(Nov. 8, 2019) Assateague Coastal Trust will present its ninth annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival at Seacrets on 49th Street, Thursday, Nov. 14, from 7-9:30 p.m.

“Everybody who comes to the film festival this year might be inspired as to ways that they can go back home and get engaged in various ways for whatever their particular issue might be, whether it’s offshore drilling or protecting our wetlands or dealing with plastic pollution,” said Assateague Coastkeeper Kathy Phillips. “We want people to be inspired to become activists.”

Seventeen films will be presented, each specifically selected by Assateague Coastal Trust for a customized Wild & Scenic Film Festival tour with the theme “Community Engagement.”

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Hundreds of people check out the eighth annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival held at Seacrets on 49th Street last year.

Topics focus on themes which both celebrate the splendor of the planet and speak to environmental concerns the Earth faces. Film lengths range from four to 30 minutes.

“A lot of the films that we’re going to be showcasing several environmental issues that they’re addressing, there’s a lot of community engagement that’s involved with tackling these various issues,” Billy Weiland, Assateague Coastal Trust’s communication director, said. “They’re not just East Coast issues, they’re international issues as well. So it seems like a lot of the documentaries were centered around getting people involved in the local community.”

“The way we select the films, we’ll get 80-100 films from the Wild & Scenic Film Festival,” he continued. “We pre-select films based on our audience here and some of the environmental issues that are relevant to our area specifically.”

Last year was very successful for the Ocean City segment of the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, Phillips said. Last year, Assateague Coastal Trust also presented films at a second venue, the Cinema Art Theater in Lewes, Delaware.

The event sold out and did so well, that this year, there will be two showings at the Cinema Art Theater on Tuesday, Nov. 19 from 7-9:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 24 from 1-3:30 p.m.

New to the festival this year will be a third venue located in Chincoteague at the Island Theatre, on Saturday, Nov. 16 from 7-9:30 p.m. 

“The cinematography that some of these films carry, it really captures people’s attention and I think the arts is probably one of our most powerful tools in the environmental field: music and photography and film,” Weiland said. “People always walk away from this inspired. Usually it’s one or two films that really, really grab at people’s hearts.”

Live music, food and drink specials, door prizes, raffles, a 50/50 and a silent auction featuring items from local artists and businesses will complement the evening in Seacrets’ Morley Hall.

“This is a big fundraising event for our organization, Assateague Coastal Trust and we’re the only advocacy organization in the area so we’re the eyes and ears for our waterways,” Weiland said. “We’re going out there and it supports our work and our efforts that we do throughout the year.”

Tickets for the Ocean City festival cost $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Ticket package discounts are also available. Additional event details and tickets can be purchased online at www.actforbays.org/ act-events or by calling 410-629-1538. 

“While Assateague Coastal Trust and the Assateague Coastkeeper are more than willing to speak for our local communities and speak for our local waterways, it’s important that the people who both enjoy and benefit from our natural resources locally [are] also part of the process of protecting them,” Phillips said.

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