ACFF presents at DCEFF

ACFF Partners with DCEFF – the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital – for the screening of UNBRANDED

MARCH 17, 7pm at E STREET CINEMA, 555 11th Street NW, Washington, DC


We are thrilled to partner with our fellow film festival in the city, the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital (DCEFF), to share some of our favorite films with our respective audiences.  DCEFF will screen UNBRANDED at the Landmark E Street Cinema on March 17, 2016, at 7pm.  As at ACFF in 2015, the film’s producer, Dennis Aig from Montana State University, will be on hand for a brief discussion after the film.
Last fall marked the beginning of this partnership between ACFF and DCEFF when the latter presented Tiger Tiger, the William Warner Beautiful Swimmers Award Winner from the 2015 DCEFF, at our Festival in October.  The purpose of this partnership is to share more outstanding environmental films with wider audiences and help promote collaborations between festivals and filmmakers.

UNBRANDED follows four young men on a 3,000 mile journey with 16 wild mustangs to demonstrate the value of these horses and the public lands they occupy.  The film has won multiple festival awards and thrilled audiences around the world.


Unbranded logo & laurels
Tickets are FREE, but the screening is expected to be full, so REGISTER FOR YOUR SEAT HERE.
Join us for a special St. Patrick’s Day evening in the big city, catch this wonderful film, and go celebrate the luck of the Irish at one of these DC eateries/pubs!  We hope to see you there and we thank theDCEFF for this partnership opportunity.

Best of Fest in Frederick February 6, 2016

The American Conservation Film Festival’s Best of Fest returns to the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, MD, for the fourth year for an event featuring live music, beer tasting, three films, and discussion about horse rescue following the feature film, Unbranded. This special cinematic event coincides with Frederick’s annual Fire in Ice – February First Saturday – so much festivity all in one place!               

Line-up for February 6 at The Weinberg:

6pm – Reception with music from Woven Green, an acoustic folk duo and Beer Tasting with Flying Dog Brewery

 7pmWelcome and introduction of films and guests

 7:10 – Osprey: Marine Sentinel the first film in over 30 years starring one of the world’s most iconic and significant raptors. A beautifully shot conservation success story. (15 minutes)

7:25 – White Earth – ACFF’s 2015 Student Filmmaker Award Winner – a striking story about the oil boom in America’s Northern Plains as seen through the eyes of a child and young family. (20 minutes)

7:45 – Brief Intermission

7:55 – Unbranded – one of the world’s most popular documentary films of 2015, this exciting adventure follows four riders and 16 wild mustangs over 3,000 miles to tell a story of the plight of the west’s wild horses, land rights, and sheer determination. (106 minutes)

9:40 – Discussion with Days End Farm Horse Rescue – representatives from DEFHR in Woodbine, MD, will discuss the challenges and joys of horse rescue, rehabilitation, and educational outreach.

Tickets are just $8 for adults; $5 for seniors/students and are available on the Weinberg’s website at or AT THE DOOR.

Best of Fest gives the American Conservation Film Festival the opportunity to take a sampling of what the annual film festival offers in Shepherdstown to other communities in the region. Best of Fests have been held in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia over the past several years.

This Best of Fest is generously sponsored by Flying Dog Brewery.

 The Trail House has donated a gift certificate to be given to a lucky audience member at intermission. ACFF is very grateful to these businesses and the Weinberg Center for the Arts for their support!

Thank you, EVERYONE, for a Fabulous Festival!

DSC_8962 sign & watchtowerOn behalf of the Board and staff of the American Conservation Film Festival, we extend our heartfelt thanks to our community, filmmakers, sponsors, volunteers, participants, cheerleaders, and audience members who laughed, cried, and celebrated with us during the 2015 Festival, October 22 to 25 and November 1.

It was a fantastic festival, with 50 amazing films, record numbers of ticket sales and filmmakers and special guests attending, and an incredibly supportive community of festival-goers, donors, and community members. We are very fortunate to be a part of this community and could not present this event without all of you.

The mission of ACFF is to promote outstanding films and the arts to educate and inspire people to become engaged in conservation.   Through the power of some of the best documentary conservation-themed films in the world and your participation, we achieve this mission. Our minds are expanded, our hearts are touched, and our behaviors are often changed to become more mindful of our impact on the world and each other.

