During the festival, we encourage ticket holders to visit this page to vote for their favorite film.  At midnight on Sunday, October 23rd, all the votes will be tallied and we will bestow upon the film with the highest vote count, the 2016 ACFF Audience Choice Award!  Results will be announced the following day on our website and on social media.  The Audience Choice winning film will be shown, along with another award winner, during Block 13 on Saturday, October 29th at the Frank Center, which begins at 7:30 pm.  Be sure to cast your vote and grab your ticket!

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Things to Know
An Acquired Taste
The Babushkas of Chernobyl
Beneath Paradise
Bluebird Man
Canyon Song
Catching the Sun
Defined by the Line
EO Wilson: Of Ants and Men
Forget Shorter Showers
How to Change the World
Life Story – First Steps
Marijuana Grows and Restoration
Medieval Monsters
Monarchs: The Milkweed Mission
Moving the Giants
Pale Blue Dot
Pronghorn Revival
Racing Extinction
Return of the Cicadas
Saving Mes Aynak
Seed: The Untold Story
Sharing the Secrets
Sonic Sea
Testimony: Remembering Glen Canyon
The Burden: Fossil Fuel, The Military and National Security
The Messenger
The True Cost
Think Like a Scientist: Boundaries
Think Like a Scientist: Gorongosa
Thirty Million
Unacceptable Risk: Firefighters on the Front Lines of Climate Change
Where Ice & Ocean Meet: Kenai Fjords National Park



ACFF Presents 14th Season!

The 14th annual American Conservation Film Festival opens Friday, October 21st with a festive reception and two blocks of three films each and culminates with its Encore Award Winners weekend October 28-30. The Festival brings together the finest conservation films and filmmakers from around the world and features discussions with scientists and educators, professional workshops, family programming, and social events — all with the mission of engaging, informing, and inspiring its audience through the power of film.

This year’s Festival will present films with a wide range of environmental and conservation themes. The Green Fire Award winning film, E.O. Wilson: Of Ants and Men, tells the story of this remarkable thinker and biologist, called “a Darwin for the modern day.” Filmmaker Graham Townsley will be in attendance to accept his award and speak about the film.

Catching the Sun (Green Spark Award winner for Sustainability) follows the global race between the U.S. and China to lead the world to a cleaner energy future.

The Foreign Film Award goes to Thirty Million, a film about the impending displacement of tens of millions of people in Bangladesh as they face rising sea levels due to climate change.

For the younger set, ACFF presents an exciting and delightful film called Life Story – First Steps about the challenges baby animals face in the first few days of life. This feature length film will be followed by an educational program from the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center featuring live wildlife animal ambassadors.

At four venues in and around Shepherdstown, ACFF invites its audience to explore the world through the stories, images, and people that create this offering of compelling films. Several filmmakers and subject matter experts will be present during the festival and participating in discussions following the screening of their films. Films are arranged in thoughtfully considered “blocks” to allow for maximum screening options and a diverse array of topics and film lengths.

Rotary Logo Shepherd Logo icon for web


In partnership with The Shepherdstown Rotary Club and Shepherd University’s School of Business & Social Sciences, the American Conservation Film Festival presents ‘The Bat Man of Mexico’ in celebration of The World Affairs Seminar and its theme of POLLINATION.

Bat Man

Rodrigo, ‘The Bat Man of Mexico,’ has been saving the amazing bats of his homeland since childhood, when he kept vampire bats in his bathroom.

Now his favorite drink, Tequila, is at stake. The bat that pollinates the plant that this famous liquor comes from is in trouble. Rodrigo braves hurricanes, snakes, Mayan tombs, and seas of cockroaches to find and save the bats. Narrated by David Attenborough, this is a heart-warming and breathtaking conservation success story. 64 minutes.

An audience favorite of the 2015 Festival!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016, 6:30 pm

Jefferson Room in White Hall (Rm 104)

on Shepherd University Campus

Free & Open to the Public

For more information, please contact David Manthos at


ACFF presents at DCEFF

ACFF Partners with DCEFF – the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital – for the screening of UNBRANDED

MARCH 17, 7pm at E STREET CINEMA, 555 11th Street NW, Washington, DC


We are thrilled to partner with our fellow film festival in the city, the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital (DCEFF), to share some of our favorite films with our respective audiences.  DCEFF will screen UNBRANDED at the Landmark E Street Cinema on March 17, 2016, at 7pm.  As at ACFF in 2015, the film’s producer, Dennis Aig from Montana State University, will be on hand for a brief discussion after the film.
Last fall marked the beginning of this partnership between ACFF and DCEFF when the latter presented Tiger Tiger, the William Warner Beautiful Swimmers Award Winner from the 2015 DCEFF, at our Festival in October.  The purpose of this partnership is to share more outstanding environmental films with wider audiences and help promote collaborations between festivals and filmmakers.

