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Local photographer focuses on wildlife for Lethbridge International Film Festival

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WATCH: Rick Andrews, a Lethbridge wildlife photographer is the only local to be featured in the 2018 Lethbridge International Film Festival. Jessie Weisner reports – Mar 15, 2018

The Lethbridge International film festival is under a week away, and will revolve around the theme, “Issues of Our Time”

Rick Andrews, a local photographer, has been documenting wildlife for 10 years now.

He’s traveled all over the world, but chose Lethbridge to film his very first full-length production.

“We as photographers and film-makers think that we need to go someplace in order to get excellent wildlife images and I think through this film, I’ve been able to show that that’s not always necessarily the case,” Andrews said. “It’s true we don’t have wolves, or polar bears or spirit bears here in the River Valley but we do have some pretty cool wildlife here as well.”

READ MORE: Southern Alberta 12-year-old recognized internationally for wildlife photography

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According to Andrews, wildlife habitats in Alberta are becoming scarcer over time with industrial and commercial development. So he wanted to show Lethbridge residents what’s right in their backyards.

“We typically will only protect the things we care about, and if we never experience things then we don’t typically care about them. So I think it’s important that people experience this, even if it’s vicariously through film,” said Andrews.

Andrews’ film, Wildlife of the Oldman River Valley, took him a full year to shoot, through snow and shine.

READ MORE: Helen Schuler Nature Centre celebrates the Oldman River Valley

He initially thought it only had an audience in Lethbridge, but soon found out otherwise.

“When I went to Medicine Hat, I found out that that wasn’t the case, that it was just as special for them as it was for people here in Lethbridge. So I think that it does have a wider appeal,” he said.

It’s this appeal that Andrews hopes will lead to greater awareness of the species in southern Alberta.

The Lethbridge International Film Festival premiers for its 33rd year on March 19th, with Wildlife of the Oldman River Valley showing at 7 p.m. on March 23rd.

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The event is hosted at the Letbridge Public Library, and although admission is free, seats fill up quickly.