This season, we presented 50 films over five days, welcomed over 30 filmmakers and special guests from around the country, had four standing-room-only film blocks, presented our 4th Conservation Filmmaker Workshop to 27 emerging and seasoned filmmakers, had two great after-parties, gave four awards to the most outstanding films, and welcomed over 500 audience members. By all measures, it was a great success.

There are too many people and organizations to thank by name in this letter, but do know that each and every one – from the ushers to program advertisers to our venues and party hosts to our filmmakers – is critical in bringing this unique and powerful festival experience to our community and audience. Thank you.


Joining us for the Festival? Here’s what you need to know!

This year marks our 13th Season!  From Thursday, October 22nd through Sunday, October 25 and November 1, we’ll be bringing you 48 films in 5 venues.  We are welcoming 33 filmmakers and conservation experts to town for post screening discussions.  Be sure to check out our FULL SCHEDULE as you make your plans.

We highly encourage you to purchase festival tickets online HERE to guarantee your seat.
Tickets are available for purchase NOW at The Local Source: 133 W. German Street.
You may also purchase tickets during the Festival at each festival venue.
For purchases made at the Reynolds Hall and Byrd Center for Legislative Studies box offices, we prefer cash or check transactions though credit cards will also be accepted.

Those who have signed up as a REEL FRIEND of ACFF should bring their Reel Friend passes for entrance into all films and events.  We will also have a list at the door of each venue.

We have 3 types of tickets:
Full Festival Pass $40 ($36 student/senior/military)
Day Pass $20 ($18 student/senior/military)
Block Ticket $12 ($10 student/senior military)
All films on Shepherd Campus are FREE to SU students with Rambler ID.
All films at NCTC are PAY AS YOU WANT – government issued ID required for all guests 16+.  We still encourage you to reserve a seat online.

Doors open at each venue a half hour before each film block.  We encourage you to arrive 15-30 minutes before start time to be sure you have a seat.

We’re inviting audience members and filmmakers to join us at the following gatherings:
Thursday, October 22nd – Preview Night at NCTC.  Two great films will screen, beginning at 7pm and concluding around 9.  Both filmmakers will be in attendance.  See more info here.
Friday, October 23 – GET SHAKEN & STIRRED WITH ACFF at Tito’s Night at domestic restaurant from 9:30 to midnight.  Special Tito’s cocktails, free nibbles, and a late-night dinner menu available.  And MUSIC from Ginada Pinata! Sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
Saturday, October 24 – WRAP PARTY at the Blue Moon from 9:30 to midnight with free hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.  Sponsored by Younis Orthodontics and Fallon Insurance.
Sunday, November 1 – Award Winners Encore Event – This year’s four ACFF award-winning films will be presented at the Shepherdstown Opera House beginning at 4:30 pm.  Please reserve a Pay As You Want ticket for this event online in advance, as we do expect a full house.For more info on Shepherdstown and all the great dining, shopping, lodging, and recreational offerings, check out the Shepherdstown Visitor Center’s site HERE.
Please give yourself plenty of time to find parking and get to your venue(s).  Free street parking is available Friday after 6pm and Saturday and Sunday, but do not park in residential parking zones!  Parking is also available in lots A and B on Shepherd University.
Be aware that King Street (in front of Reynolds Hall), between German Street and High Street, will be closed on Saturday from 8am to 8pm for BooFest events, so plan accordingly.
You can check out a Shepherdstown map here and a
Shepherd University Parking Map here.
And finally, check out this beautiful spread about the Festival in a special edition of Fluent magazine.

We look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Over 30 Filmmakers & Guest Speakers to Attend ACFF

One of the things that makes the American Conservation Film Festival unique is its inclusion of filmmakers and conservation experts in the Festival weekend. This year, a record number of 33 of these special guests will be joining the festivities, speaking about their films, and participating in the Conservation Filmmaker Workshop.

andrew-g-pcThe Festival opens with a special preview event on Thursday, October 22nd at the National Conservation Training Center with two films – All Over the Map: I Dream of Seney and The Power of One Voice: A 50-Year Perspective on the Life of Rachel Carson – both followed by Q and A sessions with their filmmakers, Peter Schriemer and Mark Dixon, respectively.

