Many Filmmakers Attending 2014 Festival

Download Filmmakers at ACFF

October 28, 2014 – Fifteen filmmakers and special guests will be attending the 2014 American Conservation Film Festival this weekend, participating in post-film discussions and mingling with the crowd. 46 outstanding conservation films will be shown over four days and five venues in and around Shepherdstown from October 30th to November 2nd.

Eleven of these films will be represented by their filmmakers, film subjects, or expert speakers on the film topic, providing audience members a deeper and more personal film experience. The filmmakers of “Passion for Pike,” Jan Inge Mevold Skoghiem and Trude Refsahl, are coming all the way from Norway!

The festival kicks off on Thursday evening, October 30, at 6:45pm at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies (BCLS) on the Shepherd University campus. “America’s Amazon” takes us on a visually stunning tour through Alabama’s Mobile-Tensaw Delta, the most biologically diverse area in North America. Filmmaker and environmental journalist Ben Raines will discuss the evolution of this little-known ecological jackpot and the current issues putting pressure on its fragile ecosystems.

Following that at 8:15pm will be the ACFF Broadcast Award winning film, “From Billions to None,” a chronicle of how the passenger pigeon, once numbering in the billions in North America, was hunted to extinction in a matter of decades. Filmmaker David Mrazek, scientist David Blockstein and naturalist Joel Greenburg will be on hand to accept their award and answer questions.

Meanwhile, three films start rolling at the Opera House at 7pm, including “Snows of the Nile,” the story of two scientists’ expedition to Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains where one of the world’s only equatorial glaciers is rapidly disappearing. Photographs from a 1906 expedition demonstrate the radical change over the last 100 years. Filmmaker Nate Dappen will speak about the experience following the film.

On Halloween Friday at 7pm at BCLS, filmmaker Ethan Oser will be attending to discuss his film “Invasive” about the Northern Snakehead fish and its invasion of the Potomac River. That film block will also feature films on the wolverine in Mongolia, Pennsylvania’s bats, and the wolves of Sun Valley, Idaho.

A full schedule of films, filmmakers, and events is on tap for Saturday, November 1, starting off at noon at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) with National Geographic explorer Mireya Mayor, who discovered a new species of lemur in Madagascar and will be speaking about the film “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar.” Also at NCTC, later in the day, “Love in the Tetons” brings the audience a story of discovery and romance as well as the film’s two stars, Juan Martinez and Vanessa Torres.

Over at the Opera House, during a block of water-themed films beginning at 12:30pm, “Mapping the Blue” filmmaker Alison Barrat will take questions about her story of the largest Marine Park on Earth and the high-tech GIS system designed to map it. Later in the day, Melissa Thompson, Senior Video Producer at Greenpeace, will discuss the film “Postcards from Climate Change: Postcard from the Rockaways” about the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy on New York’s Rockaway beach.

ACFF’s Green Fire Award winning film “Trash Dance,” the story of choreographer Allison Orr’s ambitious project to engage Austin sanitation workers in a beautiful and moving performance on an abandoned airport runway, shows at 7pm at the Opera House. Filmmaker Andrew Garrison will be in attendance to accept his award and discuss the film. 

Get a sense of the Festival here: http://vimeo.com/99683754

Follow on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

“Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” & Mireya Mayor at 2014 ACFF

Download Lemurs of Madagascar-photos release.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 20, 2014 – ACFF audience members are invited on a magical exploration to the remote island of Madagascar when “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” screens at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) near Shepherdstown on November 1 at noon.

Narrated by Morgan Freeman, this film follows Dr. Patricia C. Wright’s mission to help lemurs, the ancient and highly evolved creatures who arrived on Madagascar millions of years ago as castaways but are now highly endangered, due mainly to habitat destruction and hunting. “Madagascar is so important for primates that primatologists divide the world into four major regions: the whole of South and Central America, all of southern and southeast Asia, mainland Africa, and Madagascar, which ranks as a full-fledged region all by itself,” says primatologist and Conservation International president Russell Mittermeir.

