Just mere days before the opening of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina, director of programming Sadie Tillery gives realscreen the lowdown on what attendees can look forward to at the festival.
Full Frame will screen 101 completed films and three works-in-progress this year, 33 of which are world, North American and U.S. premieres. The festival kicks off with the opening night film Kings of Pastry, directed by D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus on April 8, and continues until April 11.
‘I saw the film at IDFA and my colleague and I both loved it,’ says Tillery. ‘Of course, D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus are wonderful friends of the festival, have come to Full Frame numerous times, are dedicated members of our advisory board and continue to show us great support. It felt really special to feature their work on opening night.’ Full Frame also featured their doc, Elaine Stritch at Liberty, as the opening night film in 2004. Pennebaker and Hegedus will be in attendance, along with the subject of the film, Jacquy Pfeiffer, and all will participate in a Q&A after the screening moderated by Julia Moskin, reporter for the Dining section of the New York Times.
‘On the whole it felt like a celebratory, exciting way to open Full Frame,’ adds Tillery. ‘We traditionally have an opening night party, and what could be better [this time] than piles of French pastries?’
The thematic program this year focuses on work and labor, and was curated by Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, directors of The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant. ‘This year, in light of the economic climate and the unemployment rate, we thought that work and labor would be a timely subject to approach,’ says Tillery. In all, the thematic program will screen 18 films. Of note is The Uprising of ’34, about the Southern U.S.’ workers textile strike of 1934. Co-director George Stoney, who is in his 90s, will be in attendance.
Tillery’s expectations for the festival include the hope that Full Frame continues to serve as a community for filmmakers. ‘We often get feedback that Full Frame is one of the first stops after other larger festivals where the push is getting the film to press or to sales agents,’ she says. ‘[Here,] filmmakers can actually take a step back and enjoy each other’s work in a way that’s just not possible at some of the other festivals,’ she says.