UNBRANDED follows four young men on a 3,000 mile journey with 16 wild mustangs to demonstrate the value of these horses and the public lands they occupy.  The film has won multiple festival awards and thrilled audiences around the world.


Unbranded logo & laurels
Tickets are FREE, but the screening is expected to be full, so REGISTER FOR YOUR SEAT HERE.
Join us for a special St. Patrick’s Day evening in the big city, catch this wonderful film, and go celebrate the luck of the Irish at one of these DC eateries/pubs!  We hope to see you there and we thank theDCEFF for this partnership opportunity.

Best of Fest in Frederick February 6, 2016

The American Conservation Film Festival’s Best of Fest returns to the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick, MD, for the fourth year for an event featuring live music, beer tasting, three films, and discussion about horse rescue following the feature film, Unbranded. This special cinematic event coincides with Frederick’s annual Fire in Ice – February First Saturday – so much festivity all in one place!               

Line-up for February 6 at The Weinberg:

6pm – Reception with music from Woven Green, an acoustic folk duo and Beer Tasting with Flying Dog Brewery

 7pmWelcome and introduction of films and guests

 7:10 – Osprey: Marine Sentinel the first film in over 30 years starring one of the world’s most iconic and significant raptors. A beautifully shot conservation success story. (15 minutes)

7:25 – White Earth – ACFF’s 2015 Student Filmmaker Award Winner – a striking story about the oil boom in America’s Northern Plains as seen through the eyes of a child and young family. (20 minutes)

7:45 – Brief Intermission

7:55 – Unbranded – one of the world’s most popular documentary films of 2015, this exciting adventure follows four riders and 16 wild mustangs over 3,000 miles to tell a story of the plight of the west’s wild horses, land rights, and sheer determination. (106 minutes)

9:40 – Discussion with Days End Farm Horse Rescue – representatives from DEFHR in Woodbine, MD, will discuss the challenges and joys of horse rescue, rehabilitation, and educational outreach.

Tickets are just $8 for adults; $5 for seniors/students and are available on the Weinberg’s website at or AT THE DOOR.

Best of Fest gives the American Conservation Film Festival the opportunity to take a sampling of what the annual film festival offers in Shepherdstown to other communities in the region. Best of Fests have been held in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia over the past several years.

This Best of Fest is generously sponsored by Flying Dog Brewery.

 The Trail House has donated a gift certificate to be given to a lucky audience member at intermission. ACFF is very grateful to these businesses and the Weinberg Center for the Arts for their support!

Thank you, EVERYONE, for a Fabulous Festival!

DSC_8962 sign & watchtowerOn behalf of the Board and staff of the American Conservation Film Festival, we extend our heartfelt thanks to our community, filmmakers, sponsors, volunteers, participants, cheerleaders, and audience members who laughed, cried, and celebrated with us during the 2015 Festival, October 22 to 25 and November 1.

It was a fantastic festival, with 50 amazing films, record numbers of ticket sales and filmmakers and special guests attending, and an incredibly supportive community of festival-goers, donors, and community members. We are very fortunate to be a part of this community and could not present this event without all of you.

The mission of ACFF is to promote outstanding films and the arts to educate and inspire people to become engaged in conservation.   Through the power of some of the best documentary conservation-themed films in the world and your participation, we achieve this mission. Our minds are expanded, our hearts are touched, and our behaviors are often changed to become more mindful of our impact on the world and each other.

This season, we presented 50 films over five days, welcomed over 30 filmmakers and special guests from around the country, had four standing-room-only film blocks, presented our 4th Conservation Filmmaker Workshop to 27 emerging and seasoned filmmakers, had two great after-parties, gave four awards to the most outstanding films, and welcomed over 500 audience members. By all measures, it was a great success.

There are too many people and organizations to thank by name in this letter, but do know that each and every one – from the ushers to program advertisers to our venues and party hosts to our filmmakers – is critical in bringing this unique and powerful festival experience to our community and audience. Thank you.


Joining us for the Festival? Here’s what you need to know!

This year marks our 13th Season!  From Thursday, October 22nd through Sunday, October 25 and November 1, we’ll be bringing you 48 films in 5 venues.  We are welcoming 33 filmmakers and conservation experts to town for post screening discussions.  Be sure to check out our FULL SCHEDULE as you make your plans.

We highly encourage you to purchase festival tickets online HERE to guarantee your seat.
Tickets are available for purchase NOW at The Local Source: 133 W. German Street.
You may also purchase tickets during the Festival at each festival venue.
For purchases made at the Reynolds Hall and Byrd Center for Legislative Studies box offices, we prefer cash or check transactions though credit cards will also be accepted.