Lemurs arrived in Madagascar over 60 million years ago by rafting on mats of vegetation when ocean currents favored oceanic dispersal to the island. Today, there are nearly 100 species of lemurs, ranging in size from just over an ounce to 20 pounds. Dr. Wright has studied the social and family interactions of wild lemurs for 27 years and brings her findings to this fun, informative, and beautiful film that will be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Immediately following the film, National Geographic explorer and primatologist Mireya Mayor will discuss the plight of the lemurs and her experience with them while conducting research in Madagascar. Nicknamed the “female Indiana Jones,” Mayor discovered a new species of mouse lemur and convinced Madagascar’s president and prime minister to declare the species’ habitat a national park. “This tiny little discovery has become a huge ambassador for all things wild in Madagascar,” Mayor says.

The film and follow-up discussion is just one unique part of the 2014 American Conservation Film Festival, which will show 46 films over four days at five venues in and around Shepherdstown. Over a dozen filmmakers will be in attendance to discuss their films and visit with audience members. “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” will precede a special block of films targeted to children and all films at NCTC are free of charge, making it a perfect day of activities for families.

See the trailer for “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” here: http://islandoflemurs.imax.com

 For the full schedule of films, film descriptions, and more information, visit www.conservationfilm.org.

 Get a sense of the Festival here: http://vimeo.com/99683754

Follow on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Press Contact:
Jennifer Lee, ACFF Development & Communications Director
jennifer@conservationfilm.org
540.539.6150

 

Getting Wild at 2014 ACFF

Download Wilderness release with photos here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 15, 2014 – This year marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Wilderness Act, the landmark conservation bill that helped protect the nation’s most pristine and expansive wild spaces for future generations. ACFF is celebrating with several films featuring the American wilderness, wildlife, and what it means to appreciate these precious resources.

A special wilderness-themed block of films will be shown at the National Conservation Training Center’s Byrd Auditorium beginning at 3pm on Saturday, November 1. Two shorts from American University filmmakers, in partnership with the National Park Service, kick off the block, one chronicling the history of the ancient Saguaro Cactus in the Sonoran Desert and another taking us on a journey through the North Cascades National Park over hundreds of thousands of acres of wildlife habitat and paradise for hikers and mountaineers.

In “The Meaning of Wild,” filmmaker Ben Hamilton takes viewers on a journey by foot, boat, plane, and kayak through one of our nation’s wildest landscapes, the Tongass National Forest of Alaska.

Next, the audience will go on an aerial adventure with the Smithsonian Channel’s “Aerial America: Wilderness,” a high-flying tour of America’s most breathtaking natural landscapes protected by the Wilderness Act.

The block concludes with a love story with the land and between two people in the Grand Tetons of Wyoming. From the streets of Los Angeles, Juan Martinez stepped off a bus in Grand Teton fifteen years ago and saw the stars for the first time in his life. He met and fell in love with National Park Ranger Vanessa Torres and they began a life together dedicated to protecting the land and community. “The trees don’t judge where you come from or what language you speak,” Martinez says in “Love in the Tetons.” “This is one of the few places where we as an American people can truly call home. That’s what love is at the end of the day.” Martinez and Torres will be in attendance to share their story following the film.

On November 9 at 5pm, ACFF will present a special Audience Choice Event at the Opera House in Shepherdstown, a night of diverse treats, including a film related to the Wilderness Act followed by a discussion with Ed Zahniser, the son of the Wilderness Act’s primary architect, Howard Zahniser.

Press Contact:
Jennifer Lee, ACFF Development & Communications Director
jennifer@conservationfilm.org
540.539.6150

 

 

Community & Family at 2014 ACFF

Download Family & Community press release with photos.

