Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is not for another 70 or so days—and yes, we’re counting. Fortunately, we do not have to wait until April for documentary, as Full Frame’s annual Winter Series begins Thursday.
The series, which began in 2010 with showings at the American Tobacco Campus, will include screenings of three documentaries from the 2013 festival. It kicks off tonight, Jan. 23, in Fletcher Hall at the Carolina Theatre with a showing of "Cutie and the Boxer," which is an Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature.
The series will continue Jan. 30 with a screening of "The Crash Reel" and will conclude Feb. 6 with "Which Way Is The Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington."
"Cutie and the Boxer," directed by Zachary Heinzerling, tells the story of the 40-year marriage between boxing painter Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko.
"The Crash Reel," directed by Lucy Walker, tracks snowboarder Kevin Pearce through his athletic rivalry with Shaun White and through a career-ending crash that caused a traumatic brain injury.
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"Which Way Is The Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington," directed by Sebastian Junger, is a portrait of Hetherington, a photojournalist and filmmaker who was killed by shrapnel in Libya in 2011. Hetherington and Junger co-directed the 2010 documentary "Restrepo," which was nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for best documentary feature.
Although the three films all focus on individuals, the series was not planned with a unifying theme.
“There’s not a theme in terms of subject matter or style of film, but it’s important to me that the films are strong, and often the films are ones that have a lot of industry buzz but not as much exposure,” said Sadie Tillery, Full Frame’s director of programming.
Industry buzz is certainly not lacking among the three films in the Winter Series. The directors of "Cutie and the Boxer" and "The Crash Reel," Zachary Heinzerling and Lucy Walker respectively, were both nominated for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentaries by the Directors Guild of America. Heinzerling also won the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Best Director Award for "Cutie and the Boxer," as well as the Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award during the 2013 Full Frame festival.
Additionally, the three films were all screened at the festival in 2013 and all three came from the Oscar shortlist. The series was not crafted to spark a particular dialogue but instead aims to serve as a showcase of well-done documentary.
The winter series is only one feature of Full Frame’s year-round programming. Tillery emphasized the importance of Full Frame events held beyond the actual festival.
“Year-round programming is a great way to give films more exposure and invites a broader audience,” Tillery said.
In order to make the documentaries as accessible as possible to audiences, all three Winter Series films will be screened free of charge. This helps Full Frame reach out to new audiences, Tillery said, adding that they hope people will consider attending the festival as a result.
Even though the three films are available to view at home, Tillery said she thinks there is something special about the experience of going to a theater.
“Seeing a film on a big screen is a bit different than watching it on Netflix,” Tillery said.
Cutie and the Boxer will be screened at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 23 in Fletcher Hall at the Carolina Theatre. Doors open at 7:00 p.m., and the screening is free.