Travel the entire world in four days and never leave town. Science fiction? No, just the 22nd edition of the American Conservation Film Festival which will run from March 7 through March 10 in Shepherdstown. The 2024 festival will screen 27 films at the Frank Center on the Shepherd University campus. If you’re up for the entire voyage, the festival’s films will take you across five continents. There are films that explore icy Antarctica, Africa’s Serengeti, the rugged coastline of Wales, and the ancient villages of Lebanon. Touring North America, you can travel to the wild Pacific shores of Oregon, slither along with Pythons through the Florida Everglades, and — closer to home — wander through the Appalachian “hollers” of the West Virginia hills.
The festival is presenting four featured films. Deep Rising, by filmmaker Matthieu Rytz, highlights the mysteries of the deep oceans and presents a critical look at plans to extract metals on the sea beds that are critical to support the green energy economy. Nuclear Now, by Oliver Stone, presents the case for a fresh look at nuclear energy. Food, Inc. 2, by Robert Kenner and Melissa Robledo, examines the vulnerabilities of our industrial food system. Clear Day Thunder, by Adams Wood and Rod Murphy, tells the story of the decline, and attempts to revive, the mighty American Chestnut forests of North America.
The 2024 festival will kick off with a free nature hike, co-sponsored by The Nature Conservancy and the Potomac Valley Audubon Society, followed by a talk about Appalachian biodiversity. Additional programming includes a family-friendly film block, eco-activities for children, conversations with filmmakers, and book talk by local author Leah Rampy. The festival concludes with a community dinner at the Alma Bea restaurant featuring an Appalachian buffet.
For program details and advance ticketing, visit ConservationFilmFest.org.By Staff Contributor