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Feel-good conservation films shown in W.Va.

November 01, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Organizers of the fifth annual American Conservation Film Festival want people to view films about conservation issues and leave in a good mood.

Starting today, 25 films will be shown during the course of four days, with screenings throughout Shepherdstown. All films will carry a conservation theme.

Conservation isn't necessarily a feel-good topic - consider animal extinctions, pollution of land and water, global climate change. So to overcome the prospect of presenting four days' worth of doom and gloom, Steve Chase, one of the festival's founders, said the selection committee sought out films that focused on the "human element."

Chase said the focus on the human element - narratives built around people's relationships with nature - is not intended to trivialize serious global problems, but instead to prod viewers to examine their own relationships with nature.

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"There are kids who say they don't want to go outside because there aren't any plugs," Chase said. "If we don't engage them now, in 20 years we'll have an entire generation that doesn't care about nature, so all this work would have been done in vain."

One of the films, "Summercamp!," to be screened on Saturday, follows a group of kids at a nature camp in northern Wisconsin. Another, "The Town That Was," is about a now-nearly-evacuated mining town in Centralia, Pa., that sits above a burning seam of coal.

Both films, Chase said, offer perspective on how people relate to and are affected by the world around them.

Amy Mathews Amos, president of the festival's board of directors, said the event attracts 2,000 to 3,000 attendees. A complete festival schedule and description of all movies is at www.conservationfilm.org.




If you go ...



WHAT: Fifth annual American Conservation Film Festival

WHEN: Today through Sunday, Nov. 4

WHERE: Films will be shown at the following Shepherdstown, W.Va., locations:

· Shepherdstown Opera House, 141 W. German St.

· National Conservation Training Center, 698 Conservation Way.

COST: $6 admission on Thursday. Free admission Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

MORE: The complete film schedule is at www.conservationfilm.org. There will be informal, post-festival gatherings today at The Press Room, 120 W. German St.; Friday at the commons building of NCTC; and Saturday at Stone Soup Bistro, 12 W. German St.




Schedule highlights



Today

· Shepherdstown Opera House, $6 admission, three movies shown

Friday, Nov. 2

· National Conservation Training Center, Byrd Auditorium, free admission, five movies shown

Saturday Nov. 3

· Student Film Competition, National Conservation Training Center, Theater 151, free admission, four movies shown.

· Family Film Festival, National Conservation Training Center, Byrd auditorium. Free admission, two movies shown

· Independent Film Forum, National Conservation Training Center, theater 151, free admission, five movies shown.

· Filmmakers' Forum, National Conservation Training Center, Byrd auditorium. Free admission, six movies shown.

Sunday, Nov. 4

· Filmmakers' Forum, National Conservation Training Center, Byrd Auditorium, free admission, three movies shown.

· Independent Film Forum, National Conservation Training Center, Theater 151, free admission, two movies shown.

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