Inside Shepherd University's Frank Center with a sign welcoming attendees of the American Conservation Film Festival on March 7. Photo by Cassidy Joy

REVIEW: Shepherd hosts a wonderful American Conservation Film Festival

Between March 7-10 at Shepherd University‚Äôs Frank Center in Shepherdstown, WV, the American Conservation Film Festival showed 23 short films and 4 feature films that all connect with sustainability and environmentalism.  

Being a theatre major, I was grateful to attend on the first day. 

Showing that day comprised of Healy by filmmaker Maya Craig, Keepers of the Land by filmmakers Douglas Neasloss and Deirdre Leowinata, and Wild Hope: Coffee for Water by Tangled Bank Studios. All the films were engaging, well-made, and had beautiful cinematography.  

The feature film shown was Clear Day Thunder: Rescuing the American Chesnut by filmmakers Adams Wood and Rod Murphy 

A Q&A session was held afterwards with filmmaker Adams Wood and Mid-Atlantic Regional Science Coordinator of The American Chestnut Foundation Cassie Stark. 

I was lucky enough to get to ask Adams Wood three questions: Who funded the film? How did they get an interview with Dolly Parton? And, did they use an AV script while editing, or did they just go in and start chopping all the clips up creatively?  

To all of which, he answered that the film was funded by the American Chesnut Foundation who happen to have connections with Dolly Parton.  

As for the editing, they did not use an AV script, which was comforting to me as a filmmaker because I typically just go in and creatively move clips around without a huge master plan involved.  

For admission to the festival, students under 18 could enter free, as well as college students who presented their student I.D. The entire festival began with a free hike for attendees at the Yankauer Nature Preserve. 

To end off the festival, a community dinner was served on the final day. 

The American Conservation Film Festival is a wonderful opportunity for community members and students alike to see amazing films, and Shepherd students should take advantage of this opportunity to enrich their education through viewing these beautifully crafted films on campus grounds. 

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