Celebrating its 25th year, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival highlights the works of filmmakers in nonfiction cinema. This year, the festival will take place virtually April 7 through tomorrow, April 10.
The associate interim festival director and marketing director Emily Foster sat down with The Chronicle to describe what the festival has in store for audiences around the world. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Each year, applicants turn in their films to the committee. For the 2022 Full Frame Festival, they received 1,000 submissions in fall 2021 and narrowed the films to 37 films: 22 feature-length films and 15 shorts. Six of these films are premieres and eight have ties to North Carolina.
Describing the application process, Foster stated, “[Each film] goes through multiple rounds. We have a screening committee [with] about a dozen people who help screen through those 1,000 films. Then, from that group, it moves to the programming group which is about eight people who really dive into those final selections. They are so thoughtful in how they choose the films, making sure there is a wide variety of films from a wide variety of filmmakers, both new … and established.”
With the program moving online, Foster and her colleagues have been committed to maintaining an engaging event. To do that, the Full Frame Festival team created a virtual forum and an associated, in-depth Q&A.
“It very much looks like a Full Frame version of Netflix when people log on to the virtual platform,” Foster said.
The festival is an important step in the award season for many filmmakers. In fact, last year, “Three Songs of Benazir,” a film that had its world premiere and received its Academy Award qualifying status at Full Frame Festival last year, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2022.
“We were so excited to be a small part in that film’s story,” Foster said. “That’s what makes this festival so exciting. Our audiences really are some of the first to see some of the best new films of the year. That’s part of the draw — for people to take a chance on films that they wouldn’t otherwise see.”
Foster recommended a few of the films to The Chronicle’s audience:
“Stay Prayed Up”: Follows the head of the Branchettes … a gospel group in the Triangle. It was filmed over the course of three years here in Raleigh and Durham as well as a few other locations in North Carolina. “It is definitely a feel-good film,” Foster said.
“Gabor”: Having its North American premiere at the festival this year, Gabor follows an aging but fun and witty photographer, a very famous French Canadian photographer. “[For] anyone who is interested in the arts or really creative character portraits,” Foster said, “‘Gabor’ is a really great one to check out.”
Later this year, communities can look forward to the return to in-person programming.
“As of right now, we have a summer series planned for Mondays in August which will take place in Durham Central Park,” Foster said. “It’s typically the audience favorites from the festival or it will be films that we anticipate will be up for major awards during the next year's awards season.”
Full Frame Film Festival is offering virtual streaming of the films on televisions, computers, or mobile devices. Films are available to watch for 24 hours after clicking “play” or until 11:59 PM ET April 10. Tickets can be bought on the Full Frame Film Festival website. You can learn more information about the festival by checking their FAQ page.
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