Announcing 2023 Films for the Forest Winners


RP Team

May 31, 2023

Rainforest with flowers and plants with text Winning Films 2023 Films for the Forest - Theme "Living Forests. Thriving Future"

Do you remember watching a film that inspired you to take action? The art of filmmaking can transport us to new places, introduce us to new perspectives, and tell stories that resonate with us on a deeper level. At Rainforest Partnership, we believe in the transformative power of film and that is why we created Films for the Forest, our international film challenge, back in 2010.

Films for the Forest is both a platform for filmmakers to tell the stories of the people, the places and the challenges facing the rainforests and a place to bring together forest enthusiasts and others who understand the power of storytelling to ignite passion, drive action, and unite us all in our shared mission to protect our planet's precious resources.

This annual competition celebrates talented filmmakers who use their craft to make a difference, shining a light on the vital importance of protecting our forests. Through our global screenings, audiences are active participants in the movement to preserve our natural world and raise awareness that spreads outwards.

This year’s competition theme is "Living Forests. Thriving Future", which challenged filmmakers to express the urgent need for collective action and commitment to stop climate change, and to showcase the value of healthy, standing forests for the future of humanity and our planet.

“Protecting standing tropical rainforests is a climate solution that plays a vital role in our collective future, no matter where on the planet we live,” said Niyanta Spelman Founder and CEO of Rainforest Partnership.

Films for the Forest Submissions

This year, we received one of the highest amount of film submissions, 83 films from filmmakers all over the world. Filmmakers submitted films in five categories of short films (length between 1 – 20 minutes long):

  • Documentary Shorts
  • Narrative Shorts
  • Animated Shorts
  • Youth Category (Under 18)
  • Indigenous Category (IPLC)
Green wold map on rainforest background with pins representing the locatons of the 2023 Films for the Forest winners
Locations of Films for the Forest Winners

Films for the Forest Winners and Runners-Up

We’re excited to announce this year’s winners and runners-up in each category.

Documentary Shorts Winner

Bleeding Gold

Directed by Thaelman Urgelles & Juan Urgell

Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

In the southeast region of Venezuela, officially known as the Orinoco Mining Arc, an unprecedented ecocide is taking place, where a complex criminal network with transnational characteristics is being articulated. Its consequences are massively damaging the environment and the human rights of dozens of indigenous communities, leading to a historical environmental catastrophe hidden in the lungs of the planet.

Documentary Shorts Winner - Bleeding Gold

Documentary Shorts Runner-up

Tam Mỹ Tây

Directed by James Thomson

Viet Nam

A group of friends create a community patrol to protect the vulnerable grey-shanked douc langur. As plantations divide their habitat in central Vietnam, forest owner Mr Danh looks to his neighbours for help.

Documentary Shorts Runner-up - Tam Mỹ Tây

Narrative Shorts Winner

Anna, Greta, Sophie, and the Rainforest

Directed by Ida Anita Del Mundo


Three generations of women use technology and memory to bring love and humanity into a desolate, dystopian wasteland.

Narrative Shorts Winner - Anna, Greta, Sophie, and the Rainforest

Narrative Shorts Runner-up


Directed by Katelyn Downing

United States

Pyrocene is a non-dialogue film about a girl who realizes children have died from a forest fire, caused by climate change.

Narrative Shorts Runner-up - Pyrocene

Animated Shorts Winner

The Sprayer

Directed by Farnoosh Abedi

Islamic Republic of Iran

In the land occupied with the sprayers army, no one has the right to grow any kind of plants either in public or private. So many of the people and soldiers do not even know how dose a plant grows or look like, until one day one of the soldiers finds a seed buried deep down in the dust and his curiosity is just the beginning of something extraordinary, something big, something revolutionary.

Animated Shorts - WinnerThe Sprayer

Animated Shorts Runner-up

Footprints In The Forest

Directed by Juhaidah Joemin & Sandra Khoo


A recently orphaned rhino tries to find a new home in the wilds of the Borneo rainforest.

Animated Shorts Runner-up - Footprints In The Forest

Indigenous (IPLC) Films Winner

Our Children's River

Directed by Dominic Gill

United States | Ecuador

In 2022, Encompass partnered with the Honnold Foundation to produce a film about the Kofan indigenous community in the Ecuadorian rainforest. This community, after bearing the brunt of the effects of colonization for the last several hundred years, is now threatened by large energy companies that aim to extract resources from their territory.  The Honnold Foundation is partnered with the Ceibo Alliance, an organization of 4 indigenous nationalities, including the Kofan. Together, they have worked to distribute solar energy within tribal territories, providing the tribes with increased autonomy. This film examines the relationship that the Kofan have cultivated with their territory over centuries, and highlights their efforts to protect their land from exploitation.

