The 6th edition of the Nature inFocus Festival got underway on August 2 at Chamara Vajra, Jayamahal Road in Bengaluru. Nature and wildlife enthusiasts from across the country flocked to the venue in the centre of India’s garden city to attend talks, film screenings, along with the 120-image photography exhibition. The three-day festival also witnessed the announcement of the prestigious NiF Photography Awards and the inaugural NiF Film Awards on Sunday.
Shuvam Nath took home the grand prize of the NiF Photographer of the Year for his image ‘Buzz-kill’ which also won in the Animal Behaviour category. Sounak Datta won the Animal Portraits category for ‘Nothing To See Here’, Aniket Thopate won the Creative Nature Photography category for ‘You’ll Float Too’, Salil Nair won the Wildscape & Animals in Habitat category for ‘In Heat, On Snow’.
'Buzz-kill' by Shuvam Nath
'You'll Float Too' by Aniket Thopate
'In Heat, on Snow' by Salil Nair
The Conservation Issues category was shared between three images: ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ by Sarang Naik, ‘Crossing The Styx’ by Ankit Kashyap and ‘New Enemies’ by Devki Nandan. The Young Photographer category was won by Wewin Pandian.
'Crossing the Styx' by Ankit Kashyap
By Wewin Pandian
The inaugural NiF Film Awards was divided into two segments: Professional and Emerging Talent. In the Professional segment, the Conservation film category was won by Pankaj Singh and Shaktiraj Jadeja for their film ‘The Boy Who Saw More’, and the Natural History film category by Mihir Godbole and Vishwatej Pawar for their film ‘Treasures of Grasslands’.
Mihir Godbole and Vishwatej Pawar won for 'Treasures of Grasslands'
In the Emerging Talent segment, Aravind Mohanraaj and Cibi won the Conservation film category for their film ‘The Wetland’s Wail’, and Hardik Rathod won the Natural History film category for his film ‘The Bird Who Never Gave Up’.
The Mobile Moments award for an edited or unedited video clip shot on a mobile phone that captures an incredible moment of animal behaviour went to Ravi Shankar for ‘Enter The Dragon.’
NiF Photography Awards
The NiF Photography Awards is a six-category award with a bracket solely dedicated to conservation issues. Lined up for the contest are entries from both adults (above 17) and young photographers (17 years and under). Winners will be chosen in the categories of Animal Portraits, Animal Behaviour, Conservation Issues, Creative Nature Photography, and Wildscape & Animals in Habitat. Open to those under 17, the ‘Young Photographer Award’ will put the spotlight on fresh and passionate young talent.
Category winners will be awarded a cash prize of Rs. 50,000 and a guided safari tour to a national park of choice (Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Ranthambore, Tadoba and Corbett only) courtesy of Nature Wanderers, while category runners-up will get a cash prize of Rs. 25,000 and second runners-up will get Rs. 10,000.
An additional cash prize of Rs. 50,000 and a trip to the Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya courtesy of Nature Wanderers awaits the ‘NiF Photographer of the Year.’ All winners and runners-up are also entitled to a certificate and a winner’s trophy.
The winners this year are chosen by a 5-member jury comprising photographer and filmmaker Jyothy Karat; independent environmental photographer Arati Kumar-Rao, IFS; Chief Conservator of Forests Vijay Mohan Raj; renowned wildlife photographer Sudhir Shivaram; and wildlife filmmaker and photojournalist Sandesh Kadur. The jury curator is Nature inFocus co-founder, Kalyan Varma who is a wildlife photographer, filmmaker and naturalist.
NiF Film Awards
The Awards invited entries from both professional and emerging filmmakers. Both Professional and Emerging Talent categories have two sub-categories in Natural History and Conservation. Participants in the Emerging Talent category can tell a story of an animal, plant or habitat in under 5 minutes in the Natural History segment or can highlight a conservation issue in under 5 minutes in the Conservation segment. The Emerging Talent category is only open to Indian participants. In the Professional category, the films can be of any length and can be submitted from anywhere in the world. The Mobile Moments category is also open to all, an edited or unedited video clip shot on a mobile phone that captures an incredible moment of animal behaviour.
The Emerging Talent and Professional category winners will each be awarded a cash prize of Rs. 50,000 and the Mobile Moment category winner will receive a cash prize of Rs. 10,000.
The winners this year are chosen by a 7-member jury comprising of Rita Banerji, Founder-Director at Dusty Foot Productions; Gautam Pandey, Director at Riverbank Studios; Akanksha Sood Singh, a Natural History Filmmaker; Raghu Chundawat, a Conservation Biologist; Joanna Van Gruisen, a Wildlife Filmmaker; and Manish Mundra, the Founder of Drishyam Films. The jury curator is Sara, a wildlife filmmaker and a member of the NiF Advisory Board.
About Nature inFocus
Nature inFocus is in the space of curation and dissemination of information about India's wild spaces. It aims to do this by using photography as a tool to make these conversations accessible to everyone.
Founded in 2014 by Kalyan Varma and Rohit Varma, Nature inFocus started as an offline event for the wildlife and nature community in the country. The Nature inFocus Festival is the one and only event of its kind in Asia, where photographers, filmmakers, conservationists and researchers come together to showcase their work, stay informed on global happenings and discuss important topics of conservation and more.
In 2015, Nature inFocus introduced its inaugural Photography Awards and with all the amazing content pouring in from the festival and the awards, a year later, NiF created an online space that would help archive this material for the larger public experience.