April 19, 2014

Tag Archives: Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

Sundance audience winner “Buck” takes same prize at Full Frame

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Buck Brannaman, better known in equestrian circles as the horse whisperer, continued to work his magic over crowds.
“Buck,” Cindy Meehl’s documentary on Brannaman’s unique career, took home the Audience Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, months after it claimed the same prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
It’s hard to resist Brannaman’s charms. His gift isn’t with horses – though he knows how to soothe those sometimes-savage beasts. Instead, Buck clicks with owners, explaining how a horse acts as a mirror into its rider’s soul (and some cowboys sure don’t like what they see). “Buck” certainly is a crowd-pleaser, and I can see why audiences at Full Frame were wooed.
But “Buck” wasn’t the only winner of the weekend. We’ve got the complete list of winners, announced Sunday in Durham, N.C., below:
• The Anne Dellinger Grand Jury Award was presented to Scenes of a Crime, directed by Grover Babcock and Blue Hadaegh. The film captures the mystery of a controversial videotaped confession of a New York man who still claims he is innocent of killing his child. This award is sponsored by Physcient, Inc. and Alpha Cine Labs, Seattle.
• The Full Frame Jury Award for Best Short was given to One Night in Kernersville, directed by Rodrigo Dorfman. In this well-paced recording session documentary, the film captures Jazz bassist John Brown and his band. The Full Frame Jury Award for Best Short is provided by Drs. Andrew and Barbra Rothschild.
• Buck, directed by Cindy Meehl, received the Full Frame Audience Award. The film profiles famed horse whisperer Buck Brannaman who “helps horses with people problems” by invoking the healing magic of the human-animal bond. Sponsored by Merge Records, the Audience Award is determined by counting audience ballots filled out during the festival.
• The Center For Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award was given to How to Die in Oregon, directed by Peter D. Richardson. The profound and strangely reassuring film profiles people in Oregon who choose to end their own lives under the state’s Death with Dignity Act. Provided by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, this award honors a documentary artist whose work is a potential catalyst for education and change.
• The Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award Jury also presented a Special Jury Award to The Interrupters, directed by Steve James. The film profiles three brave [...]

“Being Elmo,” “Page One” the top targets at Full Frame Doc Fest

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Los Angeles has Hollywood. Durham, N.C. has Realitywood.
Every spring, Durham plays host to the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, a four-day binge of the industries top documentary filmmakers who bring anticipated titles to a reality-craving audience.
This year’s lineup boasts the world premieres of Nancy Buirski’s “The Loving Story” and “A Good Man,” by Bob Hercules and Gordon Quinn. Full Frame also will host the U.S. premiere of “Guilty Pleasures,” the festival’s opening night film about romance novels and the folks who’ve grown obsessed by their flowery prose.
I, myself, am more excited about a few festival favorites that played Sundance or SXSW that I’ve yet to catch up with, from “Page One: Inside the New York Times” to “Buck” and “Being Elmo.” In addition, award-winning documentary filmmakers Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern are receiving this year’s Career Award, so Full Frame is programming a few of their best films, from “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” to “The Devil Came On Horseback.”
All will be in Durham for what’s sure to be a fantastic fest.
The 2011 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival kicks off tonight and runs through Sunday. For details, visit www.fullframefest.org. And I’ll be sure to bring you some coverage of the major events, so stay tuned.

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Exclusive: Sting, Zooey Deschanel rock new Kinks doc “Do It Again”

BY SEAN O’CONNELL
The Kinks, to me, were a second-tier rock outfit. That’s not a slight against the band. Several of their hits, from “Lola,” “All Day and All of the Night” and “Tired of Waiting for You” to “You Really Got Me,” became part of pop culture’s conscience. They just never attained the same level of popularity and mainstream success as legendary first-tier rockers The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones or The Who.
Geoff Edgers would disagree. The Boston Globe reporter views The Kinks as one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. And with his 40th birthday fast approaching — the milestone of the mid-life crisis — Edgers sets a personal and professional goal. He’s going to reunite the four original members of the band, including feuding brothers Ray and Dave Davies, who haven’t spoken in years.
Robert Patton-Spruill’s documentary “Do It Again,” which trails Edgers on his impossible quest, screened to a raucous crowd last night at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C. And while official awards won’t be handed out until Sunday, the lively and personable “Do It Again” earns a special achievement award as the best film I’ve seen so far at the fest.
“Again” dives into the volatile history of the British rock outfit, who admit to sabotaging their career every time fame came knocking. Most of the battles are attributed to lead singer and chief songwriter Ray Davies’ pride and ego, which struck sour notes with brother Dave.
But the film, as all good docs do, draws us into Edgers’ personal mission, and we suffer as this journalist deals with salary cuts at his unstable job and wince as Ray (and his publicity associates) plays hard-to-get with Edgers’ dream.
Others play along, however. Edgers’ status as a journalist buys him face time with rockers who happen to be big fans of The Kinks and want to see the brothers reunited. Sting, R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, actress/musician Zooey Deschanel, Robyn Hitchcock, Paul Weller, and, eventually, Dave Davies, open up for Patton-Spruill’s cameras, recollecting their favorite Kinks songs and contemplating on the emotional forces that eventually drive bands apart. In an entertaining Q-and-A following the screening, Edgers revealed that $15,000 of his film’s $125,000 went to film an interview with former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, a member of rock royalty, who eventually blocked his involvement in the project.
“Do It Again” doesn’t [...]

