Filmmakers Coming to Shepherdstown

This year we’re excited to announce that THIRTY filmmakers and subject matter experts will be attending the Festival!  THIRTY people, top in their field, coming to Shepherdstown to share their thoughts and vision with YOU!  You’ll have the opportunity to hear them introduce their films, field Q&As, accept awards, AND join in on panel discussions.  You can even chat with them during the evening gatherings that we have lined up throughout the Festival at the Opera House, domestic, and the Blue Moon.  Peruse their bios below and we’ll see you in a few short day!

ALISON BARRAT to introduce Jamaica Reef Rescue (Saturday, OH Block 8)
Alison grew up in a small fishing village in Scotland, an experience that shaped her views on nature and the ocean, and launched a lifelong passion for wildlife and wild spaces. Her love of the natural world led her to complete a B.Sc. in Zoology at Glasgow University. Since then she has spent the last two decades communicating about the intricacies of life on planet earth.
After completing a master’s degree in Film and Documentary production Alison began making natural history films. She has created films for clients including the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, PBS and the National Geographic Channel. She worked for five years for the National Geographic Society producing series that communicated complicated science to diverse audiences, and created an iPad app on sharks for Discovery Communications.
Alison now works with a range of media to convey the broader scientific and exploratory mission of The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.

JON BOWERMASTER of Dear Governor Cuomo (Friday, RH Block 6 Fracking Panel)
A six-time grantee of the National Geographic Expeditions Council and award-winning writer and filmmaker Bowermaster’s ten-year-long OCEANS 8 project took him and his teams around the world by sea kayak during the past ten years, on expeditions ranging from the Aleutian Islands to Vietnam, French Polynesia to Chile/Argentina/Bolivia, Gabon to Croatia and Tasmania to Antarctica.
Recently named one of a dozen Ocean Heroes by the National Geographic Society, Jon’s most recent documentaries are “Terra Antarctica, Rediscovering the Seventh Continent,” “What Would Darwin Think? Man v. Nature in the Galapagos” and the prize-winning “SoLa, Louisiana Water Stories.” He spent January 2012 in Antarctica producing the first 3D film about the seventh continent, to be distributed through museums and science institutions around the world beginning Spring 2013.
Author of a dozen books Bowermaster lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.

LYNNE CHERRY to introduce Young Voices for the Planet (Saturday, NCTC Family Block 11)
Lynne Cherry is an author, illustrator, filmmaker and lecturer. She has written and illustrated 30 award-winning books for children including her best-sellers The Great Kapok Tree and A River Ran Wild.  Lynne is also the producer and director of the Young Voices for the Planet movie series that focuses on youth empowerment.  Lynne earned a BA at Tyler School of Art and a Masters in History at Yale University. She has had artist-in-residencies at Princeton University, the Smithsonian Institution and Cornell University and science-writing fellowships from the Marine Biological Lab and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. She was awarded a Metcalf Fellowship and the Brandwein Prize. She also writes for adults and, most recently, has a chapter in “Written in Water” published by National Geographic Books.

DAVID S. DANESH of COMFORT ZONE  (Thursday, BCLS Block 1 panel discussion)
In addition to twenty years as a management consultant Dave has been making films since 1998. He has written and directed his own films (The Road Not Taken), and photographed, edited and produced narrative features (Jesus Freak, The little Death, and How to Make Movies at Home). Many of these films have been screened and won awards at prestigious film festivals (Los Angeles IFP, Atlanta, Santa Fe and Tallgrass to name a few).

SEAN P. DONNELLY of COMFORT ZONE  (Thursday, BCLS Block 1 panel discussion)
Sean is an engineer by background and by trade. He has been making films since 1998, including the short films Bird Hunters and A Voice From the Lantern.

STEVE DROTER to introduce From the Field:  Linking Land and Water in Brook Trout Conservation  (Saturday, NCTC-Byrd Block 12)
Steve Droter is a professional documentary filmmaker and photographer whose goal is “to create digital mediate that inspires people to engage with culture and natural resources.” Steve has earned degrees in Biology (B.A.) from UNC’s Public Liberal Arts University at Asheville and Film & Video Production (M.A.) from American University in Washington, DC, and currently holds the position of Multimedia Coordinator at the Chesapeake Bay Program in Annapolis, Md. Steve previously served as Digital Media Producer at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, where he travelled extensively across the U.S. and Europe to capture and retell the stories of WWII veterans and survivors. Steve’s freelance media production and research credits include PBS, National Geographic, History Channel, Discovery Channel, Science Channel, Military Channel, and independent documentaries.

