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Adventures of the American Pika

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This film takes us on a journey that explores the lives and adventures of three pikas.

International Wildlife Film Festival GREEN SCREEN, Eckernförde, Germany, September 12-16  2018

Official Selection. Green Screen International Wildlife Film Festival.  


International Wildlife Film Festival GREEN SCREEN, Eckernförde, Germany, September  2018

Organized in September in idyllic Eckernförde on the Baltic Sea, the International Nature Film Festival GREEN SCREEN has since 2007 developed into the largest nature film festival in Europe. In 2017, 18,100 visitors watched almost one hundred spectacular nature-themed films, and met key figures from business and politics, as well as a variety of international filmmakers, producers and TV channel managers. 

GREEN SCREEN has established itself as an international meeting place for the nature film scene and offers filmmakers and viewers a unique symbiosis in the industry: in a private and informal atmosphere, the audience can ask their questions, criticize and give suggestions to the filmmakers present.




Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

Best North American.  "The Adventures of the American Pika", produced by Jere Folgert and Mimi Matsuda, premiere at the 2017 WCFF in New York, NY.


This film was awarded and won the Best North American Film (WCFF category).


The 2017 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) took place in New York, NY, October at the Cinema Village Theater and other locations.  Ten days of film screenings, panel discussions, conferences, receptions, and field trips were held.   More than thirty nations were represented through film and over thirty film international producers and scientists attended.


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Yosemite International Film Festival

Honorable Mention. The Adventures of the American Pika, produced by Jere Folgert and Mimi Matsuda, was an official selection at the Yosemite International Film Festival 2017.


2017 Yosemite Film Festival Award Winners includes "The Adventures of the American Pika.  Honorable Mention.

Each year, the Yosemite International Film Festival recognizes excellence in filmmaking in several competition categories with the prestigious Yosemite Film Awards.  The Yosemite International Film Festival is a non-traditional film festival and awards competition created as a platform to provide worthy films and filmmakers with recognition for their filmmaking and screenwriting achievements.


Wolves Independent International Film Festival

Official Selection.  "The Adventures of the American Pika", produced by Jere Folgert and Mimi Matsuda, was an Official Selection for Wolves Independent International Film Festival, held in the village of Saldutiškis, in Utena directory, Lithuania.



International Wildlife Film Festival 

Official Selection.  International Wildlife Film Festival (IWFF) is an annual wildlife and conservation-themed film festival held each April in scenic Missoula, Montana. The event draws hundreds of filmmakers, scientists, conservationists, and enthusiasts. Housed at The Roxy Theater, Missoula’s historic independent arthouse theater. 


The International Wildlife Film Festival was the first juried wildlife film festival in the world and is today, the premier festival and conference for wildlife film and media. Wildlife conservation is a key component and the focus of the annual IWFF. Our expanded programming recognizes excellence in films about the natural world, from environmental and conservation films to issue-driven explorations of earth and it's inhabitants. 

The longest running wildlife film festival in the world, IWFF was founded in Missoula, Montana as a watchdog and "guardian" of scientific and factual accuracy, ethical film practices and creative excellence in the craft of the wildlife film genre. 



Vaasa Wildlife Festivle - Finland 

Official Selection. Wildlife Vaasa International Nature film festival is located on the West Coast of Finland, and it was held in the city of Vaasa every second year, since 2002. Since its conception, it has grown in stature receiving commendation from participants, delegates, media and the public worldwide. The event was in September 2018


Sunchild 8th International Environmental Film Festival

Official Selection. SunChild International Environmental Festival, established by Foundation for the Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Asset (FPWC ).  The festival is held in Armenia.  47/1 Khanjyan str.  Yerevan.  The aim of the festival is to bring nature, wildlife and environment into the focus of public attention and increase the knowledge about issues among citizens and especially among children and youth. 


Watch the Trailer



We are producing a film about the American Pikas (Ochotona princeps).   This film will take us on a journey that explores the lives and adventures of three pikas.  Our journey explores three unique pika habitats.  The film is nearly complete.

