Hector Acebes was born in New York City in 1921. He was raised in Madrid, Spain, and attended the Colegio del Pilar. His family moved to Bogotá, Colombia, where he attended the Gimnasio Moderno. Acebes returned to the United States for high school at the New York Military Academy. He gained much of his technical photographic skill by participating in the school’s camera club and through study and practice on his own.
After graduating from the Chauncey Hall School in Boston, he entered Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study engineering. While in college, he maintained his own photo studio. During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Germany. On his return, he completed his degree at MIT and then moved with his wife to Bogotá. He has a son and two daughters.
Throughout the late 1940s and the 1950s, Acebes took expeditions through Africa and South America and started his work as a professional filmmaker and lecturer. By the late 1950s, Acebes Productions had established a reputation for creating excellent documentary and industrial films. Acebes wrote, filmed, directed, and edited each of the forty-three films Acebes Productions released.