Festival Highlights – American Conservation Film Festival
A weekend at American Conservation Film Festival
The American Conservation Film Festival was created by a group of volunteers who shared both a devotion to film arts and a commitment to conservation. Three years ago ACFF screened a short film “Silent Skies” which was in essence, a three minute pre-cursor to The Messenger. I didn’t make it there at that time, so I was delighted to receive the invite present The Messenger at this years fest and present a key-note talk at the filmmakers workshop.
After landing at Dulles Airport I picked up a rental car and headed down a winding road, through the picturesque fall countryside towards Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Much to my chagrin, the road was at first, flanked with Trump for President signs. I found myself clutching the wheel cursing and working up a sweat, wondering if there was anything I could do to break the spell this putrescent demi-god of late capitalism has cast over many US citizens. Driving through this short stretch of road felt like a trip through purgatory, so when I arrived at the National Conservation Training Center, it sure felt like heaven.
I was invited to the festival as a key-note speaker in The Filmmakers Workshop. The festival set out an ambitious agenda for workshop participants with great panelists. Topics ranged from impact film making to pitching to an expo of the latest camera gear.
Highlights of my trip included a peak into the archive with Mark Madison, the U.S. FWS Historian at NCTC. Here they have many treasures – personal highlights include Rachel Carson’s typewriter, her magnifying glass, along with Victorian style bird dioramas.
The Messenger screened Sunday evening to a full house. I was accompanied at the Q+A by Bridget Tinsley , an ecologist with the Potomac Valley Audubon Society, who are doing some great work with Chimney Swifts and Grassland birds.
The American Conservation Film Festival Continues Oct 29th and 30th. Another full weekend of not to be missed films! I urge anyone in the area to attend.