The two film blocks opening the Festival on Friday night, October 23, offer intimate glimpses into West Virginia issues and American west issues. The Wild, Wonderful, Endangered West Virginia block at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies features three films on West Virginia coal and water wars and their filmmakers. The Broncos and Bison: Threats to Western Wildlife block at the Opera House features the much-heralded film, Unbranded, about efforts to save wild mustangs and the student-made film Silencing the Thunder about the plight of Montana’s bison. Dennis Aig, producer of Unbranded, and Eddie Roqueta, director of Silencing the Thunder, will introduce their films and take questions from the audience.

Of the 16 blocks of conservation-themed films at the Festival, 13 blocks will include an opportunity to discuss the films with the filmmakers or subject matter experts close to the issues featured in the films. In the Family Block – Charismatic Critters for Curious Kids and Their Parents – the filmmakers of The Flamingo Factory will talk about their project to protect East Africa’s millions of flamingos and Mark Madison, Historian at the Fish & Wildlife Service, will present a “Suitcase for Survival,” a hands-on education tool kit to teach youth about endangered species.

Neil Losin, filmmaker of ACFF’s Broadcast Award winner Islands of Creation, will discuss his fascinating film on the evolution of species as well as give the introductory keynote address at the Conservation Filmmaker Workshop which opens Saturday morning, October 24, at the National Conservation Training Center.

The following filmmakers may be contacted for interviews by email:

Christy and Turk Pipkin –   Film –Flamingo Factory
Eddie Roqueta –   Film – Silencing the Thunder
Dennis Aig –   Film – Unbranded
Nick and Cheryl Dean  Film – Life on Wallace’s Line
Susan Keegan  Film – Dare to Be Wild

For a complete list of films, discussion sessions, and special guests, please visit the ACFF website at


Shepherdstown Film Society Presents ACFF Preview Night

Screens 2014 Audience Choice Winner &
2015 Festival Trailers on October 9, 2015

The Shepherdstown Film Society is giving audiences a sneak peek at some of the movies showing at the upcoming 2015 American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF) just before it screens the 2014 Audience Choice Award winner, DamNation, on Friday, October 9 at 7pm at Reynolds Hall on the campus of Shepherd University.Damnation camera

DamNation is a Patagonia-produced award-winning film that took 2014 film festivals by storm with its stunning imagery, compelling storytelling, and clever filmmaking techniques. It chronicles the history and legacy of dams in America and current efforts to deconstruct obsolete dams to restore life and health to dammed rivers. The audience at the 2014 American Conservation Film Festival convincingly voted it their favorite film of the festival. ACFF President Jeff Feldman will lead a brief discussion with the audience immediately following the film.

Opening the evening will be the trailers of a few films from the upcoming Festival. From the depths of the sea to Mustang round-ups in the American west, the selection demonstrates the diversity of topics on tap for the Festival, running October 22 to 25 and November 1 at five venues in and around Shepherdstown.

The Shepherdstown Film Society and ACFF have partnered annually to bring audiences an award-winning film from previous festivals, and this is the first time a preview of films from an upcoming festival will be shown. All are invited to enjoy a lively evening of cinema free of charge at 7pm, October 9, Reynolds Hall, Shepherd University.

For more about the Shepherdstown Film Society, visit

For more about DamNation, visit

Wild, Wonderful, Endangered West Virginia

Download press release here: WV Block PR

ACFF 2015 Opens with WV-Centered Films

The 13th annual American Conservation Film Festival opens on Friday, October 23, 2015, with a block dedicated to some of the most pressing issues facing West Virginia’s residents, environment, and economy. Environmental and economic degradation and compromised water quality are not new threats in West Virginia, but the three films featured in this block cast new light and personal perspectives on them.

