Get to know Blue Ventures’ Biography of Madame Kokoly

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Kokoly Kokoly

The NatureTrack Film Festival is excited to welcome Tom Collinson, a representative of Blue Ventures, which produced Kokoly. Blue Ventures is a British marine conservation NGO, dedicated to rebuilding tropical fisheries with coastal communities.

While there are many films about the impact of climate change on our biodiversity, it is also important to highlight the impact of climate change on the humans who rely upon that biodiversity to live.

Madame Kokoly

Kokoly offers an insight into the life of an incredible woman. Against a backdrop of extreme poverty, personal loss and a marine environment changing beyond her control, Kokoly lives on a knife edge. Kokoly follows a traditional Vezo fisherwoman Madame Kokoly – as she reflects on her life experiences and carries out her daily routine in and around the coastal waters of southwest Madagascar. This film features female-only voices from one of Africa’s most remote regions.

Says Blue Ventures, “This film was produced with support from the Skoll Foundation and is a product of the Sundance Institutes ‘Stories of Change’ grant.

The film is a powerful and personal exploration of how one woman is navigating her daily life against a backdrop of poverty and marine biodiversity loss. It’s important that voices from marginalised communities are amplified; communities who will bear the brunt of the effects of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss. We hope this film will be a valuable contribution to this conversation.”

Learn more: Read Oceanographic Magazine article by Garth Cripps


Get to know attending filmmaker Preston Maag

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Poster ac1d8a496f-poster 3

The NatureTrack Film Festival is excited to welcome UCSB alumni Preston Maag to the 2020 Festival in Los Olivos, March 20-22. From the very beginning, NTFF has worked to develop a special relationship with UCSB’s budding filmmakers and has been proud to showcase their student work the last 2 years.

Preston Maag

This year, we are excited to introduce Director Preston Magg to our audience. His film, “10 Miles Out” was shot in our local backcountry and “follows backpackers of various skill and experience levels – from beginners to die-hard backpacking aficionados – as they navigate through the Los Padres National Forest, which spans from Ventura to Monterey Counties.” We are sure many in our audience will recognize some of the trails and maybe some of the people featured! Preston will be available after his screening to offer insights and answer any questions about his film.

Like NatureTrack, Preston believes that nature can be the perfect escape from the “chaotic cacophony of our technologically-driven society by simply spending some time enveloped in nature.”

Says Preston, “Growing up, one of my favorite hobbies was going camping. Many weekends were spent huddled around a campfire sharing stories and eating good food with family and friends. As I got older, these weekends began getting replaced as schedules filled with separate interests. It was not until earlier this year when I discovered the world of backpacking. My friend took me on a brief overnight trip into the Los Padres National Forest, and I was immediately hooked. Coming from a camping background wherein my supplies came from the bed of my car, Backpacking kept all the gear on my back. As an avid hiker, this gave me the option of hiking to beautiful places and rather than hiking back, being able to setup camp where nobody else was. After my first trip, I felt inclined to share my experience with people in the form of a film. “10 Miles Out” is an experiential documentary meant to provide general knowledge on backpacking as well as inspire people to get outside and enjoy what is available to them on a daily basis.”

Preston’s film career began in 2017 with the premiere of “La Luz” in Santa Ana, California. After transferring to UC Santa Barbara that same year, Preston quickly became a dynamic student of the film program. In a brief two years, he was part of over 30 student productions including a few credits as a Director and Director of Photography. His current film “10 Miles Out” was a 2019 GreenScreen Premier at the Carsey Wolf Center at UCSB. He works to capture stories that motivate people to consider their relationship with nature and technology. He plans to continue pursuing his dream in nature filmmaking.

We are adding more films to the festival!

In addition to the films that are selected from the hundreds submitted through FilmFreeway, the NTFF team also curates additional films that we feel would be of special interest to our guests.

So far, we are very pleased to announce that we have curated in the following excellent films!

