Nat Geo WILD Announces Winners of 'Wild to Inspire' Filmmaking Competition, Supporting Young Nature Documentarians

Mar 10, 2016 10:00 AM ET

On March 5, 21st Century Fox's Nat Geo WILD, in partnership with the Sun Valley Film Festival, announced Justin Grubb and Alex Goetz of Toledo, Ohio, as the winners of the third annual WILD TO INSPIRE filmmaking contest, which gives aspiring nature documentarians the chance to take an expedition to Africa. Over the next year, Grubb and Goetz will document their journeys to Nat Geo WILD viewers through video diaries, photos, social media and more, sharing their experience of what it's like to be Nat Geo WILD filmmakers. The contest is one of the many ways Nat Geo inspires viewers to explore the natural world and creates the next generation of global citizens.

"The WILD TO INSPIRE competition, hosted by our friends at Sun Valley Film Festival, has grown to be a beloved and coveted tradition for filmmakers and those who share a passion for all things wild," said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager for Nat Geo WILD.

Between October 19, 2015, and February 1, 2016, participants were asked to submit a five-minute short film that captured the stories of individuals letting the wild into their lives. Films were judged on the connection to the theme of "Let the WILD In," quality of the storyline and script, creativity and/or content originality, production quality and editing.

The short film by Grubb and Goetz was selected as winner from hundreds of online entries narrowed down to four finalists. The finalist films were screened by judges from Nat Geo WILD, the Sun Valley Film Festival, and several members of the media. As winners, Grubb and Goetz will travel to Africa this fall to share their wildlife adventures and give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to be a Nat Geo WILD filmmaker. The duo will share their experiences through a variety of media streams across Nat Geo WILD's digital platforms.

"To imagine creating content with an institution that's been around for 125 years, producing some of the most innovative work, is just incredible. I can't wait to take this opportunity to try and inspire others around the world and make a positive impact on wildlife and conservation," said Goetz.

Grubb and Goetz consider their winning film, "To the Explorers," to be an ode to all the adventurers, explorers and conservationists who dedicate everything they have to conservation, wildlife and the outdoors. The two filmmakers say their focus is on telling the stories of conservation and wildlife around the world, in an effort to raise awareness of the issues that affect our planet.

"It was incredible meeting the other contestants and learning about what inspires them to love the natural world," said Grubb. "The group had such energetic and dynamic enthusiasm about filmmaking, storytelling, natural history and conservation. It was great seeing such passion among emerging artists and it gives me overwhelming hope for the future of nature storytelling."

Other finalists in the competition included "Conowingo Dam Bald Eagles" by Mike Lemery, "In Search of a Moment" by David Fontneau, and "Wild Heroes of Uganda" by Marlina Moreno.

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