When nothing in the world seemed to make sense, Filipe DeAndrade found salvation in nature and a voice in filmmaking.
Two days after graduating from UF in 2012, DeAndrade started his hike up the Appalachian Trail. He hiked for six months and filmed every day.
The 28-year-old called it a turning point in his life.
He created a short film sharing the importance of adaption and submitted it to National Geographic’s Wild to Inspire competition, where he took first place.
DeAndrade’s film “Adapt” was one of four selected out of hundreds of entries to be shown at the Sun Valley Film Festival in Sun Valley, Idaho.
“It wasn’t just my film — it was my story and my passion that I put out there,” he said.
DeAndrade, a telecommunication alumnus, is a freelance director, cinematographer and director of photography for Nat Geo Wild and the African Wildlife Foundation. He specializes in adventure, wildlife and nature videography and photography.
His footage spans three years, which includes the hike and his monthlong drive around California and Utah with his friend, who shot time-lapse footage. He said the whole production process cost roughly $7,000.
“I really think that competition was the universe calling, and I was lucky to answer,” he said.
The film competition was created in a partnership between National Geographic Wild, the Sun Valley Film Festival and the African Wildlife Foundation.
Kathleen Garrigan, senior communications and media relations officer at the foundation, said the films in the competition should inspire conservation and get people outdoors to experience the world around them.
“We wanted to take it beyond a viewing experience and make it into a conservation experience,” Garrigan said.
The judges were from Huffington Post Green, Vice and Earth Touch, and the criteria was based on filmmaking quality, creativity and connection to the theme “Destination Wild.”
“Destination Wild” is a program special from National Geographic Wild, which features the best and most innovative wildlife storytelling from the greatest filmmakers in the world.
This year’s festival featured more than 60 films, coffee talks and panels. Clint Eastwood was also honored with the Lifetime Vision Award.
DeAndrade won the title of ambassador for National Geographic and will have the opportunity to create a film in Africa to highlight the importance of conservation. For the next two years, the self-proclaimed nomad is going to travel in an ambulance he bought to film wildlife.
“When you do what you want to do, when you do what you are supposed to,” he said, “the universe will reward you.”
Fillipe DeAndrade, filmmaker and University of Florida alum, poses for a photo. After his graduation from UF in 2012, DeAndrade created an award-winning short film based on his experiences hiking up the Appalachian trail.