Archive of Documentary Arts (Duke University)

Alternative names
Dates:
Active 1998
Active 2010

History notes:

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is the largest film festival in the United States entirely devoted to documentary film. An international event dedicated to the theatrical exhibition of non-fiction cinema, the Festival is held annually for four days in the spring in downtown Durham, North Carolina. Typically, more than 100 films are screened, along with discussions, panels, and workshops fostering conversation between filmmakers, film professionals and the public.

Full Frame's mission, as stated in 2010, is to support the documentary form and community by showcasing the contemporary work of established and emerging filmmakers and by preserving film heritage through archival efforts and continued exhibition of classic documentaries. The organization is also committed to building wider national and international audiences for documentary film and enhancing public understanding and appreciation of the art form and its significance.

Originally named the DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival, it was launched in 1998 under the leadership of Nancy Buirski, in association with the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University and DoubleTake Magazine, an acclaimed journal published by CDS from 1995-1998. Buirski expressed the Festival's mission that year as "to see documentary films take their rightful place in the pantheon of film festivals and in the hearts of film lovers" (Festival Program 1998). She described its uniqueness as lying "in its focus on film content, its emphasis on issues that matter, and its ability to reach out to the community and act as a bridge to its concerns" ( ibid. )

DoubleTake Magazine ceased to be associated with the festival after 1999, and from 2000 on, the Festival was presented by Documentary Arts, Inc. (a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Nancy Buirski and later renamed Doc Arts, Inc.), in association with the CDS. The festival was renamed "Full Frame Documentary Film Festival" for the 2002 festival. Duke University withdrew as a presenting sponsor from 2003 through 2005. The New York Times joined as a presenting sponsor from 2003 through 2008 festival. From 2006 to 2010, Duke University returned as presenting sponsor. In the fall of 2010, Full Frame became once again a program of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. The festival also receives support from a large number of corporate sponsors, private foundations and individual donors.

Each year, a series or thematic program is foregrounded, curated by established filmmakers. In addition, there has usually been one or two "sidebar" series presented, one of which focuses on the American South. The bulk of the programming, however, has always been devoted to new documentaries in competition; a selection committee consisting of local volunteer professionals chooses a few dozen films for screening, considering original content and technical proficiency primarily, from a pool of 100 to 1000 submissions from filmmakers from around the world. Several awards are then given at the conclusion of the Festival; the Grand Jury and Audience Awards have been awarded every year, and additional awards have been added from year to year. These award-winning films comprise the Full Frame Archive's collection.

In 2007, Duke University Libraries and Full Frame announced the creation of the Full Frame Archive, to be housed in Duke's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, to acquire, archive and preserve copies of all of the Festival's award-winning films, with support from Eastman Kodak and Alpha Cine Labs, Seattle.

