As dramatic films get ground down to super heroes and new Star Wars installments, documentary film remains a vital cinema experience. These are films that do more than give you a rollercoaster experience. There’s a human connection on the screen. These are real people and real events. Their struggles matter. But it does become tough to see documentaries in their proper environment. Many people have to wait until they work their way down to a streaming service since their local movie theater just wants to run the Hollywood blockbuster. Where can you go? The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is the perfect place to binge watch with folks who enjoy a real person on the screen and not a character.
The festival takes place in Durham from April 5 – 8. Unlike other festivals, coming to the Durham area isn’t going to cost you a fortune to find a hotel room. You can probably find a cheap ticket to RDU. The screenings are for the most part within the Carolina Theater and Durham Convention Center complex so there’s no logistics nightmares. You can get ticket information at https://www.fullframefest.org/
Once more InsidePulse will be covering the festival with reviews and exclusive interviews with the filmmakers. Here’s the press release from Full Frame with the list of the films that will be playing over the weekend:
Full Frame is proud to announce the lineup for the 21st annual festival, which will take place April 5 – 8, 2018 in Durham, North Carolina.
The 2018 lineup presents a broad range of work from both established filmmakers and new voices, including 32 features and 10 shorts in competition. These films, selected from nearly 1,800 submissions from around the globe, are eligible for a combined value of $40,000 in cash prizes. Additionally, the 2018 Invited Program includes 22 feature films screening out of competition.
Renowned filmmaker Joe Berlinger will curate the eight titles as part of the 2018 Thematic Program, and the festival will honor Jehane Noujaim’s illustrious body of work by screening four of her films for the 2018 Tribute.
Passes and ticket packages are still available,
306 Hollywood (Directors: Elan Bogarin, Jonathan Bogarin)
When their beloved grandmother dies, two siblings embark on an imaginative exploration of her home, sifting through her belongings, and their own cherished memories, to discover her essence.
América (Directors: Erick Stoll, Chase Whiteside)
When their father is unexpectedly arrested, three brothers come together to care for their aging grandmother, América. This sensitive portrait delicately captures the frustrations and connections that evolve as they navigate her physical decline and their expectations of one another.
The Area (Director: David Schalliol)
Charismatic activist Deborah Payne tirelessly battles developers of a new multibillion-dollar freight yard that threatens to destroy Englewood, her neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. World Premiere
The Bastard (Director: Floris-Jan van Luyn)
The Hoeks are united in name but severed by history: Ethiopian-born Daniel and his estranged Dutch father, Joop, each tell their story, but who can be trusted in this tangled tale of regret and misdeed?
Bending Lines: The Sculpture of Robert Wiggs (Directors: Peter DeHart, Allison Bohl DeHart)
Inspired by the geometry of nature—from the cracks in dried mud to the structure of pine cones to the scales on armadillos—Wiggs’s artistic process reveals the intriguing interplay between mathematics and art. World Premiere
The Blessing (Directors: Hunter Robert Baker, Jordan Fein)
In this stunningly and candidly shot film, Lawrence, a Navajo coal miner, wrestles with his relationship to land to which he is spiritually bound but employed to destroy, while his daughter, Caitlin, forms her own identity amid cultural pressures. World Premiere
Cielo (Director: Alison McAlpine)
Enter a wondrous exploration of the meeting of heaven and Earth in this dynamic exchange between humans and the starry skies of Chile’s Atacama Desert.
Crime + Punishment (Director: Stephen Maing)
This powerful film follows twelve brave whistleblowers who speak out against illegal policing quotas in the NYPD and the retaliation they experience after refusing to make arrests targeting minority populations.
David. The Return to Land (David. El regreso a la tierra) (Director: Anaïs Huerta)
Haitian, French, and adopted by Jewish parents, 34-year-old David embarks on a mission to better understand who he is in this beautifully nuanced observation of self-discovery. North American Premiere
The Deminer (Director: Hogir Hirori; Co-director: Shinwar Kamal)
After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Colonel Fakhir of the Iraqi army devotes his life to disarming landmines, with only a pocket knife and wire cutters, in this deeply suspenseful film that makes use of Fakhir’s own extensive video footage. North American Premiere
A Friendship in Tow/Toe (Director: Atsushi Kuwayama)
In the brief ascent up a flight of stairs, a pair of strangers find a rapport across languages and generations.