Directed by Chris Smead

A feature length film about the Uinta Highline Trail

2018 NTFF “Rae Lakes” Film Documentary
2019 NTFF “The High Sierra Trail”
For most of human history, we lived in wild places.
Ten days. Five friends. One trek across Utah’s Uinta Highline Trail.
Watch as the ancient history of the trail is woven together with the personal history of each of the hikers as they get back in touch with the world, and each other. Rainier_in_pastel_light_-2

My Friends Were Mountaineers
Directed by Eric Beckeer

A short length film about Dee Molenaar

Dee Molenaar is an American mountaineer, artist, and cartographer who spent his life among the mountains. While celebrating his 100th birthday, the film explores his years working as a mountain guide and park ranger in Mount Rainer National Park, and the worldwide expeditions that he participated in, including the first ascent of Mount Kennedy along with Jim Whittaker and Robert Kennedy.

Warren Miller’s Timeless,
presented by Volkswagen

A feature length film about the Uinta Highline Trail

2018 NTFF “Line of Descent” & Warren Miller Tribute video
2019 NTFF Volkswagen presents Warren Miller’s “Face of Winter”

The only constant is change, but the spirit of winter is eternal. Featuring ski legends like Glen Plake, alongside newcomers Caite Zeliff, Jaelin Kauf, and Baker Boyd. Road-trip with rippers from Arlberg to the Matterhorn, be immersed in the hometown hill of Eldora and discover a different side of Jackson Hole, plus much more, as we celebrate 70 years of ski cinematography and travel with top athletes across the globe to renowned mountain locations.

Screen Shot 2019-12-12 at 2.25.40 PM

Announcing 2020 NTFF Film Selections

The NatureTrack Film Festival is proud to announce the films which will be judged and screened during the March 20-22, 2020 film festival!

Check back on January 1 to learn more about each film!

10 Miles Out
Directed by Preston Maag 83° Ski the North
Directed by Matthias Meyr Amrita
Directed by Swati Agarwal BALLY Peak Outlook Everest Cleanup Expedition
Directed by Samir Jung Thapa Bayandalai – Lord of the Tioga
Directed by Aner Etxebarria Moral & Pablo Vidal Santos The Beauty
Directed by Pascal Schelbli The Beaver Believers
Directed by Sarah Koenigsberg The Bee Rescuer
Directed by Bidit Roy Better Together
Directed by Isaac Hernandez Bicycle Hero
Directed by Gopal Shivakoti Birth of a Pride
Directed by Wildlife Films The Butterfly Trees
Directed by Kay Milam By Hand
Directed by Kellen Keene Carrizo Plain – A Sense of Place
Directed by Jeff McLoughlin Colors of Longyearbyen
Directed by Feline Geerhardt Conservation Challenge: Saving Papua’s Leather Back Turtles
Directed by John K. Dutton The Earthing Movie: The Remarkable Science of Grounding
Directed by Josh Tickell & Rebecca Tickell Escape
Directed by Yeliz Motro Everyday Cyclists: Challenging Prejudice
Directed by Bidit Roy Ferret Town
Directed by Virginia Moore The Final Breach
Directed by Jess Webster Free to Dive
Directed by Julien Granier George & The Whales
Directed by Nessim Stevenson Glimpses of Ice
Directed by Christian Uhlig Guidance
Directed by John M. Mastriano The Hart
Directed by Henry Lin Home
Directed by Inuk Jørgensen The Human
Directed by Harko Wubs ICEolation
Directed by Sophie Ballagh & Ewan Blyth Inside the Fence
Directed by Daniel Clarke & Amy Pysden The Kodiak Queen
Directed by Rob Sorrenti Kokoly
Directed by Blue Ventures Lammergeier, the Wind’s Beards
Directed by Manu Mateo Literacy for Environmental Justice: Cultivating Youth Leaders in Southeast San Francisco
Directed by Kristin Tieche Lost Kings of Bioko
Directed by Oliver Goetzl The Middle Way
Directed by Dean Leslie One Breath Around the World
Directed by Guillaume Néry One. Long. Day.
Directed by Robert Jahrig Out There – Cypress Provincial Park
Directed by Christopher R. Abbey Poachers and Protectors: The Story of Scarlet Macaws in Honduras
Directed by Christi Lowe Queen without Land
Directed by Asgeir Helgestad Realm of the Robber
Directed by Moritz Katz & Braydon Moloney (Re)Connecting Wild
Directed by Jake Willers Rios Patagonicos
Directed by Marie Leclère & Bruno Fromento River Raisin Legacy Project
Directed by Bradley M. Egan Rooted in Arizona
Directed by Christian Ely Saliega’s Lineage, the Return of the Iberian Lynx
Directed by Javier Ortega Martínez Six Mile Stretch
Directed by Carol Chambers Spinnaker Documentary
Directed by Nadine Licostie Street Surfers
Directed by Arthur Neumeier Taming Wild: Pura Vida
Directed by Elsa Sinclair Things Were Better Before
Directed by Lu Pulici Threats in the Northern Seas
Directed by Jacques Lœuille Traces
Directed by Sébastien Pins Victory Swim
Directed by Matt Yamashita Visions of the Lost Sierra
Directed by Matt Ritenour Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago
Directed by: Lydia B. Smith A Walk Through the Land of a Thousand Hills
Directed by Chema Domenech Waters of March
Directed by Elizabeth Lewis Waters of the U.S.
Directed by Kelly Marshall Wild as a Raspberry
Directed by Zahra Alemohammadi The Wild Heart of Spain
Directed by Nacho Ruiz Rizaldos Wild Hope
Directed by Dave Devine & Suez Jacobson Wild Toddler Chronicles: Legacy
Directed by Brian Lewis Yikásdáhí – Awaits the Dawn
Directed by Gabriela Clar Young Hunters
Directed by Iris Grob Screen Shot 2019-12-02 at 5.14.50 PM

