The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival has announced its annual Thematic Program, which will look at campaigns, candidates, and the electoral process in a series titled “Perfect and Otherwise: Documenting American Politics” curated by filmmaker R.J. Cutler., and the Full Frame Tribute Award, which will honor director and documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson, presenting a retrospective of her work. Both Cutler and Johnson will attend the nineteenth annual festival, held this year April 7-10.
R.J. Cutler is an American filmmaker and television producer. Most recently Cutler produced the Showtime documentary feature Listen to Me Marlon (directed by Stevan Riley) and directed the narrative feature If I Stay (starring Chloe Grace Moretz). “From The War Room to A Perfect Candidate to The World According to Dick Cheney, R.J. Cutler’s films have illuminated significant moments and personalities within American politics, preserving pivotal events through unforgettable images. We’re thrilled to have R.J. join us as guest curator this year,” said Full Frame Director of Programming Sadie Tillery. “As we approach the 2016 election, it’s a particularly apt time to examine the ways documentaries have captured American campaigns and voting processes.”
Kirsten Johnson has worked as an independent documentary cinematographer and director since 1989. She is the principal cinematographer on over 40 feature-length documentaries and has been credited on countless others as ‘Additional Camera.’ “I am enormously proud to celebrate Kirsten Johnson this year. Her undeniable talent is evident in so many exceptional films of the past few decades, and this Tribute allows us to highlight her incredible body of work,” said Tillery, “Recognizing Kirsten’s impact as a cinematographer also allows us to acknowledge and discuss documentary as a collaborative art form and celebrate the essential role of the artist behind the lens.”
Specific titles for the Thematic Program and Full Frame Tribute, along with additional attending guests, will be announced in March.
The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies.
In the first semester of the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program at Duke, the Documentary Fieldwork seminar is taught as an opportunity for students to create a new body of documentary work, in a sense to define what they mean by documentary work through their own artistic practice. This new work—presented at the end of the semester—shows where students are going.
But students are asked to look back as well, to show us where they have come from. Once a semester each member of the seminar presents his or her influences: the films, photographs, artists, books, music, and experiences that have most influenced their own work. This blog, Influences, is a record of those presentations by students in the Class of 2017. This is the fifth year we have posted these blogs, an online space that is becoming a cumulative and interactive syllabus for anyone interested in what has inspired this new generation of documentary artists. Click here to view the current Influences blog; click here to view the Influences archive.
—Alex Harris, Center for Documentary Studies cofounder, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy and Documentary Studies at Duke University
Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, andProgram in Arts of the Moving Image are the three founding units of the MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program.
The quarterly publication Document features some of the best documentary work supported and produced by the Center for Documentary Studies. The current issue is now available online; scroll down to view. Highlights in the Winter 2016 issue include an interview with Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman, award-winning and Oscar-nominated creators of the animated short documentary Last Day of Freedom, an excerpt from 2015 CDS Documentary Essay Prize recipient Abbie Gascho Landis’ prizewinning entry, a look at the 2015 Lange-Taylor Prizewinning project Post Mégantic by Michel Huneault, and more.
To browse past issues, click here.
To receive print issues of Document, join Friends of CDS.
Congratulations to CDS undergraduate instructors Elena Rue and Tim Tyson, who were recently recognized for their teaching excellence at Duke University. During the 2015 fall semester, both instructor’s course evaluations were among the top 5 percent of all undergraduate instructors at Duke. Rue was recognized for her course Multimedia Documentary, while Tyson received the distinction for his course Documenting Black Experience; see course descriptions below.
Taught by Elena Rue, Fall 2015
Edit and shape fieldwork material into a Web-based multimedia presentation, with a focus on video. Learn current technologies and techniques for multimedia publications. Examine unique storytelling strategies for on-line presentations and compare this medium to traditional venues for documentary work such as exhibitions, books, and broadcast.
