A Kalahari Family: Death by Myth

90 min.
John Marshal’s A Kalahari Family tells a remarkable story of eco-tourism, bearing witness to the power of a media myth over local reality. “There are two kinds of films,”; a Kalahari resident explains. “Films that show us in [animal] skins are lies. Films that show the truth show us with cattle, with farms, with our own water, [and] making our own plans.” A Kalahari Family follows an environmental and cultural conflict involving well-meaning eco-tourism advocates, U.S. AID officials, elephants, and a struggling people made famous by films like The Gods Must Be Crazy.

A Life Among Whales

59 min.
A Life Among Whales describes the unique relationship between people and whales, as told by renowned whales biologist and pioneer Dr. Roger Payne who, since the early 1970s, has consistently advanced the boundaries of science and activism. The film blends Payne’s biography with natural history, including brutal images of whale slaughter from the days before whalers banned videographers from their decks. (Parents, be forewarned.) The filmmakers hope to leave viewers “contemplating our stewardship of Earth and our co-existence with some of its most intriguing creatures.”

America’s Lost Landscape: The Tallgrass Prairie

60 min.
America’s Lost Landscapedepicts the changes to Midwestern landscape during the past 150 years. Once covering 28 million acres of North America, and 80 percent of Iowa alone, today’s tallgrass prairie is largely converted to farmland. Narrated by actress Annabeth Gish (West Wing), America’s Lost Landscape seeks to enlighten audiences of the importance and legacy of the prairie. The film documents the prairie’s past at the hands of Native Americans and Euro-Americans, and innovative efforts to preserve its future. Director David O’Shields and biologist Daryl Smith are guests of ACFF ’05.

An Injury to One

53 min.
This film provides a compelling glimpse of a particularly volatile moment in early 20th-century American labor history in the mineral mining industry: the rise and fall of Butte, Montana. The pace is ponderous, the tone artistically “edgy,” as An Injury to One chronicles the mysterious death of union organizer Frank Little, an unsolved murder. The film associates the murder with other offenses against Butte, left with an environmental record “inscribed upon the landscape”; by Anaconda Mining Co.

Bird People (Vogelmenschen)

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

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

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

[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

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?

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.