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ACFF Returns

By Staff | Oct 25, 2013

In addition to the usual spooky fun this Halloween in Shepherdstown will mark opening night of the 11th American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF).

Appropriately, a “late night” showing of a film called ‘Monsters,’ will kick off the evening’s second block of movies, though the festival will begin officially at 6:45 p.m. with a film called ‘Switch.’

As festival executive director Lissa Cobetto explained, the Halloweeny opening night will also feature a festival first.

“This is our first adults only film,” she said of

Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story.’

The film depicts the unorthodox approach two West Virginia women took to protect a mountain from Mountain Top Removal.

“Everyone will get this,” Cobetto said.

As ACFF’s purpose is to provide a venue for diverse and sometimes largely unknown films about conservation issues, Cobetto said this year’s line up fits the bill.

A three-day event, Cobetto described Friday as “frack night,” and Saturday as “nuke night, ” as films related to the issues of fracking and nuclear energy will be shown respectively.

As Cobotto explained this years films was chosen from around 160 submitted pieces on various subjects.

She said that although themes start emerge as the festival schedule is coming together, all films are simply chosen by their merit.

“We don’t start the process having a specific topic in mind,” she said.

The selection committee made up of local residents picked its favorites and from those a small group of festival organizers chose the three that will be awarded ACFF’s traditional prizes.

This year s the Greenfire award winner is ‘The Lost Bird Project,’ by Deborah Dickson and Muffie Meyer.

‘Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch,’ by Angela Sunwon won the Broadcast award, and ‘Backyard’ by Deia Schlosberg, of Montana State University won the Student Filmmaker prize.

Each award winning filmmaker will be presented with their prize following the screening of their film next weekend Cobetto said.

An Audience Choice award winner will also be named at the conclusion of the festival during “Second Chance” Sunday.

As in year’s past Sunday will featured the re-screening of the festival’s award winners for those who couldn’t make it to previous showings.

“These are the best… the cream of the crop are being shown.” Cobetto said.

For the second year the Producers’ Campus will be held at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in conjunction with ACFF’s screenings.

The two-day workshop will feature hands on instruction for documentary filmmakers of all levels and includes workshops devoted to things like story development and scriptwriting, use of imagery in storytelling, camera technique, and strategies for film distribution.

Cobotto said that this years festival stands out from previous festivals as it will feature so many of its filmmakers in person.

“We have a lot of filmmakers coming into town,” she said,

With 65 films featured, 29 filmmakers are expected to be on hand for panel discussions, post screening Q&As and meet and greets.

“Go watch the films and then go hang out with the filmmakers,” Cobetto said.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

For a full schedule of films and activities visit the ACFF web site at conservationfilm.org and download the schedule PDF. Full Festival Passes are $40; Seniors 65+, Students, and Military are $36 with ID. All Block tickets are $10; Seniors 65+, Students, and Military are $8 with ID. Addtional info on ticket prices can be found by visiting the web site.