FULL FRAME ’10: D.A. Pennebaker on “Pastry” opening the fest – Hollywood In Ten

BY SEAN O’CONNELL
HollywoodNews.com’s interview feature, “Hollywood In Ten,” showcases the creative individuals responsible for the movies we love, and corners them for 10 quality minutes.
The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C., gets underway Thursday with a handful of screenings throughout the morning and afternoon. Music lovers might want to check out “Thunder Soul,” a SXSW hit about the renowned Kashmere Stage Band, arguably the nation’s best high-school jazz and funk band. “Diary of a Times Square Thief,” by Klaas Bense, sounds intriguing as it recreates life in Manhattan’s famed intersection during the pre-clean-up days of debauchery.
But the fest truly launches Thursday evening when patrons file into the spacious Fletcher Hall for D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’ “Kings of Pastry,” selected to be this year’s Opening Night film. “Kings” follows three chefs who have put their lives on hold to compete in the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France, or MOF, competition. During the three-day event, the world’s top pastry chefs must craft more than 40 handmade concoctions, baking everything from delicate chocolates adorned with gold foil to towering sculptures of blown sugar encircled with colorful candied ribbon. Only a select few will emerge from the contest as MOFs, earning them the right to wear The Collar, a mark of culinary excellence in the baking community.
As they prepared to open the fest, Pennebaker and Hegedus sat down with us to discuss the importance of Full Frame and the terrors they experienced working on “Kings of Pastry.”
Click below to listen to our Hollywood In Ten interview with D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, co-directors of the tremendous documentary “Kings of Pastry.”

FULL FRAME ‘10: Exclusive interview with Sadie Tillery, Director of Programming

BY SEAN O’CONNELL
Writing about the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, A.O. Scott of the New York Times said, “A festival like this offers a sustained, concentrated exposure to the sheer emotional power of documentary filmmaking, its ability to communicate the drama embedded in human experience. In Durham … you (can) walk into the stately dark of the Carolina Theatre and lose yourself in real life.”
That’s exactly what thousands of audience members hope to do this weekend once Full Frame gets underway. The four-day festival promises to bring more than 100 films – as well as discussions, panels, and good old-fashioned southern hospitality – to a six venues in a four-block neighborhood in downtown Durham.
This year’s program includes new films by innovative director Michel Gondry (“The Thorn in the Heart,” pictured above), Academy Award winners Steven Soderbergh (“And Everything Is Going Fine”) and Alex Gibney (“Casino Jack and the United States of Money”), and Oscar nominee D.A. Pennebaker (“Kings of Pastry”).
Full Frame also will screen a handful of festival favorites, including “Waking Sleeping Beauty,” about the revitalization of Disney’s animation department; “How to Fold a Flag,” about American soldiers trying to assimilate back into society after fighting overseas; and “Do It Again,” the story of one journalist’s quest to reunite the members of The Kinks.
Are you intrigued by Full Frame’s programming? You can thank Sadie Tillery, who serves as Director of Programming for the 2010 event. As the fest approaches, Tillery sat down with HollywoodNews.com to explain the film selection process, and the impact Full Frame has had on the documentary film industry.
Hollywood News: How many documentaries do you screen before selecting the roughly 100 films that screen during the fest?

Sadie Tillery: Well, we have several different sections of films at the festival. The biggest component is the New Docs section, and those are all films that are completed in the last two years. We have an open call for entries for that section. This year, there are 57 titles screening in New Docs – 42 features and 15 shorts. And those were selected from over 1,200 entries. We have a 20-person selection committee that helps us sift through the work. Each and every film is reviewed, and then we meet periodically throughout the season.
Hollywood News: So it’s a year-round process?
Tillery: It is. Our call for entries opens in August, and then final decisions are made in [...]

