For the second year the American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF) not only featured a full weekend of films, but also an opportunity for experienced and aspiring filmmakers to better learn the craft.
Held at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC), ACFF's Producer's Campus featured two days of workshops devoted to filmmaking.
Filmmaker John Grabowska kicked off the campuss programs.
Producer of the film "The Ends of the Earth: Alaska's Wild Peninsula," and winner of this year's Audience Choice Award, Grabowska gave a lecture on the "The Five Unbreakable Rule of Filmmaking."
Grabowska began his lecture by asking, "What brought you here?"
Just the first of nine workshop sessions on topics including the legal logistics of filmmaking, editing, special effects, storytelling and writing, Grabowska asked participants to really consider what drives their interest in film and conservation.
Other faculty members Ricardo Andrade, Bill Blake, Poly Bryan, David Conover, Chuck Dunkerly, Phil Fairclough, Kristofer Helgen, Chris Hoelzl, Rob Lyall and Janet Vissering, were all on hand throughout the weekend to offer their particular expertise to workshop.
Jeff Feldman, president of the ACFF board of directors, helped organize the Producer's Campus for the second year.
In an interview Tuesday, he talked about the festival's overall success and discussed how the inclusion of the Producer's Campus has additionally benefited the annual event.
Feldman said the campus evolved as festival organizers looked for ways to bring as many actual filmmakers to the festival each year as possible.
"Festivals love having filmmakers" he said
He described this year's festival as "the most well attended and smooth running festival that we've had."
Feldman said ACFF was proud to host 26 filmmakers this year, each on hand to interact with filmgoers through panel discussions and Q&As.
Feldman said his hope is that like the festival, the Producer's Campus continues to grow and succeed in its purpose.
"I wish we'd had a larger audience," he said of this year's workshop.
Feldman noted that the recent shutdown of the federal government caused a "hiccup" for the workshop organizers as the National Conservation Training Center's normal operations were suspended throughout its duration.
"It was just uncertain," he said.
"That definitely slowed us down."
Despite that, Feldman said he was still happy with how the campus turned out, calling it, "a success."
Feldman said he was glad to see a diversity is participants, most of whom were filmmakers featured in the festival.
He said his goal next year is to go a step further in engaging participants by creating an even more interactive atmosphere.
"It could almost be like speed dating," he said, describing smaller group sessions and individual opportunities for campus students to network and engage with faculty.
To learn more about ACFF and the Producer's Campus visit the festival's web page at conservationfilm.org/.