Indigenous (IPLC) Films Winner - Our Children's River

Indigenous (IPLC) Films Runner-up


Directed by Ritchie Hemphill, Ryan Haché


Məca is a stop motion representation of the late Elder Ida Smith telling her grandson the 'Nakwax'daxw legend of the Mink. In this film Ida tells the story in the Bak̓wa̱mk̓ala language. Mink, or "Məca", is an impatient son of the Sun who is trying to force himself into being someone other than he is, so that he can impress love interests. Throughout his journey Məca will learn what it means to have humility, patience, and to be better at self acceptance.

Indigenous (IPLC) Films Runner-up - Məca

Youth (Under 18 years old) Winner

The Speech of Txai Surui

Directed by Students of the Multimedia Project of Escola Parque


The memorable and historic speech by Txai Suruí at the opening of COP-26: UN Conference on Climate Change, in Glasgow, Scotland (2021). Txai Suruí is a Brazilian indigenous activist leader, of the Paiter-Suruí ethnic group. Film made in stop motion and 2d animation by the high school students of Escola Parque (Multimedia Project).

Youth (Under 18 years old) Winner - The Speech of Txai Surui


Youth (Under 18 years old) Runner-up

The Legend of Patrick Greenwood

Directed by Glen Bowler


A retired soldier turned gardener considers what legacy he will leave behind.

Youth (Under 18 years old) Runner-up - The Legend of Patrick Greenwood

‍2023 Films for the Forest Judges

The judges panel is made up of four talented individuals from the film, TV, and music industries. Each brings a unique perspective and commitment to the visual stories of the rainforest. We appreciate their efforts in reviewing the film submissions.

Richard Linklater - Director and screenwriter

Richard has been the Films for the Forest competition Head Judge since the beginning of the competition. Born in Houston, Texas, Richard Linklater suspended his education at Sam Houston State University in 1982 to work on an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. He subsequently relocated to the state's capital of Austin, where he founded a film society and began work on his debut film, “It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books” (1988).

Richard gained critical acclaim for his film “Boyhood” (2014), which took 12 years to film and won him a BAFTA for Best Director and Best Picture, Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Movie Award. He also earned nominations for the Academy Award for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay.

Iwan Rheon - Actor and musician

Iwan has been our judge at Films for the Forest for three years in a row. He is best known for his roles as Simon Bellamy in “Misfits” , Ramsay Bolton in “Game of Thrones,” and Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars in the film “The Dirt”.

In early 2015, he also wrote and recorded a full-length album, called “Dinard”, while filming seasons four and five of GOT. Since 2019 he has been an Ambassador for WWF UK , and in 2021 he joined WWF Cymru and Size of Wales, in an effort to have Wales become the first 'deforestation-free nation'.

Calum Worthy - Actor and activist

Calum Worthy began his acting career at the age of nine and made his film debut in the BBC award-winning mini-series I Was A Rat. His most acclaimed roles include Hulu’s The Act, Netflix’s American Vandal, Eminem’s Bodied, and Disney Channel’s Austin & Ally.

Calum is a vocal activist for the environmental movement and is currently working with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project and Bono’s One organization. He has millions of followers across his social media platforms which he dedicates to educating and empowering his fan base on the climate crisis and gender inequality in developing countries.

Brenda Asnicar - Actress, singer, model, and dancer

Brenda Asnicar is an Argentinian actress, singer, dancer, and model. She began her musical career at 11 years old, and her first acting role was at the age of 16 in the acclaimed Argentinian Telenovela "Patito Feo" She is also known for her roles in Televisa's "Corazón Valiente" Nickelodeon's "Sueña Conmigo" and FOX's "Cumbia Ninja".

Since 2022 Brenda has worked hand in hand with other artists in building awareness for rainforest conservation.

About Films for the Forest

Launched by Rainforest Partnership in 2010, Films for the Forest invites filmmakers from around the world to share the voices and stories of forests worldwide, highlighting their rich biodiversity and local communities, their immense beauty and importance to the entire planet, the threats they face, and the opportunities for renewal.