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ACFF gives insider look at films

By Staff | Nov 9, 2012

As part of its 10th anniversary season, The American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF) held a new Producer’s Documentary Filmmaking workshop on Saturday, Nov, 3 at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC).

The day-long workshop,was part of a day of events for the National Conservation Training Center, including visits from filmmakers and special children’s programming.

Filmmaker Samuel Koltinsky stopped by the training center Saturday morning as he worked to set up an exhibit for film, “Americas Darling” which was screened as part of the festival on Saturday afternoon.

Though Koltinsky did not participate in Saturday’s filmmaking workshop, he did comment on the making of his 75 minute documentary, discussing the work of renowned conservationist and artist, Ding Darling.

Koltinsky, who had access to over 300 hours of audio, 16,000 cartoons and conducted interviews with members of Darling’s, family, friends and those impacted by his work, said he thinks the film provides a unique opportunity for viewers.

“This is a great American story and Darling is an American treasure,” he said.

“I think America needs a great American story,” he went to say.

Saturday’s workshop hosted more than 30 up-and-coming filmmakers interested in learning new techniques and approaches to documentary film. Speakers at the workshop included, Alexandra Cousteau, Tilman Remme and Petr Stepanek, who discussed the filmmaking devices, evolving technology in film and the culture of the documentary filmmaking business in general.

Filmmaker Phil Fairclough discussed ways filmmakers can use the techniques employed by pop culture to make serious subject matter more appealing to the average viewer.

To get higher-minded conversation seen on television Fairclough, who has produced TV series for the Discovery Channel, said the key is meeting such conversation with “low-brow” production techniques popular in modern reality-TV shows.

“How do you sell beer and something that’s very important?” he said about documentary films on TV.

Jeff Felman, vice president of the ACFF board explained that the filmmakers were invited Saturday for their variety of experiences and talents. Workshop participants included filmmakers featured in the festival, students of film and freelance filmmakers from all over the country.

More information about the conservation film festival, including a wrap-up of the film festival’s viewers choice winners and student film winners, can be found by visiting www.conservationfilm.org.