(KPAX) Ingenuity and flexibility saved this years Wildlife International Film Festival after stay-at-home orders closed the event's original venue in Missoula.

The International Wildlife Film Festival is normally held at the Roxy once a year, but this year's festival was conducted a little differently because of statewide orders intended to protect public health.

Carrie Richer, the festival's artistic director, said they had to plan accordingly.

"It just started looking like any major virus impact would probably hit Missoula around mid April, which is around the time of our festival,” Richer said. “We were about to send our program to print and spend a lot of money and we just called it a little early and tried to embrace a virtual festival instead of getting bogged down.”

It takes a motivated talented staff to pull that type of transition off.

"We certainly have learned a lot along the way and we just wanted to make sure that the experience was as deep as we could get it in the three weeks time that we had to pivot,” she said. “We are just really happy we could pull together. There were about three of us that worked on this really intensely and pivoted and made this happen."

Most sponsors stuck around despite the transition, which the film festival organizers are extremely thankful for.

They are also thankful for the support of film makers during the transition.

"So many of them made special arraignments to let us show their films that you know we just really appreciate,” she said. “Everyone really loves the festival and we have really close, intimate relationships with our filmmakers. I think that made all the difference.”

Richer saids that Ryan Hauck was huge in switching over to an online festival and you can find winners on IWFF's website here.