Our Story

Human rights film festivals occur around the world, from Geneva and Glasgow to Melbourne and Mumbai. They are galvanizing cultural events. Very few occur in the United States, and only one in Colorado – the ACT Human Rights Film Festival.

ACT (which stands for Awaken, Connect, Transform) was born out of expertise in the Department of Communication Studies at Colorado State University in the area of media and visual culture. Dr. Scott Diffrient, Professor of Film and Media Studies, held the William E. Morgan Endowed Chair of Liberal Arts from 2013-2016 and dedicated a portion of his funding to establish the first-ever human rights film festival occurring in the Rocky Mountain West.

Dr. Diffrient’s vision is that every year ACT discovers and curates relevant, artistically excellent, and recently produced documentary and narrative feature film that explores a range of human rights issues, as outlined by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The first ACT Human Rights Film Festival took place in April 2016. Little did we know when set out to plan this festival the broad impact it would have on attendees, festival guests, and the community. No other cultural event in Fort Collins gathers people from around the world and Northern Colorado to share stories and conversation that have the power to transform all of our futures.

In November 2018, ACT was accepted into theĀ Human Rights Film Network. Membership grants ACT the opportunity to learn from and partner with more than 40 other human rights film festival occurring world wide.

In February 2019, ACT launched new year-round film screenings. ACT Year-Round engages audiences in important human rights and social justice conversation all year. The program also takes place in a variety of locations, helps remove barriers and increase access, and is highly collaborative with community groups and partners.

Each April, the annual ACT Human Rights Film Festival continues the vision put forth by Dr. Diffrient to engage audience members in awakening to the world around them, discovering and makings connections across cultures and beliefs, and transforming our perspectives, our communities, and the world.