From Award-Winning Independent Studio Grizzly Creek Films, Wildpath, and Appian Way Productions, ‘Path of the Panther’

Opens in over 40 Florida Theaters on February 24

‘Path of the Panther’ Follows Renowned National Geographic Photographer Carlton Ward Jr. on the Frontlines of the Battle for the Future of Wild Florida. 

‘Path of the Panther’ will air on National Geographic and Stream on Disney+ this Spring


(TAMPA, Fla. – February 10, 2023) Wildpath and Grizzly Creek Films recently announced the statewide theatrical opening date and released the official trailer and key art for “PATH OF THE PANTHER.” The documentary features world-renowned National Geographic Explorer and photographer Carlton Ward Jr. and is written and directed by Eric Bendick, who previously directed a series of films around the Florida Wildlife Corridor expeditions, including “The Forgotten Coast,” “Chasing Ghosts” and “The Last Green Thread.” Tom Winston of Grizzly Creek Films produced alongside Carlton Ward Jr. and Tori Linder of Wildpath. Award-winning actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio serves as executive producer with Jennifer Davisson and Phillip Watson of Appian Way Productions in addition to Ted Haddock of Common Pictures, Howard G. Buffet and Sigrid Tiedtke.

The award-winning film will be released in over 40 theaters in Florida — including major cities Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa — on Feb. 24.PATH OF THE PANTHER” will air on National Geographic and stream on Disney+ this spring.

In the lead-up to its theatrical release, the film has garnered top awards from sold-out screenings at festivals across the nation and the world, including the Jackson Wild Ecosystem Award, Mill Valley Film Festival’s Active Cinema Audience Award, Wildscreen’s Impact and Production Team Awards, and the New York WILD Best Conservation Film Award. The film has also been recognized in its home state of Florida by picking up the coveted Audience Awards at the Florida Film Festival and Naples International Film Festival. It was awarded the Golden Conch for Best Florida Feature out of the Key West Film Festival.

Drawn in by the haunting specter of the Florida panther, National Geographic Explorer and photographer Carlton Ward Jr. and a coalition of biologists, ranchers, conservationists and Indigenous peoples find themselves on the front lines of an accelerating battle between forces of renewal and destruction that have pushed the Everglades to the brink of ecological collapse. This odyssey of heartbreak and hope is the culmination of more than five years of field research, 500,000 still images, and over 800 hours of ultra-high definition camera trap footage. Against all odds, wild panthers have been stunningly captured in their native ecosystem, as they’ve never been filmed before.

 The film is the cornerstone of the “Path of the Panther” project, supported by the National Geographic Society and many other partners that inspired the passage of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act — the first legislation of its kind and a blueprint for addressing habitat fragmentation and species extinction across the globe. The project continues to grow today, and the world stands at a crossroads with the Florida panther guiding the way.

“This is a film that Floridians absolutely need to see on the big screen. From the never-before-seen footage of elusive panthers in the wild to the real-life heroes who are risking it all to save the species and the land they need to survive, audiences will experience action that literally jumps off the screen and moments that fill us with hope, determination and sheer awe for the beauty of wild Florida,” said director Eric Bendick.

Reaching near extinction in the 1950s, the Florida panther was among the first to be added to the U.S. endangered species list in 1973. The population has since rebounded from fewer than 30 adults to nearly 200 today. But the species faces an alarming number of new challenges. Its survival now depends on the protection of a network of statewide public and private lands known as the Florida Wildlife Corridor. 

“‘PATH OF THE PANTHER’ is a testament to how Florida’s state animal is leading the way for unprecedented conservation goals and achievements across the greater United States and beyond,” explains impact producer Tori Linder. “The production was filmed throughout the state of Florida and required the field team to manage as many as 30 photo and video camera traps over more than five years. This collaborative effort united a team of biologists, landowners and tribal members to bring the story to life. The film could not have been created without the support of the entire crew, cast, donors and local communities who find common ground with the panther’s story.”

Follow the “Path of the Panther” project on social media for exciting film updates and relevant conservation news: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

To learn more about the endangered Florida panther and how you can help, visit


Since its launch, Appian Way has released a diverse slate of content, including “The Right Stuff,” “Grant,” Alejandro Iñárritu’s three-time Academy Award® and Golden Globe winner “The Revenant,” Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award®- and Golden Globe- nominated “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The company has also put forth strong efforts to gain headway in the documentary world, especially as it pertains to shedding light on progressive environmental change producing movies “Virunga,” “Cowspiracy,” “Sea of Shadows,” “Ice on Fire,” and “And We Go Green.”

Amid confusions of a fractured and divided world, Common Pictures curates stories that help us to see and enjoy our shared humanity.

Grizzly Creek Films is an independent production company specializing in groundbreaking non-fiction film and television. The team’s award-winning credits include landmark original series and feature documentaries for National Geographic, PBS, and Smithsonian. From the Emmy-winning natural history series “Epic Yellowstone” to impact-driven doc sensations “Rewind” and “Path of the Panther,” our commitment is to storytelling that inspires, connects, and moves audiences all over the world. After more than a decade of producing compelling and authentic content that enriches the human experience, Grizzly Creek Films has earned a reputation as one of the leading independent natural history and impact documentary studios in the industry.

Supported by the National Geographic Society and a network of other partners, the Path of the Panther project works to inspire the conservation of the land the panther needs to survive—the Florida Wildlife Corridor. Our team of conservationists, filmmakers, and advocates produced an impact media and conservation campaign that contributed to the unanimous passage of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Act in 2021. We are now championing a plan to protect a million acres of the Florida Wildlife Corridor by 2030. Together we can reconnect wild places across the Earth for the benefit of people and wildlife. 

Wildpath is a team of storytellers, explorers, and conservationists on a mission to inspire the appreciation and protection of wildplaces through impactful stories that raise awareness of conservation issues in our state and inspire policy makers, businesses, communities, and citizens to take action.