During the “Eyes on the Prize” dinner at Atlas Network’s 2021 Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner, Property & Environment Research Center (PERC) won the 2021 Lights, Camera, Liberty Award and its $10,000 prize for their short film “Elk in Paradise: Rancher, Ecologist, Hunter.”
The Lights, Camera, Liberty Film Festival Award recognizes the most successful online video of the last year. Strong candidates articulate the strategic impact of their video and most typically have reached significant and strategic audiences, utilized effective messaging or storytelling, and demonstrated capable production and editing techniques.
In their film, PERC highlights the need to bring market solutions to the problem of protecting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This ecosystem is one of last undisturbed areas of its kind, but conservation efforts often conflict with the needs of ranchers. Elk are drawn to private land on cattle ranches since they are free of many of the pressures present on public land and are often better managed. Many ranchers are willing to help protect elk herds, but through disease and property destruction, elk present a significant threat to already-struggling ranch operations. In “Elk in Paradise,” PERC presents both sides of the issue and discusses the potential of a partnership between private landowners and conservation-focused groups.
The film has been screened locally in Montana and accepted into two film festivals—the Bozeman International Film Festival and the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York City. After launching the film, PERC and the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, another local non-profit, worked with a local family-owned ranch to launch the region’s first first elk occupancy agreement. “Elk in Paradise” has helped spark conversations across the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem about a better path forward that protects both elk and property rights.