Mountain Memories: An Appalachian Sense of Place

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.

National Bison Range: Keeping Our Bison Heritage Alive

14 min.
The National Bison Range is a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service introduction to the wildlife conservation area created by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 to bring the threatened buffalo back from extinction. The American bison is the undisputed star of this show—great, shaggy creatures of prehistory that once roamed the American West in the millions. Audiences young and old can enjoy the sight of the majestic herds of bison that blanket Western hillsides, fulfilling the goals of the refuge, as well as the mission of the Fish & Wildlife Service: conserving wildlife to benefit all Americans.

Oil on Ice

59 min.
Winner of a 2004 Pare Lorentz Award, Oil on Iceis a vivid, compelling and comprehensive documentary about the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The film examines the battle over oil development in a stunning place, featuring fascinating wildlife that has adapted to this environment, as well as the people — the Gwich’in Athabascan Indians and Inupiat Eskimos — who rely on the wildlife for subsistence. The film links the fate of the refuge to other issues that, at first glance, may seem unrelated.

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.