The 18th annual Full Frame Documentary Festival is to honor the films of director Marshall Curry and examine the ethics of representation in documentary in its annual Thematic Program, curated by Watermark filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal.
Curry has directed such film as the Oscar-nominated Street Fight and If a Tree Falls: The Story of the Earth Liberation Front, Racing Dreams and most recently Point and Shoot. The director’s films have been broadcast nationally on PBS, and have also aired on the BBC, HBO Latin America, and others.
“Full Frame is where I had the first showing of my first film Street Fight,” said Curry in a statement. “I have a fond memory of pacing around outside the theater, nervously trying to keep from throwing up. For a couple of years before that, I had been going down to the festival from New York just to watch films and try to learn how they were made.
“After screenings I would stumble out into the North Carolina springtime and see my documentary heroes having BBQ in the courtyard,” added the filmmaker. “It’s a magical festival: well-curated, with a warm and generous spirit.”
Sadie Tillery, director of programming at the Durham, North Carolina-set festival, added: “Marshall’s films have been a highlight of this festival over the years, and we’re excited to revisit his work, the people he’s introduced us to, and his profound approach to capturing their stories on screen.”
Elsewhere, the festival’s annual Thematic Program is to focus on the moral questions around documentation, with Jennifer Baichwal – director of such docs as Manufactured Landscapes and Act of God – curating the series.
“The ethics and politics of representation have preoccupied me since I started making films two decades ago,” said Baichwal in a statement.
“It came to a head in 2003 with The True Meaning of Pictures. I realized that by showing the photographs of Shelby Lee Adams in our film, we were subject to exactly the same criticism leveled against him for taking them,” she added. “I knew we had to address this in some way beyond having people argue about whether the representation was ethical or not. I also realized that there is no overall rule for tackling these issues: each context, each situation demands its own complex, delicate, honest, ethical approach.”
Tillery added: “I was drawn to the idea that documentary imagery can be at once intensely beautiful and deeply distressing. Working in a moving, visual medium, the undertaking of representation is even more layered with decisions around what is shown, how it’s framed, and in what way it’s discussed. I admire these intersections in Jennifer’s films and am excited about her program.”
Both Baichwal and Curry will attend the festival, which runs from April 9 to 12. Specific titles for the Thematic Program and Full Frame Tribute are to be announced in March, with the complete schedule of films to be revealed on March 19.