It's hard to believe it's been a year already, but the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is back for its 14th year in just a week. From April 14-17th, downtown Durham will be swarming with filmmakers, industry folks, and cinephiles eager to consume another year's worth of great documentaries. This year, for the first time, attendees are able to reserve and purchase their tickets online in advance of the festival, and according to the numbers, many of the films are already looking forward to packed theaters. Sadie Tillery, the Director of Programming over at Full Frame, has offered our readers a sneak peek of some of the festival highlights.
One of my favorite things about Full Frame’s program is the juxtaposition of films that are already enjoying successful runs on the festival circuit alongside more obscure International titles. We have a rich collection of international programs this year, films that audiences may not have a chance to see elsewhere: BATHING MICKY and THE NEW SAINT, STEPS TO ETERNITY and TEST SITE, CARETAKER FOR THE LORD and I WILL MARRY THE WHOLE VILLAGE, and BLUE SKY.DARK BREAD and ANGST. They are all stunning films worth seeing on the big screen.
A number of Full Frame ‘alumni’ are back for 2011. Steve James, of HOOP DREAMS and THE TRIALS OF ALLEN IVERSON, returns this year with THE INTERRUPTERS. Marshall Curry, whose previous films STREET FIGHT and RACING DREAMS screened at Full Frame, will show his new feature IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT. Peter Raymont, director of GENIUS WITHIN and SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL, is premiering his most recent film THE TEAM. Blue Hadaegh and Grover Babcock, A CERTAIN KIND OF DEATH, are back with SCENES OF A CRIME. EL BULLI: COOKING IN PROGRESS is directed by Gereon Wetzel, whose film CASTELLS opened the 2007 festival. PROJECT NIM is director James Marsh’s newest doc since his 2008 hit MAN ON WIRE. Alex Gibney of ENRON and CASINO JACK will also be here to showcase his latest film MAGIC TRIP.
Barbara Kopple’s new film GUN FIGHT will screen Friday evening on the eve of the Anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre. The film focuses on gun control legislation and prominently features Virginia Tech survivor Colin Goddard. Goddard will be in attendance for a conversation following the screening, along with the filmmaking team and former NRA advocate Richard Feldman, who is also represented in the film.
And we’re honoring Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, who have shown much work at Full Frame over the years, with our 2011 Career Award. They are premiering their most recent film BURMA SOLDIER on Saturday evening. The film presents the unbelievable story of Myo Myint, a former Burmese soldier turned pro-democracy activist. We’re very excited that Myint will be in Durham to join Stern and Sundberg for a conversation following the US Premiere.
Durham filmmakers Josh Gibson, Rodrigo Dorfman and Nancy Buirski and Elisabeth Haviland James have new works premiering at the festival. Full Frame is proud to feature the World Premiere of all three of their latest films: KUDZU VINE, ONE NIGHT IN KERNERSVILLE and THE LOVING STORY, respectively.
There are also two strong films that follow North Carolina based individuals. RAISING RENEE features acclaimed artist Beverly McIver, who now lives in Durham and teaches at NCCU. The Sundance Grand Jury Award Winner, HELL AND BACK AGAIN, traces the experiences of North Carolina native Sergeant Nathan Harris during his tour in Afghanistan and his return home.
Some of the edgiest films are screening post primetime. It’s worth a 10pm espresso to catch these shows. SQUARE GROUPER, WHO TOOK THE BOMP? LE TIGRE ON TOUR, IRMA and DRAGONSLAYER, and CURE FOR PAIN: THE MARK SANDMAN STORY.
This year's festival is also showcasing a few films that foodies will love. Showings of A MATTER OF TASTE: SERVING UP PAUL LIEBRANDT and EL BULLI: COOKING IN PROGRESS will be complimented by a food truck round up on Saturday at 6:30 at the farmer's market pavilion. Local favorites such as Farmhand Foods Sausage Wagon, Daisy Cakes, Joey D’ NY Dogs, Only Burger, Parlez-Vous Crepes, Klausie’s Pizza, Slippin’ Sliders, and The Grilled Cheese Bus will all be on hand to serve up their goods. The round up will precede one of two outdoor screenings (this one of the aforementioned Le Tigre documentary). MY PLAYGROUND will also screen outdoors at 8:30pm Friday night. The outdoor screenings are free and open to the public.
Some other titles we at New Raleigh are interested in include Errol Morris' TABLOID; RESURRECT DEAD, by first time filmmaker Jon Foy; HOT COFFEE, a film on the famed McDonald's suit; HOW TO DIE IN OREGON, the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner; and the Opening Night Film, GUILTY PLEASURES, a foray into the world of paperback romance novels.