Full Frame ‘10: Annual film fest a welcome dose of reality

BY SEAN O’CONNELL
Durham, N.C., is enjoying an unusually busy week. On Monday night, Duke University’s men’s basketball team, the Blue Devils, will compete for an NCAA National Championship against the Butler Bulldogs. Should Duke win, the Southern city likely will celebrate right up until Thursday, when the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival picks up the torch and carries a wave of enthusiasm through the weekend.
Full Frame has become an essential springtime stop for documentary film lovers and celebrants of all things cinema. The four-day gathering has become a springboard for recent Oscar winners such as James Marsh’s “Man On Wire” (2008) or Alex Gibney’s “Taxi to the Dark Side” (2007). It’s also earning a reputation for luring documentary heavyweights to the intimate Southern setting, meaning you have a very good chance of bumping into Gibney, Morgan Spurlock, Charles Ferguson, Godfrey Cheshire, D.A. Pennebaker, Mira Nair, Steve James, Michael Moore or Martin Scorsese — all of whom have attended the film festival in the past — as you stroll from one intimate screening to the next.
This year’s fest runs Thursday to Sunday, April 8-11, and will showcase the last films by a number of the aforementioned talents (as well as some unexpected geniuses like Steven Soderbergh and Michel Gondry). And the schedule, as expected, overflows with highlights.
Pennebaker will open the festival Thursday night with “Kings of Pastry,” about the chefs who compete in the Meilleur Ouvrier de France for the chance to be recognized as the world’s top French pastry chef. Immediately after, Full Frame screens Gondry’s acclaimed “The Thorn in the Heart,” a personal reflection on family that has played a few festivals earlier this year.
On Friday, Gibney, who took the Enron crooks to task in “The Smartest Guys in the Room,” returns to Full Frame with his new film “Casino Jack and the United States of Money,” a searing portrayal of corrupt Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The rest of the day fills out with potential gems like “No Crossover,” a look at Allen Iverson’s impact on his hometown doen by “Hoop Dreams” director Steve James; “The Oath,” which chronicles the bond between brothers-in-law who served as Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguard and personal driver; and the titillating “Live Nude Girl UNITE,” about strip club workers forming a union. Later that evening, Robert Patton-Spruill’s Do It Again” documents journalist Geoff Edgers’ attempt to reunite the British rock band The Kinks. [...]

Steven Soderbergh’s latest comedy a gift for Cate Blanchett?

The term “prolific” isn’t busy or broad enough to describe director Steven Soderbergh, who apparently never stops working. As the director’s latest documentary, “And Everything Is Going Fine,” prepares to screen at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C. this coming weekend, news breaks that Soderbergh has wrapped another small project, this one about a couple who runs a Sydney theater troupe (which may or may not have been inspired by Cate Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton).
The AFP reports that Soderbergh started the film last year while directing a play at the Sydney Theatre Company, where Blanchett and Upton serve as artistic directors.
With so much talent at his fingertips, Soderbergh recruited the cast of his STC play, “Tot Mom,” to star in the improvised comedic film, “The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg.” The story follows members of a company as they mount a production of Chekov’s “Three Sisters.”
It seems the “Tot Mom” cast got a double dose of Soderbergh’s boundless work ethic while playing along with his comedy. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Soderbergh’s side project would fill many of the gaps in “Tot Mom” rehearsals. They even shot a few scenes during the “Tot Mom” opening night, as well as at the after-party and at Sydney Airport as the Oscar-winning director prepared to leave the country.
“How great that the actors got a taste of working on a film with one of the true masters,” Blanchett told the Australian newspaper. “You can tell everyone had a good time with it, and it was the perfect way to balance the intensity of working on the play.”
Whether or not “Michael Gregg” receives actual distribution remains to be seen. More than likely, it was, as an STC spokeman said, “just a bit of fun between the cast and Steven.”
But the SMH goes on to say that as word of the film’s existence spreads, public interest could lead to the film being entered into film festivals, like the one in Sydney.
To read more on Soderbergh’s latest lark, check out the article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Soderbergh, Gondry bringing new films to Full Frame

BY SEAN O’CONNELL
For documentary lovers, it’s paradise. The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival turns Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina into “Realitywood” each Spring, spotlighting the best up-and-coming works from new and veteran filmmakers. This year’s fest will be held April 8-11 in downtown Durham, and HollywoodNews.com will be on the scene covering the best and brightest docs to be screened.
This year, some high-profile directors will be bringing new films to Full Frame, a festival that takes pride in launching such eventual Oscar winners as James Marsh’s brilliant “Man On Wire” and Alex Gibney’s harrowing “Taxi to the Dark Side.”
Gibney returns to Full Frame next month with “Casino Jack and the United States of Money,” a probing investigation of Washington, D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his cronies.
“Casino Jack” will screen alongside new films by Steven Soderbergh and Michel Gondry, who will bring “And Everything Is Going Fine” and “The Thorn in the Heart, respectively. The former paints a portrait of monologist Spalding Gray, while the latter spotlights Gondry’s aunt Suzette as he analyzes his quirky family members. Both have played at film festivals earlier this year.
Also screening as part of the festival’s “Center Frame” program is “Do It Again,” Robert Patton-Spruill’s video diary of his attempt to reunite the members of the Kinks, collecting spontaneous performances of British Invasion classics by some of rock’s royalty along the way.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. For a full schedule, ticket information and hotel details, visit www.fullframefest.org. And once the festival gets underway, keep checking HollywoodNews.com for updates from the ground.