Creek Week Featuring Showing of 3 NTFF Films!

Movie Night Under the Stars
Saturday, September 28

Watershed Resource Center at Arroyo Burro County Beach Park, 2981 Cliff Dr

Films start at sundown. Approx. 8:00pm.

The NatureTrack Film Festival (NTFF) is proud to partner with ExploreEcology during Creek Week. Bring a picnic, blankets, and chairs for an evening of water-related films at the Arroyo Burro County Beach park!

The triple feature lineup features 3 films shown during the 2018 or 2019 NTFF events. These excellent films: FishPeople, We Live Underwater, and Our Last Trash, bring extraordinary attention to the importance of our most precious commodity – water.

Contact Liz Smith or (805) 897-2606 for details.

USA, 2017, 52 mins.
Directed by Keith Malloy Photo 4 03_the_jetlagged_sinking_the_biorock We Live Underwater
Germany, 2015, 7 mins.
Directed by Hendrik S. Schmitt Our Last Trash Our Last Trash
United States, 2018, 20 mins.
Directed by Joanne Yue

March 20-22, 2020


Founded by Sue Eisaguirre, NatureTrack introduces school children to outdoor spaces from the seashore to the inland oak woodlands of Santa Barbara County. Our mission at NatureTrack is to encourage students to embrace our natural world with respect and wonder, inspiring them to be stewards of our natural resources. Since its founding in 2011, NatureTrack has provided nearly 18,000 outdoor experiences for K-12 students in Santa Barbara County.

Sue was inspired to bring her outdoor vision indoors and onscreen at the NatureTrack Film Festival so more people could enjoy and appreciate what her docents and students practice and experience in their outdoor “classrooms.”

What are our Partners up to?

Welcome to our new Partner!

We are excited to welcome Badger as our latest Partner! They have a wonderful mission to “…create fabulously pure and effective products of the highest natural quality, based on simplicity and thoughtful preparation, with the intention to protect, soothe, and heal.” They also believe in running their business so that it is “…fun, fair, and profitable; where money is fuel, not a goal; and where our vision for a healthier world finds expression through the way we work and through the way we treat each other and the people we serve.”

Passholders will receive one of their classic lip balms in the Passholder Swag Bag, along with many other special goodies from other Partners!

Looking for a fun outing in Goleta?
Check out M. Special Brewing Companies 4th Anniversary Event!




BBC Earth Offers Filming Techniques

Crew filming "Loved by All: The Story of Apa Sherpa," directed by Eric Crosland. Crew filming “Loved by All: The Story of Apa Sherpa,” directed by Eric Crosland.

Who doesn’t want to record incredible footage!

Those who attend the NatureTrack Film Festival often marvel at footage that seems almost impossible to record on film. We have been fortunate to have many filmmakers attend over the last two years to talk about their films being screened, answer questions, and explain the techniques and thought process that went into their creative decisions. Many of them are self-taught, many have attended film school, or have been mentored by other professionals in the field. We always enjoy hearing their perspective and eagerly look forward to meeting the new filmmakers and welcoming back our NTFF seasoned filmmakers.