October 6, 2014 – The American Conservation Film Festival is pleased to present two blocks of films at its upcoming festival specifically targeted to a family audience and community interests. The festival opens Thursday evening, October 30, and runs through Sunday, November 2nd at five venues in and around Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

The Family Film Block begins at 1:30pm on November 1 at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), where all films are free of charge. Six short films will be presented at the NCTC Family Theater on topics ranging from dinosaurs to alternative nature-based education to frogs. The block kicks off with “Search for the Big Seven” (photo above) which follows five youngsters and their guide on an adventure in the Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa where they encounter magnificent beasts close-up and learn first-hand the value of protecting wildlife and their habitat.

Dinosaurs are the highlight of a short film from the National Park Service, taking us on a journey through time as a student paleontologist explores the landscape and fossils of the Petrified Forest National Wilderness Area.

“School’s Out” features a school in Switzerland for children ages 4 to 7 where the forest is their classroom. The film follows the children, educators, and parents through one school year and looks at an educational structure that embraces environment and exploration.

If amphibians are your thing, you’ll enjoy the amazing frogs featured in “Crazy Monster Frog.” From venomous predators to flying acrobats, this 46-minute film from Earth Touch gives us a greater understanding and appreciation of these unusual creatures.

A recent addition to the festival line up and one sure to appeal to people of all ages is “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar,” a moving and beautiful chronicle of Madagascar’s endangered lemurs. Acclaimed primatologist and National Geographic explorer Mireya Mayor will lead a discussion following the film, which shows at noon on November 1 at NCTC’s Byrd Auditorium.

ACFF’s Community Interest Block kicks off at noon on November 2 at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies on the campus of Shepherd University with “Ticked Off: The Mystery of Lyme Disease.” This powerful documentary investigates the controversies around the disease and provides essential information on testing, misdiagnosis, treatment, and prevention.

Then we move to the garden and grocery store with “The New Green Giants,” an investigation of the explosion of the organic food movement and how corporations like Stonyfield Farms, Eden Foods, and Earthbound are managing in the marketplace. The block concludes in Hailey, Idaho, where the small city initiated seven community projects to demonstrate sensible ways to reduce greenhouse gases in “The Hailey Community Climate Challenge.”

For the full schedule of films, film descriptions, and more information, visit www.conservationfilm.org.

Get a sense of the Festival here: http://vimeo.com/99683754

Follow on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

About ACFF

The American Conservation Film Festival is an annual event held in Shepherdstown, WV, a vibrant arts community 70 miles west of Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD. ACFF features films from a diverse group of conservation filmmakers from around the world.

This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization addresses conservation through the lens of film, providing a platform for education and dialogue about more sustainable ways to live.  By presenting outstanding conservation films, ACFF programming promotes solutions to pressing conservation issues, respect for the world’s natural and cultural heritage, and passion for conserving our resources.  Since 2003, the Festival has screened some 350 films to over 30,000 audience members, presented filmmaking workshops for aspiring documentary filmmakers, hosted panel discussions with filmmakers, and offered free family programs with the mission of engaging, informing, and inspiring people toward better ways to live, work, and play.

2014 ACFF Sponsors

The 2014 American Conservation Film Festival is sponsored by: The Campbell Foundation, Earth Touch, the Nora Roberts Foundation, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, Smithsonian Channel, Monica Larson Design, Flurie, Slick & Kinnett CPAs, GreenPath Consulting, Hobert & Kerr, P.C., Shepherd University, Shepherdstown Opera House, Sparkfire Media, Sustainable Business International, The Observer, Sarah Cohen, Eden Design, Friends of the National Conservation Training Center, HBP Inc., Jefferson County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Jefferson Security Bank, Skinner Law Firm, West Virginia Film Office, Younis Orthodontics, Blenko Glass Company, and Fallon Insurance

Press Contact:

Jennifer Lee, ACFF Development & Communications Director

jennifer@conservationfilm.org

540.539.6150

 

 

Search for the Big Seven