STEVE EVERLEY of Energy In Depth (Friday, RH Block 6 Fracking Panel)
Steve Everley currently serves as team lead and national spokesman for Energy In Depth (EID), a research and education program of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. EID focuses on informing key public audiences about the promise and potential of responsibly developing America’s onshore energy resources – especially the abundant sources of oil and natural gas from shale and other “tight” reservoirs across the country. Prior to joining EID, Steve served as an energy policy analyst at American Solutions and the American Enterprise Institute. He is a proud alumnus of the University of Kansas, and attended graduate school at the University of Southern California, where he studied environmental history.

SYLVIA FALLON of NRDC to introduce WILD THINGS (Saturday, OH Block 9)
Sylvia Fallon is a senior scientist and the director of NRDC’s Wildlife Conservation Project. She provides scientific expertise for policy and regulatory decisions regarding endangered wildlife. Her work has included research on the use of genetic data in the Endangered Species Act. Some of the issues she has worked on include wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains and the Midwest, whitebark pine in the western US and whitenose syndrome in bats. Prior to joining NRDC, Sylvia was a Science and Technology Policy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

ERIN FINCANE of the America’s Wilderness series
Erin received her undergraduate degree from Yale in 2008.  She continues to develop her filmmaking skills as a grad student at American University. With a wide variety of interests, ranging from environmental issues and wildlife preservation to human rights and social justice, Erin strives to use documentary and related media as a tool for education, engaging audiences in the stories behind the issues, and encouraging viewers to become agents of change in their own communities.

PEGGY FLEMING to introduce POTOMAC:  The River Runs Through Us (Saturday, OH Block 8)
Peggy Fleming is in the MA Documentary Film program at American University in Washington, DC. POTOMAC: The River Runs Through Us premiered in the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, DC in March, 2013.  POTOMAC was on Maryland Public Television [MPTV] as part of the Chesapeake Bay film festival in April.  POTOMAC was co-winner for first place for Student Documentary at American University in May. Another film of Peggy’s is CHECKERS at 9th & S – a ten-minute video about a Saturday afternoon with a group of African American men in their checkers club in the Shaw neighborhood in DC.  She has published a portrait and text book about the men in CROWN ME! Peggy became a photographer after retiring as a park Ranger Naturalist from the National Park Service.

JOHN GRABOWSKA of The Ends of the Earth:  Alaska’s Wild Peninsula (Sunday, Block 17 Q&A)
Natural history filmmaker John Grabowska specializes in films on the American West and the Alaskan wilderness, working frequently with American Indian author N. Scott Momaday and renowned actress Meryl Streep. His films have won awards at festivals around the world and are broadcast as national prime time specials on PBS. He has been a guest lecturer on film at the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian Institution and has led environmental media workshops in Argentina and Panama. The Washington Post calls him “one of the virtuoso environmental filmmakers in the country.”

SARAH GULICK to introduce the America’s Wilderness series (Friday, OH Block 1)
Sarah Gulick is a MFA student in Film & Electronic Media at American University, is a Center for Environmental Filmmaking Scholar, National Park Service Film Fellow, and the founder of Studio Up. She is the co-producer and director of the PBS documentary, Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay.

AUSTIN HUMPHRIES to introduce In Fishermen’s Hands (Saturday, OH Block 10)
I am an ecologist interested in how humans are altering coastal ecosystems and what this means for biodiversity and ecological processes. I study these questions with oyster reefs in estuaries and on tropical coral reefs. I am a PhD candidate in marine biology with Christopher McQuaid at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa. I live in Mombasa, Kenya, and spend most of my time in the field swimming around coral reefs with Tim McClanahan of the Wildlife Conservation Society. Previously, I earned an MS degree in fisheries with Megan La Peyre at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I could be found trudging through the bayous looking for oyster reefs and fish. I did my BS in wildlife and fisheries biology at the University of Vermont.

KIRSI JANSA of Gas Rush Stories (Thursday, BCLS Block 1 panel discussion)
Kirsi is an independent filmmaker and journalist professionally trained in broadcast, video and print journalism.  She is currently working on a series of short doucmentaries on gas drilling – Gas Rush Stories.

SYLVIA JOHNSON of the America’s Wilderness series
Sylvia Johnson is a freelance documentary filmmaker, creative activist, and social entrepreneur with a passion for designing and implementing creative multimedia campaigns to tell important stories, inspire action, and promote sustainable international development. In 2005 she received a Fulbright grant that took her to Salvador, Brazil to make a short documentary film and teach photography to local youth. The film, Alagados, was an official selection at festivals across the US and Brazil, and the Alagados Project is a non-profit organization that grew out of this work. Today the Alagados Project promotes equality and access to education through a college scholarship program. Sylvia grew up throughout Latin America and has an undergraduate degree in International Studies from Middlebury College and a Master’s in Film and Media Arts from American University.