From Parts Unknown (Director: Michael T. Workman)
The poignant experience of a young man who determines an unlikely outlet for his pain and hardships: In local wrestling, he finds catharsis, community, and a sense of purpose.
The Good Struggle (Director: Celia Peterson)
Although few words are spoken between themselves, monks at a Greek Orthodox monastery in Lebanon provide voiceovers to their daily routines—their devout thoughts echo the beauty of their solitude. World Premiere
Hale County This Morning, This Evening (Director: RaMell Ross)
Observational and impressionistic, this poetic film is a humanist exploration of an Alabama community, where mostly black, working-class families live, work, dream, celebrate, and struggle together.
I Am Bisha (انا بشة ) (Director: Roopa Gogineni)
As an act of pure creative resilience, Ganja and his friends film a humorous and satirical web series, Bisha TV, starring puppets to combat the violent, genocidal regime of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. World Premiere
Inventing Tomorrow (Director: Laura Nix)
Six young scientists from around the globe compete in the largest international high school science fair—with their ingenious solutions to environmental problems, they don’t just aim to bring home the top prize, they hope to change the world.
The Issue of Mr. O’Dell (Director: Rami Katz)
The work of Jack O’Dell, who once worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., is revealed through a conversation with the 94-year-old activist, who delves into his historical involvement in the civil rights struggle as well as the movement’s contemporary incarnation under the stewardship of groups like Black Lives Matter.
Lovers of the Night (Director: Anna Frances Ewert)
Seven elderly monks at a Cistercian abbey in Ireland humorously muse on their spiritual experiences, way of life, and the inevitable end to it all.
Maj Doris (Director: Jon Blåhed)
Ever-able, 74-year-old Maj Doris Rimpi is a renowned Sámi artist who lives alone in Sweden and tends to her home and herd of reindeer, but after another long winter she wonders, is it time to consider a new way of life? North American Premiere
The Mauritania Railway: Backbone of the Sahara (Director: MacGregor)
In this expansive, gorgeously composed short, ride atop the railway car that serves as a 704-kilometer-long lifeline that supplies goods and iron ore to people in different cities in the Sahara Desert. World Premiere
MELTING SOULS (NORILSK, L’étreinte de glace) (Director: François-Xavier Destors)
This exquisitely photographed portrait documents a remote Arctic city centered around a metal refinery, where residents endure extreme, subzero temperatures to survive on the resource that lies beneath the tundra. North American Premiere
Messenger on a White Horse (El mensajero) (Director: Jayson McNamara)
This homage to the fearless investigative reporting of the Buenos Aires Herald during the disappearances and murders of Argentinians between 1976 and 1983, utilizes impeccable archival footage and testimonies from surviving members of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo as well as lead newspaper editor Robert Cox. North American Premiere
Minding the Gap (Director: Bing Liu)
Skateboarding and strained family relationships bond three friends together in this introspective saga about the journey from youth to adulthood.
Las Nubes (Director: Juan Pablo González)
As a father drives through an unidentified countryside, his car becomes a space for reflection as he recounts the impact of cartel violence on his home and family.
Of Fathers and Sons (Director: Talal Derki)
With rare and chilling insights, this film takes us into the lives of a Syrian family, led by an Al-Nusra fighter, where we observe how swiftly the innocence of childhood can fade.
Our New President (Director: Maxim Pozdorovkin)
By turns provocative, disorienting, and astonishing, this feature weaves clips from Russian state-owned news coverage of the 2016 U.S. presidential election to portray the perils of bias, conspiracy theories, and manufactured narratives.
Owned: A Tale of Two Americas (Director: Giorgio Angelini)
This energetic film unpacks the complex history of home ownership in America to reveal the postwar housing economy’s racist underpinnings—the creation of a large middle class simultaneous with the systematic defunding and segregating of communities. World Premiere
PATRIMONIO (Directors: Lisa F. Jackson, Sarah Teale)
When a multinational corporation attempts to covertly develop plans to build a resort on the fishermen’s coast in Todos Santos, Mexico, the locals unite for a momentous and riveting fight for their resources and their heritage—their patrimonio. North American Premiere
Personal Truth (Director: Charlie Lyne)
Spurred from the fake “Pizzagate” scandal, this frenetic and provocative observational film about the power of fake news suggests that conspiracy theories may be more believable than one might like to admit.
