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Full Frame comes to Durham for its 19th year

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will take place this weekend, from April 7 to 10. In its nineteenth year of bringing Durham nonfiction cinema, this year’s festival will include over 100 films from around the world.

“We want to show a broad weight of work, but always new work and work that is relevant,” said Full Frame director Deirdre Haj.

With four categories of films—New Docs, Invited Program, Thematic Program and Full Frame Tribute—Full Frame presents both shorts and features. The Thematic Program this year will focus on “Perfect and Otherwise: Documenting American Politics,” and the Full Frame Tribute will center on filmmaker Kirsten Johnson. Many films at Full Frame will be making their world or North American premieres.

“We’re well-known internationally, so Full Frame is where a lot of filmmakers choose to premiere in the U.S.,” Haj said.

Telling stories from inside the U.S. and from abroad, documentary filmmakers have adapted over time to use more tools made available by increasing technology. For example, four of this year's films use animation.

“The field is getting wider—people are playing with all these different tools to tell their story,” Haj said.

Full Frame will be held at multiple locations in downtown Durham, including the Carolina Theatre, the Durham Convention Center and the Full Frame Theater. Although passes to Full Frame have already sold out, individual tickets are on sale online and in the last minute line.

Here are a few of the films making their world premiere at the Full Frame:

"Raising Bertie"

Directed and produced by Margaret Byrne, "Raising Bertie" centers on the coming-of-age stories of three African American boys in Bertie County, North Carolina. Following their lives over six years, the film hopes to educate viewers about rural child poverty.

"The Ballad of Fred Hersch"

This film portrays an influential, contemporary jazz pianist Fred Hersch and how his story influences his work. Despite tribulations he has faced as an AIDS survivor, Fred Hersch continues to be a world renowned jazz pianist due to his improvisation.

"I, Destini"

Created by Duke MFA graduate Nick Pilarski, "I, Destini" is an animated documentary short focusing on a youth in Durham. Addressing issues such as race relations, the short tells the story of Destini Ridley and her experience with having an incarcerated loved one.

"Forever, Chinatown"

"Forever, Chinatown," a film by James Q. Chan, describes the life of artist Frank Wong and his experiences living in San Francisco’s Chinatown, starting in the 1940s. In order to document his experiences growing up and living in Chinatown, Wong created seven miniature dioramas—mostly the size of shoeboxes—between 1945 and 1993.

"Off the Rails"

This film documents the life of Darius McCollum, a man jailed 32 times for impersonating New York transit workers, due to his love of transportation and his Asperger’s syndrome. "Off the Rails" tells the story of a unique individual and also comments on issues within the justice system.


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