Chesapeake Film Festival Hosts a Day of Film and Discussion about Climate Change

September 19, 2017

Chesapeake Film Festival
Easton, MD

On October 28th, the 2017 Chesapeake Film Festival shows the power of documentary film in a full day of national and local films on the topic of climate change. A subject widely discussed and sometimes contentious, audiences will view a series of dynamic films that both inform and entertain. Thought leaders in the field will be on hand to clarify the impacts of climate change on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries and beyond, and on the human, public health, and economic losses for those who live on the shoreline and work its waters.

The Avalon Theatre opens its doors at 10:30 a.m. with a series of environmental shorts: When I Plant A Tree, directed by Jonah Moshammer; Fisherman Without A Sea, directed by Lucas Bonetti; The Next Epoch Seed Library, directed by Candace Thompson; and The Last Boat Out, directed by Laura Seltzer-Duny.

The program’s formal launch begins at noon with opening remarks from Program Chair and Tilghman resident George A. Nilson, and from Charles O. Monk, II, Board of Visitors Chair of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES, Horn Point).

Leonardo DiCaprio has long brought his celebrity to raising awareness of climate change. In National Geographic’s Before the Flood produced by Martin Scorsese, DiCaprio meets with scientists worldwide to discuss the impacts of climate change. The film opened to acclaim at the Washington DC

Environmental Film Festival last April, and CFF Artistic Director Cid Collins Walker succeeded in securing permission to show the film in the Easton festival.

A partnership with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy brings substantive expertise to the film discussions. Following the DiCaprio film, Town Creek Foundation Executive Director Stuart Clarke will moderate a discussion among Maryland Secretary of the Environment, Benjamin H. Grumbles and Dr. Donald Boesch, Professor of Marine Science, President of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) until September 2017. Jacqueline Patterson, Director of the NAACP Environment and Climate Justice Program has been invited and confirmation is pending.

The next film, The Ashes, also a NatGeo film, is directed by Michael Bonifiglio, and funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The devastating impacts of coal mining, storing and exporting are vividly shown. The film presents the divergent views between the miners, environmentalists, and government policy makers.

Next up are three films presented together that present the dangers we face on our treasured bay and shoreline.

Waterman, directed by Jess Jacklin, presents a portrait of her grandfather Harry and his relationship to the Chesapeake Bay. After writing songs for over 50 years spent out on the water, Harry performs at the Waterfowl Festival for the first time at age 87. The film follows his journey- a last attempt to save the bay advocating through his music, aiming to remind us all of what’s at stake.

In The Ballad of Holland Island House, director by Lynn Tomlinson uses clay-on-glass animation to tell the true story of the last house on a sinking island in the Chesapeake Bay, off Tilghman Island.

In High Tide In Dorchester, writer and narrator Tom Horton recalls hitting softballs with friends in front of his dad’s hunting and fishing cabin on the Honga River in lower Dorchester County. Today, the ballfield is four feet underwater and 200 feet from the shoreline. The film addresses the lack of adequate planning needed to meet the imminent challenges of living on the edges of a rising tide.

The discussion following this trilogy of films will be moderated by Brian Ambrette, Coastal Resilience Manager, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, and includes William C. “Bill” Boicourt, Professor Emeritus, Horn Point Laboratory UMCES, Tom Horton, Writer, High Tide In Dorchester; David Harp, Director, High Tide in Dorchester; Jess Jacklin, Director, Waterman (and her Grandad appears in the film), and Laura Seltzer-Duny, Director, The Last Boat Out.

Following a late afternoon reception, at 7 p.m., Oyster, an Australian film directed by Kim Beamish screens. It tells the story of a passionate Australian oyster farmer who swears that the water is getting warmer and the storms more severe. The only oyster legal for them to grow is the gourmet’s delight, the Sydney Rock Oyster. The story follows his work to keep a few million oysters alive, and necessary decisions to deal with the pressures of climate change and environmental damage, and their far reaching consequences.

And finally, Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth, addresses the progress made to persuade government leaders to invest in renewable energy, culminating in the landmark signing of the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement. This film will be shown at the Easton Premier Cinemas on Saturday, October 28, at 9:30 p.m., and on Sunday, October 29 at 1 p.m. In Cambridge, the screening is on October 29 at 7:45 p.m.

The Avalon Theater is the Chesapeake Film Festival headquarters, with satellite venues at the Art Academy Museum, Talbot County Public Library, and Easton & Cambridge Premier Cinemas. Tickets are reasonably priced: $12 per film, or $50 for a full day program. Friday Opening Night tickets are $30. Saturday and Sunday programs combined are $85. For further information about all films and special events, and to purchase tickets, visit

The Chesapeake Film Festival welcomes public support with sponsorships and program advertisements. Please contact to support its mission.

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