We would like to help raise awareness and encourage conservation of these arduous individualists.   American pikas are fascinating and cute creatures with a big personality.  Not only are they well adapted to living in environments where many other mammals do not venture to go, they appear to be comfortable in the cooler, rocky and treacherous slopes of mountains.  


We believe storytelling is the secret to teaching and learning.   Storytelling helps create links between emotional literacy and pro-environmental behavior.  We need storytelling more than ever, with powerful words, striking imagery, and a deep narrative to help people re-imagine their own personal relationship with the natural world.  The power of storytelling makes connections, enables humans to see the world afresh, and has the potential to galvanize humans into actions that can begin to make whole - those things that are split apart.


We are nearly complete with two of the three chapters.  We have filmed and observed the pikas over a three-year period (over 1,100 hours) and are finalizing aspects of the film (2018).


We've explored numerous American pika colonies and individual pika territories - from Montana and Wyoming to Utah, Idaho, and Oregon. We've observed and filmed the collared pika (Ochotona collaris)  in Alaska.


This wildlife film is educational and entertaining.  The film takes us on a journey that’s about survival, planning for the future, storing food for winter and watching out for one another. Composed of three unique stories - each chapter reveals the adventures of our characters. The film shows us how these cute and rugged individualists live their life with purpose and dashing strength - all while trying to avoid predators and life-ending events. 



Cameras and 4K Video:  Nikon D850, Panasonic Lumix, and RED 6K EPIC DRAGON.


Our core belief is to respect the wild animals and the places they call home.    "First do no harm and the life of every individual matters". While observing pikas for extended periods, we use a four-panel-mirror blind that virtually blends into the surrounding environment.  Our hope is to minimize or reduce our presence while observing and filming pika's natural behaviors and adventures.   If we ever feel we are disrupting their activities, we leave the scene.  



Mr. Jere Folgert is the principal of this film project. Jere lives in Bozeman, Montana and brings a high level of dedication, experience and filming expertise to this project.    






American Pika (Ochotona princeps)
Yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris)
Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
Clark's nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana)
Golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis)
Chipmunk (Neotamias umbrinus)
Mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus)
Coyote (Canis latrans)
American robin (Turdus migratorius)
Black bear (Ursus americanus) 
Long-tailed weasel (Mustela frenata)
American pine marten (Martes americana)
Elk, or wapiti (Cervus canadensis)
Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)
Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos ssp.)

Human (Homo sapiens)  







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“The smaller the creature, the bolder its spirit.”     ― Suzy Kassem


Adventures of the American Pikas is a wildlife film about the astonishing lives of some of North America’s toughest and cutest mammals - The American Pika.


Bumble” is an American Pika (Ochotona princeps) who begins his life in an island of talus rock, surrounded by a sea of plant life.  He is part of a colony of a few dozen American pikas.   As a youngster, Bumble lacks wisdom and knowledge; He is unaware of the many predators, dangers and threats in and around his rocky community.  As he grows, he learns about life and its obstacles.  He learns about the other creatures and the many plants near his rocky home.  He strives to establish a territory of his own - an apartment with a nice backyard. He does his best to collect and transport food to his kitchen pantry. Life at this high-elevation talus patch is tough.  He defends his home territory from other pikas, attempts to trick and hide from a local family of red foxes, all while collecting food - his sustenance and calories for the impending long, cold winter. 


“Luna” is a mature female Pika who lives at the top of the world, almost two miles above sea level, where effective oxygen levels are nearly half that found at sea level, and winter conditions grip the region for most of the year.  Luna is pregnant.  She gives birth to two young pikas deep in the interstices of rock, nestled on top of the largest true high elevation plateau in the United States.  She is keenly aware of the many predators who would like to eat her for lunch including raptors, the American Marten, and weasels.  She is also aware of the larger mammals, homo sapiens, and their powerful machines, which frequent this beautiful Beartooth plateau during the summer.   