  • 1998 April 2 - 5 : The first DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival was held at The Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham, the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Omni Hotel. There were twenty-eight films screened in competition, selected from a pool of 107 submissions; films by Richard Kotuk, Jan Krawitz, Jonathan Stack, and Liz Garbus won the first set of DoubleTake Awards.
  • 1999 April 8 - 11 : Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre and the Civic Center. Twenty-eight films were screened in competition, selected from over 300 submissions; films by Dariusz Jablonski, Frieda Lee Mock, Terry Sanders, and Elisabeth Leuvrey took the top honors.
  • 2000 April 6 - 9 : Festival was held at the Caroline Theatre and the Civic Center. There were 425 films submitted for competition. Jean-Stephane Bron, Edward Rosenstein, Linda Duvoisin, and Eugene Richards earned awards for their films.
  • 2001 May 3 - 6 : Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, the Durham Arts Council and the Marriott Hotel. "A record number of submissions for competition were received, 530, from which 57 were selected for screening; award-winning filmmakers included Marie de Laubier, Jem Cohen, Peter Sillen, Stephen Ives, and Rohan Sen.
  • 2002 April 4 - 7 : The renamed Full Frame Documentary Film Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, the Durham Arts Council and the Marriott Hotel. Sixty-seven films were presented in competition, selected from 600 submissions. Films by Davis Guggenheim, Steven Silver, and Nilesh Patel were among the award winners.
  • 2003 April 10 - 13 : Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, the Durham Arts Council and the Armory. Award-winning filmmakers this year included Nicolas Philibert, Jesse Moss, and Emily James.
  • 2004 April 1 - 4 : Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Arts Council's PSI Theatre, the Armory, with special events held at various offsite venues. Sixty-six films were chosen for competition, from over 700 submissions. Award winners included Jehane Noujaim, Ross Kaufman, Zana Briski, and Melba Williams.
  • 2005 April 7 - 10 : Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, the Armory, the American Tobacco Campus, and Durham Arts Council. From more than 930 submissions, 77 films were selected for competition, and films by Henry Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro, Leonard Retel Helmrich, Alessandro Cassigoli, and Dalia Castel were among a growing roster of award winners.
  • 2006 April 6 - 9 : Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Arts Council, the Civic Center Theatre and American Tobacco Campus. Seventy-two films were selected from 1100 submissions for competition; award winners included James Longley, Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg, and Laura Paglin. Over 20,000 tickets were sold. The Full Frame Institute was created to emphasize year-round curated programs and mentorships.
  • 2007 April 12 - 15 : Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Civic Center, American Tobacco Campus and Durham Arts Council, plus assorted Non-Theatrical Venues sponsored by the City of Durham. In commemoration of the Festival's tenth year, aA special thematic program "The Power of Ten," presented ten films selected by "ten of the artists who make up the Full Frame family" (Buirski, introduction to the thematic program) in commemoration of the tenth year of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. From over 1100 submissions, 82 were selected for competition; films by Pernille Rose Grønkjær, Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine, and Ben Wu were among the award winners. Nancy Buirski resigned/retired as Full Frame CEO and Artistic Director after this festival.
  • 2008 April 3 - 6 : Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Civic Center, Durham School of the Arts, and Durham Arts Council, as well as various non-theatrical venues sponsored by the City of Durham Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Award winners included films by Carl Deal, Tia Lessin, Jams Marsh, and Eva Weber. The Full Frame Archive was announced.
  • 2009 April 2 - 5 : Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Convention Center and Durham Arts Council as well as various non-theatrical venues. Fifty-nine films were screened for competition; winners included films by Anders Østergaard, Aron Gaudet, and Andreas Koefoed.
  • 2010 April 8 - 11 : Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Convention Center, Durham Arts Council, and Durham Central Park (free outdoor screenings were offered for the first time). This was the first festival under the leadership of executive director Dierdre Haj. From 1,200 submissions, 57 new films were selected for competition. Award-winning films included those by Rob Lemkin, Thet Sambath, Lucy Walker and Elham Asadi.
  • 2011 April 14 - 17 : Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Convention Center, Durham Arts Council, and Durham Central Park. From over 1,200 submissions, 66 new films were selected for competition. Award-winning films included those by Cindy Meehl, Grover Babcock, Blue Hadaegh, and Rodrigo Dorfman. This was the first year that Full Frame was once again under the auspices of the Center for Documentary Studies and Duke University.
  • 2012 April 12 - 15 : Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Convention Center, Durham Arts Council, and Durham Central Park. From over 1,200 submissions, 57 new films were selected for competition. Award-winning films included those by Andrew Garrison, Fernand Melgar, and Mira Jargil.

From the guide to the Full Frame Archive Film Collection, 1998-2012, (David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University)

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Subjects:

  • Refugees
  • Religion
  • Life cycle, Human
  • Documentary films--History and criticism
  • Criminal justice, Administration of
  • Public health
  • Documentary films--Production and direction
  • Rehabilitation
  • Economic development
  • Technology--Social aspects
  • Criminology
  • Human rights in motion pictures
  • Gender
  • Documentary films
  • Documentary films--Awards
  • Film festivals
  • Documentary films--Political aspects
  • Film festivals--Awards
  • Peace
  • Motion picture producers and directors
  • War
  • Art and society
  • Families
  • Discrimination
  • Education in motion pictures
  • Documentary films--Social aspects
  • Film festival programs
  • Minorities
  • Peace--Social aspects
  • Democracy
  • Humanitarian assistance

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  • North Carolina (as recorded)
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