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Nat Geo WILD uses the power of storytelling to inspire a love of wildlife and nature in its audiences, and through a new short film contest, the network is giving young filmmakers across the U.S. the chance to do the same.

The 4th annual WILD TO INSPIRE competition asks contestants to create one-minute videos that share personal wildlife stories, from travels around the globe to the habitats and ecosystems thriving in their own backyards. Enter the contest by uploading these videos to Instagram with the hashtag #WildToInspireContest until submissions close on February 15.

“It’s only through the incredible storytellers behind the camera that we’re able to take our viewers inside some pretty wild places,” said Geoff Daniels, executive vice president and general manager, Nat Geo WILD. “Being able to support and provide a platform for the next generation of filmmakers who have the same passion for nature and wildlife as we do is extremely rewarding.”

On February 27, the network will announce three finalists who will screen their films at the Sun Valley Film Festival in Sun Valley, Idaho, in March, as well as win a cash prize. One Grand Prize Winner will then embark on an all-expenses-paid expedition to Africa, where he or she will document the trip through photos, videos and blog posts on the Nat Geo WILD site. The contest is open to all U.S. residents.

“WILD TO INSPIRE is just one of the many ways in which the Sun Valley Film Festival showcases emerging filmmakers,” added Teddy Grennan, executive director of the festival. “We look forward to seeing how this year’s submissions will take on the challenge of the one-minute film.”

Learn more about WILD TO INSPIRE, including how to enter, and check out the trailer below:

Search for Hidden Figures contest

21st Century Fox and PepsiCo, in partnership with the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), have named Yuna Shin from Bothell, Washington, and Joy Bualamwini from Cambridge, Massachusetts, as the two grand prize winners of “The Search for Hidden Figures,” a contest awarding scholarships to young women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The contest was inspired by 20th Century Fox’s Hidden Figures, which stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe as three female African American mathematicians who play crucial roles in the Space Race of the 1960s. Applicants to the contest answered essay questions and provided video submissions about the importance of STEM to themselves and the rest of the world, competing for a total of $200,000 in scholarships including $50,000 to each of the grand prize winners and $10,000 to ten runners-up.

“Scholarship programs like The Search for Hidden Figures are important incentives that encourage young women to consider STEM-based careers,” said Ellis Rubinstein, President of the New York Academy of Sciences. “The quality of submissions was phenomenal and demonstrated the extraordinary breadth of creativity and ingenuity that is unleashed when students are given opportunities to shine.”

Shin won the contest in the “13 to 19” age category. In her submission, she illustrated how STEM excites her imagination, and in the future, she’ll study abnormal brain waves that could help prevent seizures for those facing epilepsy. Buolamwini, who won the ’20 and above’ category, outlined a project to develop tools that can help identify and mitigate algorithmic bias that can often lead to discriminatory practices and behaviors in society. In addition to their $50,000 scholarships, Shin and Buolamwini will travel to the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida, to continue their STEM education through training from NYAS. Watch their winning videos at

Search for Hidden Figures Winners

Shin and Buolamwini were selected from more than 7,300 entries by a panel of judges that included Hidden Figures Producer Pharrell Williams; Hidden Figures Producer Donna Gigliotti; Fox 2000 President Elizabeth Gabler; and President of the New York Academy of Sciences Ellis Rubinstein.

“It was an inspiration and privilege to participate as a judge in The Search for Hidden Figures,” said Elizabeth Gabler, President, Fox 2000 Pictures. “All of the finalists’ presentations were intelligent, passionate, innovative, and aspirational. I know these scholarships will help these bright young women to achieve great things and they will no longer be hidden figures in their chosen STEM fields."

Beyond the contest, Hidden Figures has become a rallying cry for diversity in STEM. The film screened at the White House as part of a larger event celebrating the contributions women of color have made to the STEM fields, and it also garnered a nomination for this year’s Humanitas Prize for outstanding social messaging. 21CF has also used Hidden Figures to reach out to young people considering careers in STEM, screening the film at the Paley Center for high school students in New York City and at USC's Galen Center in Exposition Park for nearly 10,000 middle and high school girls in Los Angeles.