For amateurs, filming a story can be a bit daunting. Most of us just try to muddle through and hope it turns out ok. Wistfully though, we all desire to learn just enough to improve on the casual films captured on trips or during special occasions.

Luckily, in a quick search online, a myriad of self-help lessons are there for the browsing to the casually curious. One site, BBC Earth, offers almost a dozen little insights into their process that are very interesting to read.

BBC Earth produces some of the most amazing nature films recorded in recent history. Their mission, “Think beyond your everyday world, and experience the Universe as it really is,” allows them to cover “anything from big questions about our Universe to the road to humanity and how we got here; from understanding how life itself evolved to the catastrophes that shaped our planet, and the weird and wonderful behaviours of the species that call Earth home.”

Within BBC Earth’s website, there is a tab dedicated to information about different filming techniques. From capturing “sounds of nature” to  “filming with remotely operated cameras” to “working with animals for wildlife films”, BBC Nature offers 9 different little explanations into how they captured incredible footage, which might help you in your nature filmmaking!


Bee’s Wrap is returning as a Partner with the NatureTrack Film Festival

Our Partners are the best!

Please join us in thanking BeesWrap for its continued support!

According to their website, “Bee’s Wrap was founded in 2012 by Vermonter Sarah Kaeck, a mother of three who has been, by turns, an avid gardener, milker of goats, keeper of chickens, and seamstress. Bee’s Wrap started with a question facing many families and home cooks: How could we eliminate plastics in our kitchen in favor of a healthier, more sustainable way to store our food?

What she discovered is a lost tradition made new again. By infusing organic cotton with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin, she created a washable, reusable, and compostable alternative to plastic wrap.”

Director Holly Cline has used Bee’s Wrap for years and loves their product! As a more sustainable alternative to plastic and foil, she has found Bee’s Wrap to seal well around bowls and objects, and is super easy to clean.

NTFF is so excited that Bee’s Wrap will be donating samples of their product again for our pass holder swag bags. #beeswrap

@beeswrap on Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram

Together we can make a difference!

The NatureTrack Film Festival is so grateful for the continued support of our Partners in the community. These relationships not only help the film festival be a success, but also support the larger Cause of the NatureTrack Foundation – leading the way in bestowing the benefits of being outdoors on thousands of kids every year. Many studies support the health benefits for all of us when we get outside. A particularly excellent article on this topic was written by Kevin Loria for Business Insider.

But for some families, access to the outdoors is greatly limited. Sue, Holly and KC attended panel discussions at ORS that addressed the challenges facing the outdoor industry in attracting lower income and more diverse explorers, campers, climbers, hikers, bikers and surfers, etc. This is where the mission of NatureTrack has significant impact in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as its K-12 student, parent and teacher demographic is 70% Hispanic, 24.6% Caucasian, 4% Asian, 1% African American, <1% Islander, < 1% Indian/Alaskan Native, <1% 2 or more races. Also, 60% of students served are from low to moderate income families who qualify for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program.

Join with us!

The NatureTrack Film Festival has partner opportunities at a variety of levels. If you would like to explore how you can support NatureTrack through the film festival, download our Partner Packet here or contact Sue at 805-886-2047.

“Our Last Trash” is a semi-finalist in the Student Academy Awards.

Congratulations to Joanne Yue!

Shown during the 2019 NatureTrack Film Festival, Joanne Yue director and producer of “Our Last Trash” was notified through FilmFreeway that her film had advanced to the semi-final round of the 46th Annual Student Academy Awards. One of 81 films to advance this year, out of 1615 received, “Our Last Trash” is now in the roughly top 5% of all films submitted.

Our Last Trash highlights the implications of plastic pollution in the environment, and how some individuals are combating this issue through a “zero waste” lifestyle.

Joanne was an intern for the NatureTrack Film Festival in 2018 while she was a student at UCSB. Her film “Our Last Trash” debuted at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival before the showing in March at NTFF.

Since then, we have watched Joanne’s movie be awarded the “Best Short Film” this year from the Colorado Environmental Film Festival and selected for the “Wild and Scenic Tour” which took “Our Last Trash” and Joanne around the United States.

We are so happy for Joanne and wish her the best outcome in the Student Academy Awards. If you would like to follow Joanne’s journey you can connect on Facebook.