KATE KRESSMANN-KEHOE of COMFORT ZONE  (Thursday, BCLS Block 1 panel discussion)
Kate has an undergraduate degree in Geology from Yale and an MBA in Marketing from the Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester. After many years working in marketing and marketing research, Kate has turned her energy to making films. She has worked on documentaries independently as well as with WXXI in Rochester and Harvard Business School Publishing in Cambridge MA. She has two children.

EDWIN LYMAN of the Union of Concerned Scientists (Saturday, RH Block 14 Nuclear Panel)
Edwin Lyman is a senior scientist in the Global Security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, DC.  Before coming to UCS in May 2003, he was president of the Nuclear Control Institute, a Washington-based organization committed to nuclear nonproliferation. He earned a doctorate in physics from Cornell University in 1992.  From 1992 to 1995, he was a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies (now the Science and Global Security Program).  His research focuses on the prevention of nuclear proliferation, nuclear and radiological terrorism, and nuclear accidents.  He has published articles and letters in journals and magazines including Science, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Science and Global Security, Arms Control Today, Nuclear Engineering International and Energy and Environmental Science.  He is a co-author (with David Lochbaum and Susan Q. Stranahan) of the forthcoming book Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster (The New Press, 2014).  He is an active member of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management and the American Nuclear Society.  He has testified before Congress, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, and the Blue-Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, and has served as an expert witness for intervenors in several NRC licensing proceedings. He is frequently quoted in the media and has appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show and Real Time with Bill Maher.

AMY MALL of NRDC (Friday, RH Block 6 Fracking Panel)
Amy Mall is an NRDC senior policy analyst. Her expertise is in policies that protect natural resources and the environment from irresponsible industrial development. Before joining NRDC’s land and wildlife program in 2001, Amy worked in the private sector and in county, state, and federal government. She has worked to conserve old growth forests in Alaska and other western states and is currently focused on protecting sensitive lands and communities from harmful oil and gas exploration and production operations. She is a graduate of Cornell and Harvard Universities, with a master’s degree in public policy.

TAYLOR MARTIN of Day In, Day Out (Saturday, NCTC-Family Block 11 Q&A)
Taylor attends Booker T. Washington for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX. My films express who I am and what I do in my daily life as a not so ordinary teenager. My works have been displayed at festivals such as the Dallas International Film Festival and Aurora Glimpse.

JEFF McLOUGHLIN of The Condor’s Shadow (Saturday, NCTC-Byrd Block 13 Q&A)
Jeff McLoughlin began his third career in the spring of 2010 as an documentary filmmaker and producer of The Condor’s Shadow. Trained in film production, theory and criticism in the late 70’s, Jeff went on to pursue a career with a broad range of creative outlets that culminated in the role of Director of Marketing Communications for a publicly held Silicon Valley medical-technology firm.  After producing hundreds of web, multimedia, print collateral and video productions, he stepped away from corporate creative in 2010. 
The Condor’s Shadow is Jeff’s initial foray into independent filmmaking. He resides in Santa Barbara, California with his wife Kristi and chocolate Labrador, Jack.

JAY MINTON of Yellow Fever (Saturday, RH Block 14 Nuclear Panel)
Jay Minton is a passionate Sound Designer, Composer, Musican, Art Director, Web Designer and Jack of all trades. He has worked primarily as a production sound recordist in Thailand, Bali, Cambodia, and all over the US. He is a prop maker and art director, creating specific pieces to fit the needs of each production. Jay’s post sound work is also extensive, creating foley effects, playing a wide variety of instruments and creating the emotional lubricant that only good sound can do.

SOPHIE ROUSMANIERE of Yellow Fever (Saturday, RH Block 14 Nuclear Panel)
Sophie Rousmaniere has worked as a filmmaker and freelance journalist in the US, Canada, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Guatemala, Pakistan, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. She has produced, edited and directed over thirty documentaries, short films and music videos. Sophie’s work is largely social issue based, having worked on topics from child prostitution in Thailand to environmental issues in the four corners area in New Mexico. She is also executive director of Issue Television, a media for education non-profit organization and Lead Editor/ CEO of Ironthorn Productions a film production service recently relocated to Austin, Texas.

