Earthwatch Film Awards

Film Awards

From 1986 to 2009, Earthwatch held a unique partnership with the National Geographic Society to honor documentaries that highlight conservation efforts.

To this day, these movies inspire, entertain, and educate, while providing viewers a look at what makes the Earth the wonderful place it as, and what is required to preserve it.

Wild Ocean

Wild Ocean
Each year an unbelievable feeding frenzy takes place in the oceans of South Africa as billions of sardines migrate up the KwaZulu-Natal Coast.

Winners: Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas.


The 11th Hour

The 11th Hour
This film looks at the state of the global environment, including visionary and practical solutions for restoring the planet’s ecosystems.

Winners: Leonardo DiCaprio, Leila Conners Petersen, Nadia Petersen.


Dimming the Sun

Dimming the Sun
New evidence that air pollution has masked the full impact of global warming suggests the world may soon face a heightened climate crisis.

Winners: David Sington and Duncan Copp.


A Life Among Whales

A Life Among Whales
This film allows delves deeply into the unique relationship between humans and whales, and contemplates whether whale hunting should be banned, as told by renowned whale biologist Dr. Roger Payne.

Winners: Bill Haney and Dr. Roger Payne (Lifetime Achievement Award).



Wolfgang Bayer has made wildlife films for 30 years. After a heart attack in the wilderness, he spent a year with his family on his worldly filmmaking jaunts. This film chronicles that year, and shows changes this produced in the relationships within his family.

Winners: Wolfgang and Tristan Bayer.


Lords of the Arctic

Lords of the Arctic
The first in-depth look at the polar bear, the majestic creature that has fascinated man since the days of the Pharaohs.

Winner: Caroline Underwood.


Matrix of Life

Matrix of Life
Water and air move endlessly together, atoms linking and delinking to form ocean and atmosphere. Scientists are discovering just how complex this matrix is where water defies human boundaries and human ownership. This is Episode 2 of The Balance of Life, a four-part documentary.

Winner: Dr. David Suzuki (Lifetime Achievement Award).


Crown of the Continent

Crown of the Continent
Crown of the Continent explores Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, in Alaska, and includes stunning, artful photography.

Winner: John Grabowska.


Of Ochre and Water

Of Ochre and Water
Journey over 7 years into the memory and landscape of the nomadic Himba people of the arid Northern Namibia.

Winners: Joelle Chesselet and Craig Matthew.


Eyeball to Eyeball

Eyeball to Eyeball
First Person was a TV series covering a range of topics. Eyeball to Eyeball was Episode 6 of Season 1, and featured Clyde Roper, the authority on the giant squid.

Winner: Errol Morris.


Realm of the Lobster

Realm of the Lobster
Investigates the lobster’s habitat and follows its life from birth to maturity.

Winners: Clarita Berger and Nick Caloyianis.


Heroes of the High Frontier

Heroes of the High Frontier
Rain Forest: Heroes of the High Frontier follows several nimble explorers into the upper reaches of the rain-forest canopy, where more than half of the Earth's species sprout, hatch, or wriggle their way into the world.

Winner: Tim Scoones.


Tales of the Tides

Tales of the Tides
The story of the legendary competition between the animals living on the wild coast of northern Kenya.

Winners: Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone.


Me & Isaac Newton

Me & Isaac Newton
Seven of today’s top scientist/researchers are the subject of this humorous exploration of real people behind the white lab coats.

Winner: Michael Apted.


Heroes of the High Frontier

A Place in the Land
Winner: Charles Guggenheim.

Cuba 15
Winner: Elizabeth Schub.

Endangered Species
Winner: Robert Nixon.

Fast, Cheap & Out of Control
Winner: Errol Morris.


Heroes of the High Frontier

Falling Down Stairs
Winner: Barbara Willis Sweete.

Scary Man
Winners: Eugenie Jansen and Albert Elings.

The Last Frog
Winner: Allison Argo.

Mulholland's Dream
Winner: Jon Else.


Heroes of the High Frontier

Seeds of Tibet: Voices of Children in Exile
Winners: Toby Beach, Luke Wolbach and Peter Yost.

Kerala India: Literacy and Social Reform
Winners: Jack Robertson, Roger Grange and Barbara Zahm.

My Father’s Garden
Winner: Miranda Smith.

Death by Design
Winners: Peter Friedman and Jean-Francois Brunet.


Heroes of the High Frontier

A Naturalist in the Rainforest
Winner: Paul Feyling.

Nepal: The Power of Women’s Groups
Winners: Chris Beaver, Judy Irving and Jack Robertson.

Vampires, Devilbirds & Spirits: Tales of the Calypso Isles
Winner: Nick Upton.

The Fragile Ring of Life
Winners: Meyer Odze and Jeff Swicord.


Heroes of the High Frontier

Webs of Intrigue
Winners: Densey Clyne and Jim Frazier.

901: After 45 years of Working
Winner: Eames Demetrios.

Tempus de Baristas
Winner: David MacDougall.


Heroes of the High Frontier

Paris: The Story of a City
Winner: Stan Neumann.

The House With Knights
Winner: Marina Goldovskaya.

River Out of Time: A Journey Through Tanu Tuva
Winner: John Knoop.

Big Tree County
Winner: Hao Zhi Qiang.


Heroes of the High Frontier

Javna – Reindeer Herdsman in the Year 2000
Winner: Stefan Jarl.

The Last Rivermen
Winners: Robert Nixon and John Cronin.

Anima Mundi
Winner: Godfrey Reggio.

The Inland Sea
Winners: Lucille Carra and Brian Cotnoir.


Heroes of the High Frontier

Killer Whales in the Wild
Winner: Michael Chechik.

Bali Beyond the Postcard
Winners: Peggy Stern and Davis Dawkins.

Marc & Ann
Winners: Les Blank, Maureen Gosling and Chris Simon.

Once More into the Termite Mound
Winner: Sir David Attenborough.


Heroes of the High Frontier

Black Water
Winners: Charlotte Cerf and Allen Moore.

The River Farmer
Winner: Amee Evans.

Island of Hope: Island of Tears
Winner: Charles Guggenheim.

The Spirit of the Kuna Yala
Winners: Susan Todd and Andrew Young.


Heroes of the High Frontier

Yosemite: the Fate of Heaven
Winner: Jon Else.

Dust and Ashes
Winners: Michael Yorke and Naresh Bedi.

For All Mankind
Winner: Al Reinert.


Heroes of the High Frontier

Cane Toads: An Unnatural History
Winner: Mark Lewis.

Hearts and Hands
Winner: Pat Ferrero.

Joe Leahy’s Neighbors
Winners: Robin Anderson and Bob Connolly.


Heroes of the High Frontier

Inughuit: The People at the Navel of the Earth
Winners: Staffan Julen and Ylva Julen.

The Secret Leopard
Winner: Richard Matthews.

Voyage From Antiquity
Winners: Dr. George Bass and Jack Kelly.


Heroes of the High Frontier

A Weave of Time
Winner: Susan Fanshel.

Winner: Robin Lehman.

To Taste a Hundred Herbs
Winners: Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon.

Forest of Bliss
Winner: Robert Gardner.


Heroes of the High Frontier

Return of the Osprey
Winners: Judy Fieth and Michael Male.

All Under Heaven: Life in a Chinese Village
Winners: Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon.

Stephen J. Gould: This View of Life
Winner: Linda Harrar.


Earthwatch Film Awards, Ed Wilson, CEO

Former Earthwatch CEO,
Ed Wilson, speaks at the National Geographic LIVE and Earthwatch Film Award ceremonies.

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