Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger has been chosen to curate the Thematic Program for the 2018 edition of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.
This year’s Thematic Program will focus on the true crime genre, featuring films that follow individual cases that consider the ways in which the documentary field represents “the complexities, and limitations, of the American judicial system.”
Berlinger (pictured) will draw from his past projects – including Brother’s Keeper, Paradise Lost and Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders – as well as the works of other filmmakers in the genre to explore the themes of crime and punishment.
“Joe Berlinger brings unparalleled vision to the subject of true crime,” said Full Frame artistic director Sadie Tillery in a statement. “Examining complicated accusations of wrongdoing and the legal proceedings that follow, his films make palpable the intricacies and tensions involved in these cases, in both the courtroom and the surrounding communities. They’ve not only impacted the lives of the people involved and even the outcomes of cases, they’ve also shaped the documentary form itself. We are honored to have Berlinger curate this year’s Thematic Program and to see this subject matter through his lens.”
“It’s also very timely to put a spotlight on true crime,” added Berlinger. “While much has (deservedly) been made about the explosion of interest in this genre in recent years due to such breakouts as Serial, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst and Making a Murderer, crime and punishment has been a staple of documentary storytelling from the earliest days of nonfiction filmmaking. There’s no better time than now to examine the evolution of the genre by presenting some its milestone films.”
Elsewhere, the American festival will honor Emmy-winning director Jehane Noujaim with the Full Frame Tribute award.
As part of the honor, Full Frame will screen a retrospective of Noujaim’s work during the festival, celebrating her 22-year filmmaking career.
Film titles in the Egyptian-American documentary director’s catalog include the Oscar-nominated The Square (2013), which charts the Egyptian Crisis that began with the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 at Tahrir Square; Control Room (2004), about Al Jazeera and its coverage of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq; and Startup.com (2001), documenting the dot-com start-up govWorks.com, which raised US$60 million in funding and subsequently failed.
Other credits include Rafea: Solar Mama (2012), Storm from the South (2006) and the 2018 Academy Award-nominated animated feature The Breadwinner, which she executive produced in collaboration with Angelina Jolie.
“With intimacy and urgency, Noujaim’s films allow us to see global issues unfold through personal accounts,” said Tillery. “They introduce us to unforgettable people and bring new perspective to international events.”
Specific titles for the Thematic and Tribute programs, as well as the festival’s full lineup, will be announced in early March.
The 21st annual documentary festival runs April 5-8 in Durham, North Carolina.