Sep / 9

American Conservation Film Festival’s Best-of-Fest Event: Sept 20th

Join the American Conservation Film Festival (ACFF) at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) Schmidt Meeting Room Friday, September 20th, 2013 at 7:00pm


Cape Spin! An American Power Struggle, last year’s runner up for both the ACFF Green Fire Award and Audience Choice Award. This film is the surreal, fascinating, tragicomic tale of the battle over one of America’s largest clean energy project, 130 wind turbines in fabled Nantucket Sound. Cape Spin! tells the incredible tale of how America’s first proposed offshore wind farm triggered a schism in this idyllic coastal region, pitting neighbor against neighbor and environmentalist against environmentalist. (86 minutes)

Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay, a runner-up for Best Student Film, explores the far-reaching impact of menhaden through the eyes of the men who love this stinky, oily fish for what it contributes to their livelihood, to their heritage, and to the health of Chesapeake Bay. (27 minutes)

Open to the public free of charge:

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
647 Contees Wharf Road, Edgewater, Maryland 21037-0028
Phone: 443-482-2200

About ACFF

The American Conservation Film Festival is an annual event held in Shepherdstown, WV, a vibrant arts community 70 miles west of Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD. ACFF features films from a diverse group of conservation filmmakers from around the world. This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization addresses conservation through the lens of film, providing a platform for education and dialogue about more sustainable ways to live. By presenting outstanding conservation films ACFF programming promotes solutions to pressing conservation issues, respect for world’s natural and cultural heritage and passion for conserving our resources. Since 2003, the Festival has screened some 300 films to 29,000 audience members, and has inspired countless individuals and organizations to help make the transformation toward better ways to live, work, and play.

More information can be found at

May / 28

Lighthouse International Film Festival: Jun 7-9

Menhaden has been officially selected to be screened at the Lighthouse International Film Festival on June 9th. For additional information about this great Festival in New Jersey visit:

To order tickets for the menhaden screening, visit:

Apr / 22

Over 21,500 Viewers!

Menhaden aired on PBS Maryland Public Television as part of the kick off for Chesapeake Bay week on April 22, 2013. The program received over 21,500 viewers from the Baltimore and DC metro areas.

Dec / 27

Colorado Environmental Film Festival: Feb 21-24

Menhaden: Most Important Fish in the Bay has been selected to screen at the 7th Annual Colorado Environmental Film Festival, February 21-24, 2013.

“The Colorado Environmental Film Festival (CEFF) is a celebration of the power of film to inspire, educate, and motivate audiences. CEFF presents thought-provoking films and dialogue that raise awareness of a wide variety of interconnected ecological, social, and economic themes. The Festival provides an experience for the audience that goes beyond passive film viewing: CEFF inspires audiences into awareness and action.”

To learn more about this festival visit:

Dec / 27

Neuse Riverkeeper Film Festival: Jan 12

Menhaden: Most Important Fish in the Bay has been selected to screen at the Neuse Riverkeeper Film Festival at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. This festival focuses on water topics.

To learn more visit their facebook page:

Oct / 28

Alexandria Film Festival: Nov 18

Menhaden has been selected to screen at the Alexandria Film Festival! Our film will be screened at 4pm on Nov 18th. Jill Ray and Sarah Gulick will be available for a Q&A session afterwards.

Sep / 28

Wild & Scenic Film Festival: Nov 16th

Menhaden will be screening at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival! Join us at the Avalon in Easton, MD on Friday Nov 16th, 2012. Director Sarah Gulick will be available for a Q&A after the film.



Sep / 3

American Conservation Film Festival: Nov 1st

“Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay” has been chosen as an Official Selection of the 2012 American Conservation Film Festival. It is scheduled to be shown opening night, Thursday, November 1st.

With an emphasis on the intersection between people and the environment, the festival provides a venue to explore these issues and bring them back to people’s lives, through high quality films and discussions with filmmakers and other experts. The festival is dedicated to promoting outstanding films and the arts that educate and inspire people to become engaged in conservation.