"We are honored to have the opportunity to share the story of Katherine Johnson and her peers whose contributions have remained hidden for too long," said Lachlan Murdoch, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox, when “The Search for Hidden Figures” contest was announced in November. "At 21CF, we believe in the power of storytelling to inspire the next generation of talent to dream bigger and unlock their full potential, and through ‘The Search for Hidden Figures’ contest, we are excited to give young women across the country the encouragement to pursue those dreams."

Learn more about “The Search for Hidden Figures,” including the full list of finalists and their videos, and check out highlights from the contest in the video below:

After a career in ocean conservation lasting more than 60 years, Dr. Sylvia Earle is taking her research to new heights in the latest documentary from National Geographic, Sea of Hope: America’s Underwater Treasures. The film follows Earle and her team, including renowned National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry and writer Max Kennedy, as they embark on a year-long journey to use the power of photography to advocate for the protection of vital underwater habitats and natural wonders. Sea of Hope premieres on Sunday, January 15, at 7:00 PM ET / 6:00 PM CT.

“Change is happening fast: We’re losing coral reefs, we’re losing fish in the ocean and ecosystems are unraveling,” Earle said. “The chemistry of the planet is being affected by what we’re putting into and taking out of the ocean. There should be some places that we leave alone, like national parks.”

Earle has been at the forefront of marine biology and ocean conservation for much of her career. She’s spent more than 7,000 hours underwater and has led more than 100 expeditions. She also founded the organization Mission Blue, which conducts ocean exploration with the goal of expanding the world’s marine protected areas from less than 4 percent now to 20 percent by 2020.

“Here, we take our life support system for granted,” Earle says in Sea of Hope. “We breathe air that is generated largely by the ocean… This is a place where we have to make peace with Earth, with the ocean, so that we can explore other places, so that we can have a long, enduring future right here on Earth. And a whole new era of exploration is just beginning.”

Throughout the documentary, Earle and her team travel across the United States exploring lakes, rivers and tropical areas such as the Hawaiian Islands and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The film details the way these ecosystems work to support underwater life, the various ways they are being threatened including pollution and climate change, and a behind-the-scenes look at underwater exploration and photography techniques.

The team began its expedition with the hope that these efforts would inspire the federal government to establish what they call “blue landmarks” across the country’s many bodies of water, and they have already begun to see success. The documentary culminates in President Barack Obama creating the world’s largest marine preserve in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

“Imagine what we can do if we get serious about clean energy, if we get serious about reducing carbon, if we get serious about making sure places like this survive,” Obama told National Geographic. “If we want to leave behind the same kind of incredible beauty that sustains not only our bodies but also our souls, we’ve got to work for it.”

Sea of Hope: America’s Underwater Treasures will air as a special night of programming dedicated to exploring President Obama’s legacy. The two-hour documentary Obama: The Price of Hope will premiere at 8/7c on January 15, immediately following the premiere of Sea of Hope.

In addition, the February 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine will feature a look back at the history of U.S. presidents protecting marine areas, beginning with the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt and continuing through to President Obama’s efforts. The issue will also feature Skerry’s photography of preserved marine spaces.

Learn more about Sea of Hope: America’s Underwater Treasures, and tune into the premiere of the one-hour documentary on National Geographic on Sunday, Jan. 15 at 7/6c. The February 2017 issue of National Geographic will be available online on Jan. 9 and on newsstands on Jan. 31.


The organization Humanitas has named the screenwriters of two films and one television series from 21st Century Fox as finalists for its 42nd Annual Humanitas Prize, a prestigious award honoring projects that contain effective social messaging and inspire compassion, hope and understanding. Among this year’s nominees are Nate Parker for Fox Searchlight’s The Birth of a Nation, Theodore Melfi & Allison Schroeder for Fox 2000’s Hidden Figures and Dan Fogelman for the pilot episode of This Is Us, produced by 20th Century Fox Television. The winners will be announced at a luncheon in Los Angeles on February 22.

“Great stories can play an essential role in people’s lives by reminding us of our common humanity and motivating us to be our best selves,” said Ali LeRoi, Humanitas President. “Many of the extraordinary works by this year’s finalists touch on issues of inclusion, equality and tolerance, ideas that are of particular importance in today’s conflict-ridden world.”

