Chesapeake Film Festival open Oct. 3

Submitted to Dorchester Banner
“Sharkwater Extinction” will be one of the films shown at the festival.

Where better to start off an evening of local environmental films than at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center hosted by four of the Chesapeake Bay’s biggest advocates: Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.

The reception on Oct. 4 is part of the Chesapeake Film Festival and precedes the premiere of a series of four short documentaries about Eastern Shore rivers directed by local filmmakers Dave Harp and Sandy Cannon-Brown. Cruise with environmental stewards on the Choptank and Miles-Wye and paddle along with them Nassawango Creek and the Sassafras River.

The 5 p.m. reception — with heavy hors d’oeuvres and wine and beer — is free to anyone holding a ticket for the films, which screen at 7:30 at the Avalon Theatre. A panel discussion led by the filmmakers and representatives of the host organizations — including Joe Fehrer of The Nature Conservancy, Matt Pluta and Zack Kelleher of ShoreRivers, and Alan Girard of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation — follows the screening.

For tickets, go to and select Environmental Shorts 1 + Reception in the list of films. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for youth (under 18) and seniors (55 and up).
The Chesapeake Film Festival starts Oct.r 3 and runs through Oct. 10. The best value is a Festival Pass ($140), which is good for any and all of the 62 films in the festival. The ticket is transferable, so you can share with family members or friends.

The Weekend Pass ($100) for all events Oct. 4 (including the reception and Environmental Shorts program) through Oct. 6, is especially attractive to lovers of environmental films. On Oct. 6, the entire day at 447 Gallery in Cambridge, is devoted to environmental films.

From noon- 1:30 p.m. at 447 Gallery, enjoy a series of five short films and discussions with filmmakers. The lineup includes a local film about an environmental awareness and character-building program, Take the Helm, at the YMCA in Easton. This short was also directed by the team of Cannon-Brown and Harp. A short film produced by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, The Incredible Oyster Reef, explores oysters as a keystone species with a remarkable potential to save the Bay.

Experience Tale of Tongs at 2 p.m. with architect Travis Price and his students from Catholic University on the Island of Inishturk in Ireland where they built a memorial on this remote, sparsely populated island. Filmmakers Judy and Stanley Hallet will lead a discussion after the film about the connections among architecture, history, culture and landscape.

At 4 p.m., the Festival showcases the incredible Sharkwater Extinction, winner of the Shared Earth Foundation Award for Advocacy at the prestigious DC Environmental Film Festival. The film follows filmmaker Rob Stewart as he exposes the massive illegal shark fin industry.

Chesapeake Film Festival board member Julie Patterson will lead the Q&A with shark experts.
Enjoy a dinner break at one of the fine Cambridge restaurants and return to 447 Gallery at 7:30 for the day’s finale: The Human Element. In this arresting new, multi-award-winning documentary from the producers of Racing Extinction, The Cove and Chasing Ice, environmental photographer James Blog captures Americans on the front lines of climate change, including the people of Tangier Island, Va. Lorie Staver of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science leads a discussion following the screening about efforts on the Eastern Shore to combat climate change and other environmental threats.

Films at the Talbot County Free Library are, as the name implies, free, but reservations are recommended for a day of environmental films on Oct. 5. The day, part of the Chesapeake Film Festival, begins at noon with Science Fair, a film filled with humor and drama that wows middle- and high-school students, teachers and anyone who enjoys fantastic stories about amazing youth and their mentors.

At 1 p.m. Conowingo Dam: Power on the Susquehanna, produced by Maryland Public Television, explores the history of the massive dam and today’s challenge of keeping debris from Pennsylvania and New York from flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. Representatives from Exelon Corporation, which owns Conowingo, and other groups will lead a discussion about the past and future of the dam.

At 3 p.m., the library brings back a Chesapeake Film Festival Favorite: Saving Sea Turtles.
Narrated by renowned scientist Dr. Sylvia Earle, this film shows how humans pushed a healthy population to the precipice of extinction and are now slowly helping it to recover. Be prepared to fall in love with the endangered Kemp’s Ridley turtle, and with the people determined to save it.

For a complete listing of films and to purchase tickets go to

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