DEIA SCHLOSBERG of Backyard (Friday, RH Block 6 Fracking Panel)
Deia recently finished her MFA in Science and Natural History Filmmaking at Montana State University in Bozeman and is in the process of starting her own production company. Her background is in environmental education and visual arts, as well as expeditioning, having been awarded a 2009 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year award for a two-year, 7,800-mile through-hike of the AndesMountains. She subsequently lectured around the U.S. on the lessons in sustainable living she learned over the course of her time in the Andes.

BETH STEPHENS AND ANNIE SPRINKLE to introduce Goodbye Gauley Mountain:  An Ecosexual Love Story (Thursday, OH Block 2)
Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle are artists, filmmakers, collaborators, ecosexuals and life partners who produce projects together from their base in the San Francisco Bay Area/Santa Cruz Mountains. They have created a new field of research they call SexEcology, which explores the space(s) where ecology and sexology intersect. SexEcology is intended to attract new members to the environmental movement by making it a little more sexy, fun and diverse. Stephens is a native West Virginian and a professor at the University of California Santa Cruz.  Sprinkle was the first sex worker to earn a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality.

ANDY STERN to introduce The Lost Bird Project (Friday, OH Block 5)
Andy Stern is an Associate Professor of Neurology at The University of Rochester but now devotes himself fully to raising awareness about the environment through activities of The Lost Bird Project. Andy is a Zen Buddhist practitioner and author of numerous essays on a range of topics including the environment, memory and the nature of knowing, mostly from a Zen perspective. An art lover and amateur sculptor, he is married to Todd McGrain’s sister Melissa.

ANGELA SUN to introduce Plastic Paradise:  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (Friday, OH Block 5)
Award-winning television host/journalist Angela Sun’s passion for storytelling and love for the oceans led to the creation of this ambitious project. She is a graduate of UCLA and also studied abroad at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Angela has conducted field research on the Great Barrier Reef while at UNSW, focusing on the study of reef sharks. A certified EcoDiver, she surveyed the coral reefs of the Andaman Sea as part of the Malibu Reef Check internship program. She has produced for MTV News, ProSeiben Network, and Current TV, where she won a Telly award for her documentary series about religion in China. As an on-camera host her diverse experience includes Fox Sports Net, ESPN, E! News, Current TV, and MTV.  She is currently a host of the “Yahoo! Sports Minute”, “Court Report” on Tennis Channel, NBC’s “LXTV 1st Look” and G4’s America Ninja Warrior.

MELISSA THOMPSON to introduce MONSTERS  (Thursday, OH Block 2)
Melissa Thompson received her MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University.  Her previous short documentaries, including LIKE A SHIP IN THE NIGHT, IN THE WEEDS: WAITING FOR A LIVING and NOVICES, have screened at festivals such as the Cork Film festival, Women in the Director’s Chair, the Dallas Video Festival, Frameline, and have been broadcast on Current TV, Free Speech TV and Philadelphia public television.  She has worked as a videographer and editor on major independent documentaries such as DESIRE: THE TEENAGE GIRLS DOCUMENTARY PROJECT and MARRIED IN SPANDEX, as well as on many grassroots media projects with kids, artists, and immigrant communities. She currently works as Senior Video Producer for Greenpeace in the US.

JED WINER to introduce Cheetah Conservation Fund:  Change for the Cheetah’s Future (Saturday, NCTC-Byrd Block 12)
Jed Winer is a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a double major in Animal & Environmental Multimedia Production and Journalism. He is particularly interested in wildlife conservation and climate change and has interned with National Geographic Television and the Cheetah Conservation Fund. To view Jed’s work and to contact him, visit

2013 Award Winning Films

This year we’re changing things up and announcing our Award Winning films early!

The 2013 Green Fire Award winner, bestowed upon the film that shows an extraordinary level of excellence in filmmaking and helps us look anew at our relationship with our environments:
The Lost Bird Project by Deborah Dickson and Muffie Meyer

The 2013 Broadcast Award winner, the first year for this award:
Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch by Angela Sun

The 2013 Student Filmmaker Competition Award, the winner receives a $500 cash prize sponsored by the Friends of NCTC:
Backyard by Deia Schlosberg, Montana State University

Of course, the Audience Choice Award is up to you! You will be able to vote on paper via the 2013 Audience Survey, or online by emailing your choice for winner to before midnight on Saturday, November 2nd. The winner will be announced on our website by 10:00am on Sunday November 3rd. And don’t forget that is the day our clocks “Fall Back” one hour, so make sure to show up on time!

Be sure to check our Full Festival Schedule for the venues and showtimes of these and all of our other great films.  And don’t forget, Block Tickets and Full Festival Passes  are available now for online purchase!