IWFF Review

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For centuries wolves have served as the villains in some of our most popular fairy tales. Their depiction as snarling, ravenous beasts spoke to Europeans’ most primal fears, and helped to fuel the species’ extirpation in North America as white settlers sought to bend the environment to their will. The successful reintroduction of the grey wolf in the Northern Rockies in the 1990s began to slowly shift the collective understanding of their true nature and ecological significance. But as directors Alex Goetz and Justin Grubb reveal, old stereotypes aren’t easily reversed.

Resilience: Story of the American Red Wolf is a conservation roller coaster ride that many Montanans will have a hard time believing, one that focuses on an often forgotten distinct species whose numbers in the wild now hover around 30. The 20th century dealt the red wolves of the American Southeast one bad hand after another, with efforts to bring the species back from extinction unraveling in the face of historic human fear. Goetz and Grubb quickly and seamlessly document this checkered past, ushering the viewer into a present that’s as tenuous as it is hopeful. …

IWFF review

Loneliness is universal. As humans, we may feel its grip in those last moments before sleep, in a long drive across open prairie, in the dim glow of a bar crowded with strangers, or, most recently, in the quarantined confines of our homes. And when we do, sometimes we reach out. It might be by sending a digital howl to a friend or family member from our phones in a bid for companionship. It might be a community howl, like the one at 8 p.m. each night that fills the Missoula valley as a show of support for first responders and healthcare workers. …


Alex Sakariassen

Alex is a Missoula-based freelancer who specializes in long-form narrative stories spotlighting the people, the politics and the wilds of Montana.

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