we embrace or abandon? Add artistry and imaginative storytelling to the mix, and you will realise why 'Kadar' is such a refreshing and powerful new way of making conservation films.                      – Sara (Wildlife Filmmaker & Jury Curator, Nature inFocus Film Awards)

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Artisans in Nature – Akash Dolas

Winner – Mobile Moments

Footage shot on an OnePlus 7 smartphone showcases the intricate and dogged construction of a pot/receptacle by a Potter Wasp. Potter Wasps use mud pellets to mould an earthen receptacle, into which they lay eggs and stuff paralysed prey (fresh food for the newborns) before closing it shut. 

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