Oil and Water: Reflections on Nature, Madness and Psyche

26 min.
Oil and Water explores the relationship between humans and the natural world. Shot in Prince William Sound, Alaska, during the course of 20 years, the film is an introspective chronicle of loss within the destruction of pristine wilderness. Filmmaker Corwin Fergus uses the tragedy of the Exxon Valdez oil spill to examine how wilderness is critical habitat not just for animals, but for the human psyche — and how thousands of years of cultural history have led us away from this once most obvious of truths. Oil and Wateris an experimental film, attempting to sway the heart in a way that cannot be done by reason and science. Mr. Fergus and editor Daniel Hammill are guests of ACFF ’05.

Proteus: A Nineteenth Century Vision

60 min.
Premiering at Sundance in 2004, Proteus embarks upon a historic journey into the depths of the sea — while exploring the intersection of science and art. For 19th-century explorers, the world beneath the oceans was like the 20th-century promise of “outer space.”;Proteususes the undersea world as the locus for a meditation on the troubled intersection of scientific and artistic vision. The film animates rare artworks from obscure collections, the legends of Faust and Coleridge’s Ancient Marinerand binds them together with the laying of the transatlantic telegraphic cable and other scientific discovery. The central figure of the film is biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), who formed a mystical vision of seeming irreconcilables: science and art, materialism and religion, rationality and passion.


Ride of the Mergansers

12 min.
This entertaining film offers a literal peek into the camera-equipped “built environment”; of the reclusive and rarely seen hooded merganser duck, found only in North America. A mere twenty hours after hatching, a dozen or so merganser ducklings must leap from their nest.

Shenandoah National Park: The Gift

15 min.
This offering of the National Park and Monument Series tells the story of Shenandoah National Park, in Virginia, and of what brought about its change from a depleted, ravaged land to a national park of high mountains and thickly wooded valleys.

Strange Days on Planet Earth: Invaders

55 min.
National Geographic’sStrange Days on Planet Earthis a series that premiered on PBS this year — a “detective story exploring the fate of our planet.”; In Invaders, we learn how a predator species has dramatic effects on its own environment—or on another continent! One amazing story focuses on New Orleans, where the challenge of the moment isn’t floods, but house pests!
This and other environmental mysteries are tackled by Invaders, part of National Geographic’s Strange Days winner of the coveted Golden Panda (best series award) and the One Planet awards.

Strange Days on Planet Earth: The One Degree Factor

55 min.
From the Arctic north to the tropical isles of the Caribbean, scientists are documenting a series of perplexing phenomena many believe is linked to climate change. In The One Degree Factor, we learn about unsettling transformations sweeping across the globe, and how scientists are assembling a new picture of our Earth, where seemingly disparate events are connected. Shifts in global climate means that places such as Alaska and the northwest corner of Canada are getting more than their share of heat. Scientists try to piece together a puzzle involving the rise and fall of the porcupine caribou, the mosquitoes that distract them, dust in the Americas, and a drying Lake Chad.

The Buffalo War

57 min.
The American bison has stood at the center of a controversy that spans more than 150 years of American history. In the American West, environmental groups, Native Americans, ranchers, and state and federal authorities are pulling in different directions, each with its own ideas for preserving the last free-roaming herds of buffalo—some 3,000 animals in Yellowstone National Park. The Buffalo War explores efforts to preserve and control this majestic symbol of the American West, an unusual story of the groups and the fate of their bovine ward. Producer/director Matt Testa is a guest of ACFF ’05.

The Future of Food

89 min.
The Future of Food, by ACFF guest filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia, offers an in-depth investigation into genetic engineering of food crops, gene patents, and food labeling — together comprising a revolution” in the way U.S. industries stock grocery-store shelves.The Future of Food provides a good keynote for the festival’s theme, “Conservation’s Front Lines.” It was instrumental in passing a measure banning planting of genetically engineered crops in Mendocino County, California, probably the only U.S. county government to do so.

The Greatest Good: A Forest Service Centennial Film

120 min.
The Greatest Good is a professionally produced high-definition documentary by and about the U.S. Forest Service. Countering “unchecked exploitation”; of natural resources, the Service’s visionary founders successfully enshrined the values of their still-young conservation movement with policies and practice of the U.S. government. By the film’s own admission, it’s been a rocky road since then. It poses a valid question: In the face of a changing “vision,”; shaped by new scientific understanding, whatis today’s “greatest good?”

Banjo Frogs

5 min.