The Providers (Directors: Laura Green, Anna Moot-Levin)
The El Centro Family Health system in northern New Mexico covers 22,000 square miles and suffers from a chronic shortage of health care providers. This film follows three dedicated practitioners in their daily work and private lives. World Premiere
The Pushouts (Directors: Katie Galloway, Dawn Valadez)
This inspiring film follows the transformative work of Dr. Victor Rios, a former gang member and high school dropout, as he works to support students, through tools for self-reflection and expression, in an educational system that is failing to reach them. World Premiere
Rebuilding in Miniature (Director: Veena Rao)
In this short, miniaturist Ali Alamedy, an Iraqi refugee, painstakingly creates exquisitely detailed dioramas of places he’s never been in an attempt to heal his disrupted relationship to home.
The Rescue List (Directors: Alyssa Fedele, Zachary Fink)
In a Ghanaian safe house, a team works to rehabilitate two young men who were trafficked into slavery to fisherman on Lake Volta. As it moves from rescue operation to healing process, this riveting film follows the men through their recovery and reveals the extraordinary dedication of their rescuer.
Shirkers (Director: Sandi Tan)
A film lover’s dream quickly turns to nightmare: Sandi Tan recounts making her first film in Singapore in 1992 and how she loses everything when her mentor, Georges Carandos, steals the footage. This unique diary is a bright ode to cinema, and a moving story of friendship, betrayal, and failure.
A Singular Garden (Um Jardim Singular) (Director: Monica Klemz)
This experimental documentary blends old and new images of the garden next to the presidential palace in Rio de Janeiro and incorporates natural sound as a way to connect past and present. World Premiere
Sky and Ground (Directors: Talya Tibbon, Joshua Bennett)
Incorporating a refugee family’s own footage, Sky and Ground follows a Syrian-Kurdish refugee family as they flee from a holding camp at the Greece-Macedonia border and take their chances at reaching asylum by foot on a perilous one-way trip to Berlin.
Tempting Promises (Le allettanti promesse) (Directors: Chiara Campara, Lorenzo Faggi)
A small town tucked quietly away in the Italian Alps is chosen to host the 2016 Wikimania conference—an annual meeting of international Wikipedia contributors—and the townspeople unite to welcome the newcomers and the new technological age. North American Premiere
This Is Home (Director: Alexandra Shiva)
Through brilliant observational filmmaking, This Is Home tells the story of four Syrian families on the path to self-sufficiency, and success, in a resettlement program in Baltimore, Maryland.
Three Identical Strangers (Director: Tim Wardle)
A chance encounter leads three teenagers to discover that they are in fact triplets. Sharing this undeniable bond, they become fast friends and embark upon living their lives together, but the roots of their separation prove to be more sinister than they could have imagined.
Thy Kingdom Come (Director: Eugene Richards)
A priest bears witness to the personal stories of people in a mid-American town: Heartbreak, regret, faith, resignation all resonate profoundly in this succession of exquisitely photographed scenes of intimate communion.
Time Trial (Director: Finlay Pretsell)
Former doper and Tour de France champion David Millar is clean and ready to win the right way. This sensory ride travels alongside him for every breath, turn, and fall, through the thrills and hardships of professional cycling.
The Unafraid (Directors: Anayansi Prado, Heather Courtney)
The gripping and vital stories of three DACA students unfold as they work for immigrant rights, and the future of their families, after being banned from attending Georgia’s top universities or receiving in-state tuition. World Premiere
12th and Clairmount (Director: Brian Kaufman)
Contemporary interviews bring to life scenes from home movies, newsreels, and photographs of one of the most violent civil disturbances in U.S. history, the 1967 Detroit riot, when police brutality against African American citizens ignited a five-day standoff.
Bisbee ’17 (Director: Robert Greene)
In 1917, a strike in an Arizona mining town culminated in the exile of over a thousand immigrant workers. One hundred years later, a large-scale reenactment of the shocking events serves as a catalyst for remembrance and reflection.
Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat (Director: Sara Driver)
This portrait of the pop culture icon revisits the years before he took the art world by storm. Archival footage and intimate stories from a circle of friends, lovers, and neighbors recall both a singular talent and the New York City scene that influenced his career.
