Filmmaker and photographer Ami Vitale has traveled to more than 100 countries, bearing witness not only to violence and conflict, but also to surreal beauty and the enduring power of the human spirit. Throughout the years, Ami has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit— keeping true to her belief in the importance of “living the story.” In 2009, after shooting a powerful story on the transport and release of one the world’s last northern white rhinos, Ami shifted her focus to today’s most compelling wildlife and environmental stories. She is a founding member of Ripple Effect Images, an organization of renowned female scientists, writers, photographers and filmmakers working together to create powerful and persuasive stories that shed light on the hardships women in developing countries face and the programs that can help them. She is chairperson of the National Geographic Photography Advisory Board and sits on the Photojournalism Advisory Council for the Alexia Foundation. After more than a decade covering conflict, she couldn’t help but notice that the less sensational—but equally true—stories were often not getting told: the wedding happening around
the corner from the revolution, triumphs amidst seemingly endless devastation. Her belief that “you can’t talk about humanity without talking about nature” led her to chronicle her journey from documenting warzones to telling some of the most compelling wildlife and environmental stories of our time, where individuals are making a profound difference in the future of their communities and this planet. Currently based in Montana, Ami Vitale is a speaker, explorer, writer and contract photographer with National Geographic.
Audience Award Best Short Film 2021