The tenth season of the American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF) will be its best yet, according to organizers.
Returning the first week of November, the tenth year of the ACFF will once again offer audiences from near and far a chance to watch films and participate in discussions regarding various conservation-related issues we face as a planet.
According to ACFF board president Chuck Dunkerly, the season of ACFF will continue the festival's mission and offer something brand new to the thousands of visitors who stop by for the four-day event.
"It's going to be an amazing year," he said.
Dunkerly, who oversees the festival's overall organization said that his main goal as board president is to see the festival survive and thrive in the next decade.
We want to be here another ten years at least! he said.
With more advanced ticket sales than ever before and a lot of "buzz," Dunkerly expects packed theaters and responses to this year's offerings to be positive.
"I'm encouraged by this year," he said.
Presenting films that he said showcase topics about both cultural conservation and environmental conservation, the subjects addressed at this year's festival will be new to some, but relevant to all who attend.
"Everyone knows we need to address this (conservation)," he said.
Amy Matthews Amos, who co-chairs the film selection committee for ACFF said that the films picked this year are even more impressive than in years past.
For its tenth year, the festival will feature 65 films and visits form 28 filmmakers from around the world.
Amos said this year's event will also include special themed nights, such as "river night" and "ocean night," dedicated to films related to these conservation topics.
Dunkerly said this year will also mark the beginning of the ACFF's educational ventures, as the festival will offer its first ever, day-long workshop for the public, on the craft of documentary filmmaking.
"It's an idea whose time has come," said Dunkerly.
Amos said that as in year's past, it's the diversity of films and topics covered that will make the festival a special experience.
"As usual, we're covering a lot of different topics," she said.
Featured films will include the premiere of legendary documentary filmmaker Ken Burns's film, "The Dustbowl," as well as a special showing and dicussion of Alexandra Cousteau's film, "Our Nation's River: A System on Edge," about our local Potomac River.
Dunkerly said the community has been instrumental in making the festival possible each year and especially its tenth year
"It's a celebration of all of the efforts to keep these stories alive," he said of this year's season.
Sponsors for the festival include Shepherd University, the Shepherdstown Opera House, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife services, National Conservation Training Center, Geostellar, the Jefferson County Arts and Humanities Alliance (AHA), Nora Roberts Foundation, the Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, WV Division of Culture and History and HBP Inc., among others.
Amos also praised the community for its role in supporting ACFF.
Beyond just filling seats, Amos said it's the community members, some of whom make up both past and present members of the board, festival volunteers, and simply those who support the conservation mission, who have made the festival viable over ten years.
"We can only do this with support from the community," she said.
This year's festival will be held Nov. 1 to 4. For more information, including the list of films, times and location, and to purchase festival tickets or passes, visit www.conservationfilm.org.