** “Spoon” is a strong and confident young male Pika who survived his first winter, despite frigid, biting cold temperatures and pika thievery (his hay piles were often filched while he was napping), His enemies, a hungry, sly family of resourceful, weasels dressed in ermine, tormented him during the winter.  Spoon lives in a large pile of talus formed from rocks, broken free from columnar jointing.  During his second year in this Montana talus neighborhood, he mates with a female pika and fathers a few pika of his own.  Throughout the year, he trys his best to avoid the razor-sharp teeth of a resident long-tailed weasel.  He relies on calls, barks and other vocalizations of other pikas to extend his life journey.


** Chapter 3 (Spoon) is currently a separate, 45-minute movie that is not included in the current version of the film.  Chapter 1 (Bumble) and Chaper 2 (Luna) comprise the 55-minute film.




It’s fair to say many animals have richer social lives and a richer palette of strategic abilities than we give them credit for.  We should get better acquainted with the animals we share the world with. If only because they are so beautiful and so interesting.”

Holly Dunsworth


“Are we open-minded enough to assume that other species have a mental life? Are we creative enough to investigate it? Can we tease apart the roles of attention, motivation, and cognition? Those three are involved in everything animals do; hence poor performance can be explained by any one of them.” 
Frans de Waal


"The human species is unique but so is every other species. We differ from the rest no more, it seems, than do other species from each other. Non-human animals have routinely amazing facilities for accomplishing things by acting on information they receive from their environments. They are creatures of instinct, but so are we. As Joseph Wood Krutch asked, “who is the more thoroughly acquainted with the world in which he lives?”[3]Adaptation to one’s world is a cognitive process. If we wonder which species is the smartest, the best answer is, most likely: they all are."

John Zerzan - Animal Dreams


“After spending so much time with them, you realize how smart they are.”

Thomas Mangelsen - Grizzlies of Pilgrim Creek



"Look closely at nature. Every species is a masterpiece, exquisitely adapted to the particular environment in which it has survived. Who are we to destroy or even diminish biodiversity?"  "Humanity is a biological species, living in a biological environment, because like all species, we are exquisitely adapted in everything: from our behavior to our genetics, to our physiology..."

E. O. Wilson


"Science as a list of facts can be exciting for a little while.  But Science as a way of asking better questions and getting better answers to them, is much more useful and much more interesting."

Dan Levitis - UW-Madison



“I became totally absorbed into this forest existence. It was an unparalleled period when aloneness was a way of life; a perfect opportunity, it might seem, for meditating on the meaning of existence and my role in it all. .... For those who have experienced the joy of being alone with nature there is really little need for me to say much more; for those who have not, no words of mine can even describe the powerful, almost mystical knowledge of beauty and eternity that come, suddenly, and all unexpected. The beauty was always there, but moments of true awareness were rare. They would come, unannounced; perhaps when I was watching the pale flush preceding dawn; or looking up through the rustling leaves of some giant forest tree into the greens and browns and the black shadows and the occasionally ensured bright fleck of blue sky; or when I stood, as darkness fell, with one hand on the still warm trunk of a tree and looked at the sparkling of an early moon on the never still, softly sighing water of Lake Tanganyika.” 
Jane Goodall



"It is not light that we need, but fire;

it is not the gentle shower, but thunder.

We need the storm, the whirlwind,

and the earthquake!.

Frederick Douglass


“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!" 

John Muir


“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.” 
Steve Irwin



"I just wish the world was twice as big and half of it was still unexplored."

David Attenborough








My Inspiration comes from the natural world and by learning from some of the best wildlife biologists, ecologists and photographers in the world including 
BBC Films have inspired me. as have veteran Joe Oppenheimer, david attenborough, United Kingdom, oxford, edinburgh, .  I love research, ants, vegan food, irish beer the uk, national geographic. polar bears, early years, giant eggs, and mammals,






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