Capturing the Flag (Director: Anne de Mare)
During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, three friends travel to North Carolina to do voter protection work at the polls. This on-the-ground look at their efforts to help potential voters navigate the new laws and requirements that may prevent their vote reveals shocking accounts of voter suppression in play. World Premiere
The Cleaners (Directors: Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck)
In the Philippines, a team of “cleaners” specialize in identifying and eliminating obscene content from the internet. Their personal accounts of the pressures and personal judgements inherent in their work give way to a broader examination of the global impact of manipulating content on social media.
Dark Money (Director: Kimberly Reed)
This modern-day political thriller follows investigative reporter John Adams into Montana’s fight against corrupt campaign financing, a struggle that could alter the devastating effects of unlimited anonymous funding on elections nationwide.
Generation Wealth (Director: Lauren Greenfield)
For 25 years, Lauren Greenfield has documented affluence around the world. In this fascinating overview of her immense body of work, the photographer reconnects with subjects of her images to consider their relationships to money, then and now, and her own fascination with the topic.
Hal (Director: Amy Scott)
Hal Ashby’s controversial films about race, sex, politics, and unconventional love made him a Hollywood rarity in the 1970s—a director who made films outside studio control. This loving remembrance by his peers celebrates the iconoclastic filmmaker.
The Jazz Ambassadors (Director: Hugo Berkeley)
During the Cold War, the U.S. government deployed some of its greatest jazz musicians around the world to promote democracy, even as many of them suffered Jim Crow racism in their own country. Rich archival material and powerful interviews delve into the deep conflict at the heart of the story. World Premiere
The Judge (Director: Erika Cohn)
Devoted to the law and unwilling to mince words, Kholoud Al-Faqih, the West Bank’s first female judge, navigates Palestine’s family court system, providing a rare glimpse into Islamic courts and gendered justice.
Larger Than Life: The Kevyn Aucoin Story (Director: Tiffany Bartok)
In the 1980s, Kevyn Aucoin redefined the role of the makeup artist. Home movies and recollections from family, friends, and an impressive roster of famous clients retrace his meteoric rise and his lasting impact.
Love Means Zero (Director: Jason Kohn)
Tennis coach Nick Bollettieri trained some of the sport’s greatest champions, but his volatility and harsh methods came at a price. Conversations between director and subject revisit moments of triumph and anguish, including Bollettieri’s infamous falling out with Andre Agassi.
MAYNARD (Director: Sam Pollard)
Interviews with family, friends, and political luminaries combine with archival footage and photographs in this captivating portrait of Maynard Jackson, Atlanta’s first black mayor, whose extraordinary influence spanned three terms in office.
A Murder in Mansfield (Director: Barbara Kopple)
Twelve-year old Collier Boyle’s testimony put his father in jail for the 1989 murder of his mother. Still imprisoned more than 25 years later, the father maintains his innocence, and Boyle returns to his Ohio hometown, in this sensitive examination of reconciling with the past.
On Her Shoulders (Director: Alexandria Bombach)
When ISIS devastates her Yazidi community, survivor Nadia Murad becomes the prevailing voice for her people. Following Murad as she recounts her harrowing experience time and again, this film intimately details the burden of imploring the world to intervene.
The Price of Everything (Director: Nathaniel Kahn)
Moving between auction houses, collectors, artists, and coveted works, this analysis of the art market questions how we determine value, the impact of purchasing art as a form of financial investment, and the cultural implications when pieces are only available to the highest bidder.
RBG (Directors: Betsy West, Julie Cohen)
This triumphant look at the life and career of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revisits landmark cases and decisions, but also reveals the woman behind the robe and the personal experiences that continue to shape her legacy.
The Rape of Recy Taylor (Director: Nancy Buirski)
In 1944, Recy Taylor, a 24-year-old black woman, was abducted and raped by six white men in Alabama. The film centers on her unprecedented response—a fight for justice, with the aid of Rosa Parks and other black activists—whose profound influence on the civil rights movement still reverberates today.
Rodents of Unusual Size (Directors: Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler, Jeff Springer)
Kill them as invasive pests destroying coastal wetlands or keep them as part of the region’s culture? In this quirky account, citizens are divided on what to do about nutria, the giant 20-pound rodents with protruding orange teeth who have made southern Louisiana their home for decades.