Parker, Schroeder, Melfi and Fogelman are among the 32 total writers nominated for this year’s award, all of whom will compete for $100,000 in prize money spread across nine categories. Hidden Figures was nominated in the Feature Film category, The Birth of a Nation in the Sundance Feature Film category and This Is Us in the 60-Minute television category.

“We received a huge number of worthy submissions this year, which made narrowing the field down to these exceptional finalists especially challenging — and rewarding,” said Humanitas Executive Director Cathleen Young. “These were truly the best of the best, writers whose work engaged, illuminated, inspired and entertained, all while exploring the range of human experience from fresh and diverse perspectives. Or as Humanitas founder Father Bud Keiser put it, works that ‘tackle the big questions…and challenge us to seek out our own answers.’”

The Birth of a Nation follows the life of Nat Turner, who was born into slavery in Virginia and went on to lead a slave revolt in the state in 1831, and This Is Us is a new drama featuring an ensemble of characters who all share the same birthday. Hidden Figures tells the untold story of three female African American mathematicians who played crucial roles in the 1960s Space Race, including John Glenn’s historic orbit around the Earth. The film stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae and has become a rallying cry for diversity in STEM, screening at the White House in December and serving as the basis for the Search for Hidden Figures scholarship contest last fall.

Since its founding in 1974, the Humanitas Prize has awarded more than $3 million to film and television writers. Previous Fox winners include Jesse Andres for Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, John Ridley for 12 Years a Slave, Alex Gansa and Meredith Stiehm for Homeland, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild, Ryan Murphy for Glee, David Shore for House, and Elaine Ko and Steve Levitan for Modern Family.

Learn more about the Humanitas Prize and view the full list of this year’s finalists.

Photo by NASA

Middle and high-school students from Washington, D.C. area schools gathered at the White House on December 15 for a private screening of Hidden Figures, the new film from Fox 2000 following three female African American engineers who played crucial roles in the 1960s Space Race. Stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae were in attendance and joined a panel discussion following the screening to celebrate the contributions these women and many more African Americans have made to the STEM fields. First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the screening, part of a larger event series recognizing the untold stories of women in STEM, and delivered closing remarks.

“What we saw in this film is that when we pull together men and women, people of every background and color and faith, immigrants who have come across the globe to make America their home, when we bring all of that brainpower to the table, anything is possible,” Obama said.

Dr. Knatokie Ford, Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, moderated the panel after the screening, which included the three stars as well as co-star Kevin Costner, director Ted Melfi, author Margo Lee Shetterly, who wrote the book on which the film was based, and producer Mimi Valdés, who worked with Pharrell Williams on the film’s original songs. Henson, who portrayed Katherine G. Johnson, a NASA mathematician whose work was instrumental in John Glenn’s successful mission to orbit the Earth, said the women’s bravery should make them role models for young women today.

“You’re talking about being the first woman in a room of all white men at a time where that was not popular. The courage to even walk in that room with your head held high, I don’t think many people could do that,” she said. “Just the fear of ‘What are they going to think of me?’ or ‘Will I make it?’ The courage just to walk in that room speaks to her fearlessness, speaks to her tenacity, speaks to her brilliance… At the end of the day, you couldn’t take her mind from her.”

In the months leading up to the film’s Christmas Day release, 21st Century Fox has worked to make Hidden Figures a rallying cry for diversity in STEM. In November, the company partnered with PepsiCo to launch The Search for Hidden Figures, a contest giving high school and college students, as well as professionals, the chance to win $200K in scholarships and awards for STEM education. In addition, 21CF hosted a screening and panel discussion at the Paley Center for Media in December for nearly 200 New York City high school students.

“As we move forward in life and we get access to these seats of power, these tables of power, I want you to look around and make sure there’s diversity at the table,” Mrs. Obama said at the White House screening. “Because you don’t come up with the right answer if everyone at the table looks the same and thinks the same and has the same experience – you never come up with the best answer.”

View Michelle Obama’s complete remarks, as well as the full White House panel discussion, in the video below. Hidden Figures will open in select theaters on Dec. 25 before opening nationwide on Jan. 6.