Those who have signed up as a REEL FRIEND of ACFF should bring their Reel Friend passes for entrance into all films and events.  We will also have a list at the door of each venue.

We have 3 types of tickets:
Full Festival Pass $40 ($36 student/senior/military)
Day Pass $20 ($18 student/senior/military)
Block Ticket $12 ($10 student/senior military)
All films on Shepherd Campus are FREE to SU students with Rambler ID.
All films at NCTC are PAY AS YOU WANT – government issued ID required for all guests 16+.  We still encourage you to reserve a seat online.

Doors open at each venue a half hour before each film block.  We encourage you to arrive 15-30 minutes before start time to be sure you have a seat.

We’re inviting audience members and filmmakers to join us at the following gatherings:
Thursday, October 22nd – Preview Night at NCTC.  Two great films will screen, beginning at 7pm and concluding around 9.  Both filmmakers will be in attendance.  See more info here.
Friday, October 23 – GET SHAKEN & STIRRED WITH ACFF at Tito’s Night at domestic restaurant from 9:30 to midnight.  Special Tito’s cocktails, free nibbles, and a late-night dinner menu available.  And MUSIC from Ginada Pinata! Sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka.
Saturday, October 24 – WRAP PARTY at the Blue Moon from 9:30 to midnight with free hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.  Sponsored by Younis Orthodontics and Fallon Insurance.
Sunday, November 1 – Award Winners Encore Event – This year’s four ACFF award-winning films will be presented at the Shepherdstown Opera House beginning at 4:30 pm.  Please reserve a Pay As You Want ticket for this event online in advance, as we do expect a full house.For more info on Shepherdstown and all the great dining, shopping, lodging, and recreational offerings, check out the Shepherdstown Visitor Center’s site HERE.
Please give yourself plenty of time to find parking and get to your venue(s).  Free street parking is available Friday after 6pm and Saturday and Sunday, but do not park in residential parking zones!  Parking is also available in lots A and B on Shepherd University.
Be aware that King Street (in front of Reynolds Hall), between German Street and High Street, will be closed on Saturday from 8am to 8pm for BooFest events, so plan accordingly.
You can check out a Shepherdstown map here and a
Shepherd University Parking Map here.
And finally, check out this beautiful spread about the Festival in a special edition of Fluent magazine.

We look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Over 30 Filmmakers & Guest Speakers to Attend ACFF

One of the things that makes the American Conservation Film Festival unique is its inclusion of filmmakers and conservation experts in the Festival weekend. This year, a record number of 33 of these special guests will be joining the festivities, speaking about their films, and participating in the Conservation Filmmaker Workshop.

andrew-g-pcThe Festival opens with a special preview event on Thursday, October 22nd at the National Conservation Training Center with two films – All Over the Map: I Dream of Seney and The Power of One Voice: A 50-Year Perspective on the Life of Rachel Carson – both followed by Q and A sessions with their filmmakers, Peter Schriemer and Mark Dixon, respectively.

The two film blocks opening the Festival on Friday night, October 23, offer intimate glimpses into West Virginia issues and American west issues. The Wild, Wonderful, Endangered West Virginia block at the Byrd Center for Legislative Studies features three films on West Virginia coal and water wars and their filmmakers. The Broncos and Bison: Threats to Western Wildlife block at the Opera House features the much-heralded film, Unbranded, about efforts to save wild mustangs and the student-made film Silencing the Thunder about the plight of Montana’s bison. Dennis Aig, producer of Unbranded, and Eddie Roqueta, director of Silencing the Thunder, will introduce their films and take questions from the audience.

Of the 16 blocks of conservation-themed films at the Festival, 13 blocks will include an opportunity to discuss the films with the filmmakers or subject matter experts close to the issues featured in the films. In the Family Block – Charismatic Critters for Curious Kids and Their Parents – the filmmakers of The Flamingo Factory will talk about their project to protect East Africa’s millions of flamingos and Mark Madison, Historian at the Fish & Wildlife Service, will present a “Suitcase for Survival,” a hands-on education tool kit to teach youth about endangered species.

Neil Losin, filmmaker of ACFF’s Broadcast Award winner Islands of Creation, will discuss his fascinating film on the evolution of species as well as give the introductory keynote address at the Conservation Filmmaker Workshop which opens Saturday morning, October 24, at the National Conservation Training Center.

The following filmmakers may be contacted for interviews by email:

Christy and Turk Pipkin –   Film –Flamingo Factory
Eddie Roqueta –   Film – Silencing the Thunder
Dennis Aig –   Film – Unbranded
Nick and Cheryl Dean  Film – Life on Wallace’s Line
Susan Keegan  Film – Dare to Be Wild

For a complete list of films, discussion sessions, and special guests, please visit the ACFF website at