Tuesday, February 11, 2020

10th RVA Environmental Film Festival (February 9, 2020)

This past Sunday was a good day. For the first time I watched one of my films on a big screen at a film festival. Who's Protecting Our National Bird? screened at the RVA Environmental Film Festival in Richmond, Virginia at the historic and absolutely gorgeous Byrd Theatre. It won the grand prize for the Virginia Film Contest.
Left to Right: Scott Burger (Co-Founder and Past President), Me, Lori Schamerhorn (Steering Committee)

My previous documentary was accepted into two film festivals: the All Sports Film Festival in Los Angeles and the ImageOut Film Festival in Rochester, New York. I couldn't afford to travel to either. I tell this story of how when it screened in LA, I celebrated by eating a Mexican pizza at Taco Bell in Manassas, VA at the time. Five years of hard work and I couldn't afford to sit with an audience of viewers who each paid $13 to see it. And as you might guess, I received none of that. Being a filmmaker is not always profitable, but you hope that your films will make a difference.

This time I chose a few local film festival venues: the RVA Environmental Film Festival and the DC Environmental Film Festival. I won't know for a few more days if this documentary is selected for the latter, so keep your fingers crossed. Here are some photos and a video from Sunday's event.

Me and my friend Bill Briscoe. Bill was a major contributor to my film and is also an eagle photographer.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Documentary Wins Grand Prize in RVA Environmental Film Festival Contest

(Manassas, VA) - The nature documentary "Who's Protecting Our National Bird?" has been awarded the grand prize for the Virginia Film Contest of the RVA (Richmond, Virginia) Environmental Film Festival. The mission of the RVA Environmental Film Festival is to showcase films that bring awareness to the environmental issues facing the city, region, and planet.

Now in its 10th year, the festival was founded as The Biggest Picture: Richmond’s First Environmental Film Festival under the James River Film Society. In 2011, the Sierra Club - Falls of the James Group backed the event as the RVA Environmental Film Festival. Support from the community for the festival grows with each passing year. This year the festival runs from February 7-14 and will screen twenty films around the Richmond area. The complete schedule can be found here.

Producer of the documentary, Victor Rook, writes, "I am humbled and honored to have received the award of grand prize for our documentary on the plight of bald eagles nationwide. Though they have returned in numbers, bald eagles are increasingly challenged by habitat loss as developers encroach upon their large territories. When I saw what was happening to our only eagle pair in Manassas, Virginia, I knew I had to document and investigate it. This film is a first-hand account of citizens taking on local, state, and federal agencies that are failing to protect the environment for these wonderful, majestic creatures."

Scott Burger, co-founder and past president of the RVA EFF, commended Mr. Rook in an email. "Our judges were impressed by your determination in telling this sad but important story."

The grand prize includes a check for $1000, which will be presented at the time of screening. "Who's Protecting Our National Bird?" will screen on Sunday, February 9, at the historic Byrd Theatre at 2:50 p.m. Admission to the public is free. Byrd Theatre is located at 2908 W. Cary Street, Richmond, Virginia.

DVDs for the documentary can be ordered here.