Solitary Land (Tierra Sola) (Director: Tiziana Panizza)
This innovative meditation on Easter Island and its indigenous inhabitants uses historical and present-day footage to illustrate the legacy of colonial exploitation in one of the world’s most remote inhabited locales—a place of beauty, isolation, and tradition. North American Premiere
Studio 54 (Director: Matt Tyrnauer)
Rare footage transports us back in time and behind the velvet rope into the famed Manhattan disco, as a collection of insiders, including one of the co-founders, recall the rise and fall of the pioneering nightclub and iconic cultural landmark.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Director: Morgan Neville)
Fred Rogers revolutionized children’s television. This remarkable portrait of the visionary behind Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood reveals the origins of the groundbreaking show, the ways it connected to current events, and its impact on the lives of children, and adults, across the country.
FULL FRAME TRIBUTE Jehane Noujaim
Control Room (Director: Jehane Noujaim)
It’s 2003, and the United States is on the brink of war with Iraq. Control Room follows journalists of the Al Jazeera satellite channel—broadcasting news to some 40 million Arab viewers—as they try to cut through American rhetoric and awaken the viewers to the realities on the ground.
Rafea: Solar Mama (Director: Jehane Noujaim)
In this resounding global testament to the power and necessity of equal access to education, Rafea attends Barefoot College in India to become a solar engineer, learning with other women from developing areas how to create sustainable futures for their hometowns.
The Square (Director: Jehane Noujaim)
After the 2011 Egyptian revolution in Tahrir Square, citizens realize that former president Mubarak’s corrupt regime is still in power; they return to the streets to bring an end to the government, combatting controlled international media coverage, enduring violence, and navigating fragile relationships.
Startup.com (Directors: Chris Hegedus, Jehane Noujaim)
In the late 1990s, two high school friends attempt to turn the spark of an idea into a multimillion-dollar company. But when passion leads to tension, and the dot-com rush gives way to the dot-com bust, will they be able to deliver on their dream?
THEMATIC PROGRAM Crime and Punishment
Curated by Joe Berlinger
Brother’s Keeper (Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky)
A murder trial ignites the small farming community of Munnsville, New York, when Delbert Ward, an eccentric and uneducated man, confesses to suffocating his brother in the isolated home they shared with two other brothers. Was the killing an act of mercy? Was Delbert’s confession coerced? In Brother’s Keeper, a surprisingly complicated story emerges.
The Farm: Angola, USA (Directors: Liz Garbus, Jonathan Stack)
In The Farm, life at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, the largest maximum-security prison in the United States, is seen through the eyes of both its wardens and its prisoners—many of whom will die there—with disturbing parallels to plantation life.
Gone: The Forgotten Women of Ohio (Director: Joe Berlinger)
After numerous women go missing, leaving their families and local law-enforcement officers with more questions than answers, this stunning series investigates whether or not a serial killer is responsible.
In Cold Blood (Director: Richard Brooks)
Mixing elements of reality and fiction, In Cold Blood delves into the real-life murders of the Clutter family at the hands of Perry Smith and Dick Hickock in this scripted true-crime cinematic narrative based on Truman Capote’s novel.
Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky)
When three young boys are brutally murdered, three teenagers are accused of committing the crime as part of a satanic ritual, and are convicted by their community before they even reach the courtroom. Paradise Lost is the first film of the groundbreaking trilogy that documented the case of the West Memphis Three.
Scenes of a Crime (Directors: Grover Babcock, Blue Hadaegh)
When a four-month-old boy dies, officers are convinced he was killed by his father, who after more than ten hours of questioning, confesses to the crime. Medical experts, police officers, and lawyers offer their opinions on this controversial admission of guilt, but the film’s focal point is the videotaped interrogation itself.
The Thin Blue Line (Director: Errol Morris)
A man is sent to prison for shooting a Dallas police officer. The documentary questions the veracity of the verdict through interviews with detectives, lawyers, and the alleged murderer, who all paint very different accounts of events, which are represented in stunning reenactments.
Titicut Follies (Director: Frederick Wiseman)
An intense, purely observational look at the stark conditions of inmate life in the 1960s at the Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane in Massachusetts.
Tags: Full Frame, Hal Ashby, Mister Rogers