Shepherdstown to host American Conservation Film Festival

October 29, 2009|By CRYSTAL SCHELLE

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Visitors to this year's American Conservation Film Festival will see the usual ecological themes.

But Charles Dunkerly, vice president and co-chair of film selection for the festival, said conservation is a broader issue than just the environment.

That's why the concept of conservation has been expanded during this year's festival, which runs from Thursday, Nov. 5, through Sunday, Nov. 8. The festival encompasses four main locations: the National Conservation Training Center, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown Opera House and Stone Soup Bistro.

Dunkerly said conservation can include such things as culture as well as issues such as America's food consumption.

Dunkerly said one films that shows this theme is Seth Kramer's "The Linguists," which tells the story of a pair of scientists who try to document languages that are on the verge of extinction.


Another is director Erin Hudson's "In a Place Out of Time" in which she follows a fourth-generation New Mexican man who tries to photograph petroglyphs and pictographs in his home state before they vanish or are vandalized.

One film that has a local connection is "Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators." Filmmakers Karen and Ralf Meyer based this film on the book "Where the Wild Things Were" by Shepherdstown author William Stolznburg.

Film selection started in January of last year with the pouring in of submissions. It was the responsibility of the submission committee to whittle the 118 submissions down to just 30 films.

Dunkerly said it's hard for him to choose his favorite flick, especially because he's seen all of the films.

"It's like asking to pick your favorite child," he said with a laugh.

But as a filmmaker and producer for the National Park Service, Dunkerly said he's always drawn to how the quality of films rises every year.

"It's always a great line-up," he said.

If you go ...

What: American Conservation Film Festival

When: Thursday, Nov. 5, though Sunday, Nov. 8

Where: Various locations in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Cost: Many viewings are free; other films $5 to $10

CONTACT: For more information, go to

MORE: Purchase a four-day festival pass for $20 at Information Center at War Memorial Building, 102 E. German St., Shepherdstown, W.Va. Hours of operation are 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5; 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8.

ACFF Schedule highlights

Most evenings have multiple movies showing. For a complete listing, go online at

Thursday, Nov. 5

6:30 to 10:30 p.m. - Six student films and a reception, Shepherd University, Erma Ora Byrd Hall auditorium. Free admission.

7 p.m. - Three films beginning with "A Sea Change"; filmmaker Barbara Ettinger explores the threat of ocean acidification, the flip side of climate change and what it means to our children. National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), Byrd Auditorium. Free admission.

7 p.m. - Three films beginning with "The National Parks: This is America"; filmmaker Ken Burns tells the stories of the National Parks. NCTC, small theater. Free admission.

Friday, Nov. 6

7 p.m. - Three films beginning with "Fresh: The Movie"; filmmaker Ana Joanes celebrates farmers, thinkers and business people around the world who are reinventing the American food system. Shepherd University; Frank Center. Free admission

7 p.m. - Three films beginning with "No Impact Man"; filmmakers Lisa Gabbart and Justin Schein follow Colin Beavan and his No Impact Project. Shepherd University, Erma Ora Byrd Hall auditorium. $5 per film or $10 for the evening.

7 p.m. - Three films beginning with "Coal Country" - director Phyllis Gellar shows an inside look at modern coal mining and mountain top removal. Shepherdstown Opera House. $5 per film, $10 for the evening.

7 p.m. - Four films beginning with "Milking the Rhino"; filmmaker David E. Simpson's film shows that two of the oldest cattle cultures on Earth are beginning to see that wildlife conservation can rival the benefits of livestock. War Memorial Building. $5 per film or $10 for the evening.

9:30 to midnight - Meet the filmmakers reception, Stone Soup Bistro.

Saturday, Nov. 7

12:30 to 1:30 p.m. - Children's short films. NCTC, Byrd Auditorium. Free admission.

1:45 to 5 p.m. - Children's photo safari, NCTC grounds. Free admission.

noon - Four films beginning with "Tale of the Sundarbans"; filmmaker Moynul Huda highlights the biggest mangrove forest in the world, located in Bangladesh. NCTC classroom. Free admission.

noon - Five films beginning with "Shenandoah: Voices of the River"; executive producer George Ohrstrom talks about this film which celebrates the Shenandoah River. NCTC small theater. Free admission.

6:30 p.m. - "Running with Wolves"; filmmaker Richard Matthews follows Gundrun Pflueger as he returns to the Canadian Rockies two years after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. NCTC, Byrd Auditorium. Free admission.

8:30 p.m. - Three films beginning with "Wings Over the Marsh"; filmmaker Mathieu Le Lay presents a film without dialogue about birds in a French marsh. $5 per film, $10 for evening

10 to 11:30 p.m. - Meet the filmmakers reception. NCTC Museum.

Sunday, Nov. 8

Noon - Five films beginning with "Home"; filmmaker Yann Arthus Bertrand provides a portrait of Earth. NCTC, Byrd Auditorium. Free admission.

Noon - Five films beginning with "Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators"; filmmakers Karen and Ralf Meyer based this film on Shepherdstown author William Stolznburg's book "Where the Wild Things Were." Opera House. $5 per film, $10 for the day.

Noon - Five films beginning with "Kareara: The Pine Falcon"; filmmaker Sandy Crichton tells the story of wildlife photographer George Chance who is now ill and going blind. War Memorial Building. $5 per film, $15 for the day.

-Schedule is subject to change

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