Blood on the Mountain

Mari-Lynn Evans returns to ACFF for the third time; this time with her new film Blood on the Mountain, a searing investigation into the economic and environmental injustices that have resulted from industrial control in West Virginia. Evans’ first two documentaries, Coal Country and The Appalachians: America’s First and Last Frontier were enthusiastically received by large audiences at past ACF Festivals and Blood on the Mountain has been filling large venues in and outside of West Virginia since its release last year. The film is co-directed by Jordan Freeman and features Shepherdstown attorney Davitt McAteer, a former federal mine safety chief and assistant secretary for the Mine Safety and Health Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Blood on the Mountain tells the honest history of West Virginia, the human struggle that has always ranged between repression and resistance — courageous coal miners fighting bloody battles for union representation and fair wages and work conditions, fighting battles between themselves and, ultimately, waging a war on the mountains and communities themselves as strip miners. It’s a legacy of a century-long war of attrition by revolving coal companies to break down and divide the people, their communities, and their land,” says Evans.

Thanks to its historical perspective, the film keeps hope alive in the coalfields, reminding viewers of the inspiring continuum of the Blair Mountain labor uprising in 1921, the victory of Miners for Democracy and Black Lung legislation, and today’s fearless campaigns against mountaintop-removal mining.

Immediately following the film, screening at 6:30pm October 23 at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies o
n the Shepherd University campus, will be a brief Q and A discussion with the filmmakers, as well as Mary Anne Hitt , Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign and Davitt McAteer.Elk River Blues

The second film of this West Virginia block is Elk River Blues, inspired by the MCHM chemical spill into the Elk River in January 2014. The spill quickly overwhelmed the local distribution system and left 300,000 residents without water. Filmmaker and producer Mike Youngren jumped on the story and captured much of the immediate aftermath to create this powerful story of systemic failure that “was the inevitable consequence of a culture of lax regulation and legislative oversight,” according to WV Rivers Coalition executive director Angie Rosser.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 3.06.58 PM

A 2-minute short film called Poisoned: WV Water Crisis, profiling one family’s story of how the chemical spill affected them, closes out the block.

Immediately following the films, the filmmakers and special guests will be available for a second Q and A session. Everyone is then invited to Domestic bar and restaurant to Get Shaken and Stirred with ACFF at Tito’s Night, where special cocktails, light hors d’oeuvres, and a late night dinner menu will be offered.

Another excellent West Virginia-based film screens on Saturday, October 24, at the National Conservation Training Center at 4:15pm. Overburden, directed by Chad Stevens, profiles a pro-coal activist who joins forces with a tree-hugging environmentalist to take on Massey Energy after her brother is killed in a mining disaster. This screening, offered on a ‘pay as you can’ basis, is the West Virginia premier and people associated with the film will be attending.

Audiences moved to act will be offered “action opportunities” on the ACFF website to learn more about how to get involved with protecting the environment.

Tickets for these and 42 other films from around the globe are currently available online at


ACFF Partners with Shenandoah University to Present ‘Best of Fest’ October 1, 2015

If you don’t think people picking up trash sounds like the makings of a good movie, you haven’t yet seen “Trash Dance.” Choreographer Allison Orr finds beauty and grace in garbage trucks and in the men and women who do this dirty, difficult, and sometimes dangerous work. After following Austin sanitation workers on their daily routes for several weeks, Orr convinces them to perform what results in a beautiful and poignant performance for an audience of thousands.Trash Dance edited

The American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF), based in Shepherdstown, WV, is entering its 13th season of presenting the most outstanding conservation-themed documentary films and programming with the mission of informing and inspiring people to become engaged in conservation issues. To bring some of ACFF’s best films to a wider audience, they do a Best of Fest at theaters and venues around the West Virginia-Virginia-Maryland region. Best of Fest is coming to Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA, on October 1st in the Halpin-Harrison Hall, Stimpson Auditorium. Show time is at 6:30pm.

 The university’s environmental studies, mass communication, and dance programs, along with the Shenandoah Outdoor Adventure & Recreation program, are co-sponsoring the event, which is open and free to the public. “This is really the perfect movie to screen at Shenandoah,” said Jennifer Lee, ACFF’s Development & Communications Director. “It is fun, moving, personal, and combines conservation with performance art.”

“Trash Dance” was the Festival’s 2014 Green Fire Award winner, its top award for filmmaking excellence. In addition to the movie, several trailers of films in the upcoming 2015 Festival will be shown to give audience members a preview.

