For Vancouver Island filmmakers Maxwel Hohn and Russell Clark, it’s the equivalent of being nominated for a couple of Oscars.
Their 2020 documentary short Tadpoles: The Big Little Migration — about the early life of the western toad — has been selected as a finalist at the Jackson Wild Media Awards, in the 2021 Animal Behavior Short Form and Ecosystem Short Form categories.
The Jackson Wild is an annual international media competition considered to be the highest bar of achievement in natural-history film making, and is commonly referred to as the Oscars of natural history films.
Hohn and Clark are in good company, as other finalists this year include the BBC’s natural history unit, Apple TV and David Attenborough’s A Life On Our Planet, as well as nominations for Netflix.
Submissions included more than 750 entries from 30 countries. Finalists were selected by a panel of 150 international judges who screened 3,000 hours of media.
Tadpoles: The Big Little Migration was a self-funded passion project. Hohn filmed at a remote, undisclosed lake on northern Vancouver Island, and it was edited and produced in the Comox Valley.
“We are humbled to have our film alongside so many inspiring productions.” said Hohn. “Our story of the western toad tadpole seems to have really connected with people all over Canada, and the world. It’s being played in schools, it’s been given over a dozen film laurels, it caught the attention of TV production companies, and most importantly, it’s kept people entertained in a unique way.”
“The film really connected to people’s childhood memories of toads and tadpoles.” said Clark, the film’s writer and editor. “It touched a nerve with the public and with the natural-history film industry. To see it as a finalist at Jackson Wild is a huge honour.”
Winners will be announced during the Jackson Wild Media Awards gala on Sept. 30 in Jackson, Wyoming.