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The American Conservation Film Festival is dedicated to promoting outstanding films and the arts to educate and inspire people to become engaged in conservation. The motivating force behind ACFF is the power of film to engage, inform, and inspire.
The American Conservation Film Festival was started by a group of volunteers who shared both a devotion to film arts and a commitment to conservation. They also shared belief that attitudes about the environment are shaped by experiences in it, and that people and their cultures are an essential part of Earth's biosphere.
The venture was begun 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 a hundred quality submissions each year, reflecting the festival's strong and growing reputation with professional filmmakers. They appreciate ACFF's way of making the filmmakers and their work the focus of the Festival. ACFF rolls out the carpet for its filmmakers by hosting special "meet the filmmaker" events and filmmaker forums, and by providing amenities that few festivals offer.
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.
For twelve years, ACFF has brought the best of conservation filmmaking to Shepherdstown in the form of a four-day film festival held each fall, along with special screening events throughout the year.