“We are excited to partner with ACFF and bring this unique film to the attention of our students, faculty and staff, as well as the local community,” said Shenandoah University President Tracy Fitzsimmons.

For more information about the film, please visit
For information about the 2015 American Conservation Film Festival, visit
For information on Shenandoah University, visit

Press Contact:
Jennifer Lee, ACFF Development & Communications Director

13th American Conservation Film Festival Announces 2015 Schedule

Download Press Release

Shepherdstown, WV – Three films at this year’s American Conservation Film Festival will make their world premier and four their US premier among the 46 compelling films screening from October 23 to 25 in Shepherdstown. The Festival brings together the finest conservation films and filmmakers from around the world. The weekend also features discussions with scientists and educators, professional workshops, family programming, and social events — all with the mission of engaging, informing, and inspiring its audience through the power of film.

This year’s Festival will present films with a wide range of environmental and conservation themes. The Festival opens on October 23 with a block dedicated to West Virginia and features three films profiling the environmental and economic injustices the state has suffered over the decades.   Filmmaker Mari-Lynn Evans will discuss her film “Blood on the Mountain” about the history and legacy of coal mining in the state. On the same night in another venue, an exciting block of films featuring wild mustangs (Unbranded) and bison (Silencing the Thunder) will send you to the mountains of the American west. After the films, ACFF invites you to get stirred and shaken at Tito’s night at Domestic restaurant, sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Discuss the films, mingle with filmmakers, and enjoy specialty cocktails and a late-night dinner.

At five venues in and around Shepherdstown, ACFF invites its audience to explore the world through the stories, images, and people that create this diverse offering of films. Several filmmakers and subject matter experts will be present during the festival and participating in discussions following the screening of their films. Jacob Steinberg will introduce the world premier of his film Osprey: Marine Sentinel; Dr. Amanda Stronza, Director of the Ecoexist Project will introduce Pathways to Coexistence about the people and elephants of Botswana; and student filmmaker, Sam Sheline will be on hand for his film called Add One Back about oyster farming in the Chesapeake Bay.

ACFF engages its audience in issue-relevant films, some uplifting and some enraging, and encourages festival participants to deepen their understanding of these issues and take action. The “Action Opps” page of the ACFF website will offer resources that support audience members in turning inspiration into action.  The Conservation Filmmaker Workshop is offered October 24 and 25 at the National Conservation Training Center to aspiring and professional filmmakers who wish to hone their craft, exchange ideas in a creative and collaborative environment, and expand their professional network with colleagues and industry leaders working in a similar genre of film production

 ACFF presents four awards to outstanding festival films: the Green Fire Award for overall excellence in filmmaking; the Broadcast Award for a film previously or scheduled to air on a national television network; the Student Filmmaker Award, a $500 cash prize awarded to an emerging student filmmaker; and the Audience Choice Award. All of the award-winning films will be shown at an encore event on November 1 at the Shepherdstown Opera House.

Full festival passes, allowing entrance to all films and events over the four days, are $40, day passes are $20, and tickets for a specific block of films are $12. Discounts offered for seniors, students, and members of the military.

 Get a sense of the Festival here:

Film descriptions, schedule, and ticket info here:

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.  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 over 400 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.


2015 ACFF Sponsors

The 2015 American Conservation Film Festival is sponsored by: The Campbell Foundation, the Nora Roberts Foundation, Patagonia, Earth Touch, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center, West Virginia Division of Tourism, Shepherd University, The Downstream Project, The Observer, Oxbow Farm, Route 11 Potato Chips, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Hobert & Kerr, P.C., Shepherdstown Opera House, Green Path Consulting, Flurie, Slick & Kinnett CPAs, Sparkfire Media, Friends of the National Conservation Training Center, HBP Inc., Jefferson County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Skinner Law Firm, West Virginia Film Office, Younis Orthodontics, Barbara and Andy Ferrari, The Spirit of Jefferson, Fallon Insurance, and Jefferson Security Bank.

Press Contact:

Jennifer Lee, ACFF Development & Communications Director   (540) 539.6150