The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival‘s annual series of wintertime screenings showcases three films that were shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature for the 2013 Academy Awards (Searching for Sugar Man and How to Survive a Plague were nominated on January 10). The Full Frame Winter Series screenings are free and open to the public; all begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Carolina Theatre, 309 W. Morgan St., Durham, North Carolina. Directions
Thursday, January 10
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry / Alison Klayman / 91 min.
With intimate access to the artist, Alison Klayman presents a portrait of Chinese photographer, sculptor, architect, and activist Ai Weiwei that is as much about the current state of China as it is Ai Weiwei’s art and character. Despite great acclaim, his work remains controversial in China, and the threat of censorship is imminent. Still, Ai Weiwei continues to push artistic, cultural, and political boundaries, including the use of a Twitter feed and blog to propel the message of his art. His work, and this film, is a powerful testament to the potential impact of art, and the change one vision can inspire.
Thursday, January 17
Searching for Sugar Man / Malik Bendjelloul / 85 min.
Searching for Sugarman tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez, the greatest ’70s rock icon who never was. Two celebrated producers discovered Rodriguez in a Detroit bar in the late ’60s and went on to record an album that they believed would secure the musician’s reputation as the greatest recording artist of his generation. In fact, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide. The film follows the story of two South African fans who set out to find out what really happened to their hero, an investigation that led them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths.
Thursday, January 24
How to Survive a Plague / David France / 109 min.
In the early 1980s when the number of AIDS cases in America began to soar, many organizations with the resources to help turned a blind eye to the epidemic. Enter ACT UP, a group of activists who felt they’d been backed into a corner by society’s complacent attitudes. Many of ACT UP’s members were HIV-positive and saw this unifying political action as their only hope of survival. This film recounts their epic journey almost entirely through the use of archival footage; the result is a beautiful testament to those who never gave up the fight for change.
The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies.