Bird People (Vogelmenschen)

2005 FESTIVAL
92 min.
An unusual and engaging peek behind the scenes of Winged Migration, the successful 2001 film by Jacques Perrin. Filmmaker Eduard Erne gives us a look at twenty “bird people”;—biologists, dropouts and adventurers—who devoted four years of their lives to raising the migratory birds that are followed during migration in Winged Migration. The group members explain how they were cut off from the outside world for yearsand developed a close bond with the starring geese, swans, and pelicans in Normandy, as they worked on their motorized, camera-equipped glider. “I’ve cured myself of all human instincts like shame, dishonesty and nervousness,”; one of the caretakers says. A touching testament to the adaptability of animals — and their human “parents” too.

Blue Vinyl

2005 FESTIVAL
98 min.
When Judith Helfand’s parents clad their home in blue vinyl, she became suspicious. Helfand sets off to explore the life cycle of vinyl–and a subsequent search for sustainable, healthier, low- risk alternative. (IF she can convince her reluctant parents to replace it!) Helfand is an engaging and humorous guide to a complex topic. She goes to great lengths to help her audience understand the science behind her subject, an approach that is complemented by some inventive cinematography. Winner of a Sundance Film Festival Award.

Deep Blue

2005 FESTIVAL
83 min.
Deep Blue is an innovative documentary that takes its audience on an exciting voyage through the last great frontier on Earth: the Ocean. The filmmakers have captured a world below the waves in a way that no other has, using technology that takes us where few humans have ever explored before: into the pitch-black homes of creatures so rare they’ve never been seen on film before. The result is a documentary on oceanographic life — filled with whales, sharks, and seals — that is beautiful both visually and musically. As one viewer says: “You hear their voices and experience their emotions.”

Good Riddance

2005 FESTIVAL.
[Short Films]
More animated environmental wit from Nick Hilligoss, the brilliant clay animator of Turtle World, Good Riddancefollows the exploits of Eco, the clean, green pest controller with a clever biological solution for every pest problem. (When looking for an ecological solution, it’s good to remember that everything is related.

Grizzly Man

2005 FESTIVAL
103 min.
German director Werner Herzog accepted the unusual task of editing 100 hours of astonishing footage and interviews made by a man who had since died of a grizzly attack. Herzog emerged with this fascinating one-of-a-kind film. Grizzly Manis the haunting story of Timothy Treadwell, a desperate believer in the romantic ideal of Nature as innocent and kind. Treadwell lectured and fought for the preservation of grizzlies before he died in October 2003 – killed by a grizzly in Alaska’s Katmai National Park. To his credit, Herzog treats Treadwell as a fellow filmmaker and finds a compelling aesthetic in the footage. This Discovery Channel-Lion’s Gate collaboration was made for the big screen.

Here’s My Question: Where Does My Garbage Go?

2005 FESTIVAL
26 min.
This is a fun film that teaches kids (K-5), as well as their parents, about waste and recycling. Directed by Ellen Hovde & Muffie Meyer with drawings by New Yorker cartoonist Ed Koren, Where Does My Garbage Go? is a great adventure about the process of collecting and dealing with trash. Songs are provided by the writers at Sesame Street. Plenty to keep young viewers interested.

In the Blood

2005 FESTIVAL
90 min.
The ACFF selection committee selected In the Blood as an interesting counterpoint to Kalahari Family. This controversial film follows the hunting education, in Africa, of a young American boy. The film raises hunting to the level of a religion—a rite of passage. Filmmaker George Butler documents an African expedition that retraces the 1908 safari of Theodore Roosevelt. Butler places his own son at the center of what becomes a lesson in “ancestral heritage.”; As animals are stalked and taken down, we learn that the role of an active hunting culture as key to wildlife conservation. Viewers should be prepared to hear the drumbeat: Man’s desire to hunt is “In the Blood.”

Leave No Trace: Appalachian Trail and The Only Water We Will Have

2005 FESTIVAL.
[Student Films]
These films will be presented by their producers, all regional students: Leave No Traceis a film about low-impact hiking and camping by Tara Roberts, of Shepherd University. The Only Water We Will Ever Have, by Christophile Konstas, Mindy Hirsch, and Sarah Eckles, of American University’s Center for Environmental Film-Making.

March of the Penguins

2005 FESTIVAL
80 min.
This summer’s National Geographic-supported hit documentary follows thousands of emperor penguins as they embark on their annual journey across the pitiless “desert”; of Antarctic ice. Images of the penguins’ annual struggle to bear and raise chicks stay with you. “My goal is to dig from the ice a story which has never seen the light of day, for want of a teller,”; says director Luc Jacquet.  “There has never been a generation of men to witness and shape it, to pass it down. They remain strangers.”

Mountain Memories: An Appalachian Sense of Place

2005 FESTIVAL
34 min.
Wildlife photographer Jim Clark imparts a sense of rural Appalachia’s natural beauty by combining profound patience and attention to detail, nurtured by a lifetime in the mountains of West Virginia. Clarke shares his work and his mountain upbringing in this brief film by Ray and Judy Schmitt (Real Earth Productions), who are guests of ACFF ’05. The film contains about 125 stunning images that Clarke made in the Allegheny Highlands, as he offers an interesting narrative about his career and his approach to photography.