The International Wildlife Film Festival was "the first regular ongoing festival devoted solely to wildlife films" and this "signaled that wildlife films had arrived as a motion picture genre distinct from others". It is a juried event that lasts eight days and "involves the world's top wildlife filmmakers, producers, scientists and conservation leaders", and up to 12,000 people attend. The festival, which was "founded by internationally known bear biologist Dr. Charles Jonkel in 1977, recognizes scientific accuracy, artistic appeal, and technical excellence".  Jonkel was described in 1989 as "an appropriately grizzled wildlife biologist acclaimed for his work with bears." He teaches at the University of Montana and "also heads up the Rocky Mountain Film Institute, a project of the non-profit Institute of the Rockies."