Sarah Gulick and Brian Kelley will be part of a panel discussion after the film screens.

For the full schedule:


Jul / 28

Chesapeake Folk Festival: Jul 28

St. Michaels, MD, July 28, 2012 –  Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay was featured at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in Saint Michaels, MD during the annual Chesapeake Folk Festival.

The Chantey Singers, who are featured in the film, were on hand to tell how singing helped provide rhythm and coordination as they worked the huge, heavy menhaden nets in the days before mechanization.  While Menhaden has aired twice on Maryland Public Television, this was the first time the Chantey Singers had seen the film.  Their response:  “It was wonderful!”  Others in the audience echoed the rave review.

Menhaden, which recently won three Student Emmys, was one of two programs MPT presented at the festival. The other one,Chesapeake Bay Bridge: Spanning the Bay, also won two Emmys from the National Capital/Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Arts & Sciences.

Jul / 16

Press Release

For Immediate Release July 2012
Contact: Gillian Ray

Documentary Film on Menhaden, an Endangered Chesapeake Bay Fishery,
Wins Three Regional Student Emmy Awards

(Washington, DC) – The environmental film Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay, a 26-minute documentary that aired on Maryland Public Television in April, won three student Emmys for outstanding documentary, photography, and editing from the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The film also recently received a CINE Golden Eagle award as a top student documentary and is currently featured on LinkTV’s Earth Focus channel.

“We’re absolutely thrilled the film is getting attention because that means more people will learn about Menhaden –  a stinky, oily little fish that is key to the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Producer Gillian Ray.  The film’s Director Sarah Gulick added “So many people, especially small family businesses, rely on menhaden that it is in the best interest of all stakeholders to sustain this  fishery.”

Funded by the American University Center for Environmental Filmmaking, the documentary examines the role Menhaden play in the Chesapeake Bay’s ecology as well as the regional economy. As filter fish, Menhaden help clean Bay waters and they are the base of the food chain for prize fish like rockfish and blue fish, making them them a valued bait fish.  Menhaden are also caught and processed into commodities such as fish meal and oil by the reduction industry.

Attention to the film coincides with an ongoing public conversation about the future of menhaden fisheries along the east coast. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is charged with deciding how to implement a reduction to the menhaden catch beginning in 2013 and is accepting public comments. To learn more about the reduction, visits the ASMFC website. To request a screening of the documentary, contact Producer Gillian Ray or Director Sarah Gulick.

Jun / 16

Menhaden Wins Three Student Emmys

Washington, June 16, 2012 — American University students won top honors in three categories at the 54th Emmy Awards June 16 at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

The AU filmmakers won student Emmys for Outstanding Documentary, Photography, and Editing. Accepting the award for their Outstanding Documentary, Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay, were (L-R) Helenah Swedberg, Ali Ogden, Jennifer Stratton, Sandy Cannon-Brown, Gillian Ray, and Sarah Gulick. Brian Kelley, Tony Azios and Jordan Brown were unable to attend. The film premiered on Maryland Public Television in April as part of Chesapeake Bay Week.

Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay was produced for Sandy Cannon-Brown’s Environmental & Wildlife Production class, an initiative of the AU Center for Environmental Filmmaking.


May / 17

Menhaden accepted into BLUE Ocean Film Festival

Menhaden: Most Important Fish in the Bay has been accepted into the 2012 Blue Ocean Film Festival and will be available for on-demand screening in the Video Library throughout the festival Sept 24-30.

May / 5

Menhaden wins Outstanding Environmental Production at Visions

Menhaden wins Outstanding Environmental Production at American University’s Visions award festival.

Apr / 16

Premiere on PBS! Apr 16

Menhaden: The Most Important Fish in the Bay premiers on April 16, 2012, at 10pm on Maryland Public Television (WMPT).

Apr / 10

Sneak Peak: Apr 10

Tuesday, April 10, 7pm at American University’s Wechsler theatre, catch a sneak peak of Menhaden: Most Important Fish in the Bay. This is the last program of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking spring series. Q&A with the filmmakers after the screening.