Mission: ACFF presents conservation-focused films and programs that engage, inform, and inspire.
We accomplish this by:
- Curating and presenting contemporary films on conservation issues.
- Supporting emerging filmmakers and new film projects.
- Providing educational, interactive opportunities for filmmakers, audience members, and youth.
- Partnering with organizations, businesses, and individuals to share information and strengthen resources.
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. They also shared the belief that attitudes about the environment are shaped by our experiences in it and that people and their cultures are an essential part of Earth’s biosphere.
The venture started and has remained in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, the location of two partners who have provided the venues for ACFF films since the Festival’s founding in 2003: the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center and Shepherd University. From the outset, ACFF struck a chord with local filmgoers and tourists from the Washington, DC and Baltimore, Maryland regions. ACFF has expanded its audience by keeping ticket prices low and presenting many of its films free of charge.
We now attract more than 300 quality submissions each year, selecting just around 10% through a comprehensive and thoughtful jury process. Jury members include educators, film buffs, scientists, conservationists, and filmmakers.
The festival enjoys a strong relationship with professional and student filmmakers. They appreciate ACFF’s way of making the filmmakers and their work the focus of the Festival. A film festival truly becomes festive when the creators join us and we strive to do everything we can to facilitate their presence.
ACFF also invites guest lecturers to help frame the topics of films that illuminate pressing environmental issues.
As the festival has matured, so has ACFF as an institution. The ACFF Board of Directors reflects a range of interests and backgrounds; people who share the vision of sustaining a quality arts organization that is focused on environmental education.