Documenting Black Experience
Taught By Tim Tyson, Fall 2015
Interpretations of the black diaspora in documentary film from slavery to the present. Interdisciplinary study of black religions, cultures, histories, aesthetics, politics, and their representations, both globally and in the U.S. Students will view and study a variety of films and approaches to film and study film’s evolution through numerous lenses from early ethnographic film to recent works by indigenous filmmakers, and understand the politics of representation, from D.W. Griffith to Spike Lee; read relevant works in the genres represented; and hear from guest critics, scholars of African and African American history and culture, and filmmakers.
On February 16, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival‘s annual Winter Series of free screenings at the historic Carolina Theatre concludes with Cartel Land (click link to view trailer), a feature doc by Matthew Heineman. The film moves between two modern-day vigilante movements on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border. They share a common threat—murderous Mexican drug cartels—from whom their governments have failed to keep them safe.
Tuesday, February 16, doors at 6:30 p.m., screening at 7 p.m.
Fletcher Hall, Carolina Theatre
309 W. Morgan St., Durham, North Carolina
Before the screening of Cartel Land, all are invited to West End Billiards in downtown Durham for The Mix, a networking event for Full Frame fans, marketing and communication professionals, social media lovers, and members of the Triangle arts community. The Mix is from 5:30pm-6:30pm and is free and open to the public. Go to Full Frame’s year-round events page for more information on The Mix and upcoming screenings.
The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies. The Full Frame Winter Series is part of the Full Frame Road Show presented by PNC.
CDS recommends a Women’s History Lecture featuring Michelle Lanier, CDS instructor and director of the NC African American Heritage Commission and the Traditions and Heritage Program of the NC Arts Council, held at Historic Stagville on March 19. The program entitled, “Her Eyes Have Seen the Glory: African-American Women and the Dreams for Freedom,” focuses on African American women from North Carolina with a particular emphasis on freedom seeking and freedom dreaming. This event is free and open to the public. Due to the content, the recommended audience is high school aged students and adults.
“Her Eyes Have Seen the Glory: African-American Women and the Dreams for Freedom”
Women’s History Lecture with Michelle Lanier
March 19, 11 a.m.–12 p.m.
Historic Stagville (Directions)
5828 Old Oxford Road, Durham, NC
Michelle Lanier uses her background as an oral historian and folklorist to connect communities around the state’s rich cultural resources. She also brings the ethical issues of public history and documentary work into the classroom, as an instructor since 2000 with Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies. Michelle’s work with Gullah communities, which she began at Spelman College and completed through UNC-Chapel Hill’s Curriculum in Folklore, paved the way for her to become one of North Carolina’s liaisons to the federal, Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Michelle is currently involved in the powerful work of engaging communities towards envisioning and growing the future of African American heritage in the state of North Carolina.
The Center for Documentary Studies and the Southern Documentary Fund are pleased to present a free screening of director Kenny Dalsheimer’s Peace In Our Pockets, which follows the inspirational Kenyan activists of Sisi ni Amani as they promote civic engagement, build democracy, and defuse violence in the lead up to the 2013 national elections. The film is presented as part of the Fresh Docs series featuring documentary works-in-progress; following the screenings, a moderated conversation with the filmmaker(s) will be held, during which the audience provides valuable feedback.
Peace In Our Pockets
Friday, February 26, 7 p.m.
Full Frame Theater, American Tobacco Campus
320 Blackwell St., Durham, North Carolina
Note: Fresh Docs screenings are free, but attendees must RESERVE A TICKET via Eventbrite.
Following the 2007 national elections, Kenyan politicians used text messages to incite violence and exploit long-standing tribal tensions. In response, and as historic elections approach, thousands of Kenya organized to counteract those who would tear their country apart. Dalsheimer traveled to Kenya beginning in 2012 to document Sisi ni Amani’s efforts to embrace the same technology in the pursuit of peace. The filmmakers are now making the film available to be used as a catalyst for change, an educational resource, and a tool to promote community development, civic engagement, and policy-focused political dialogue. By capturing the passion and commitment of local activists working at a critical moment in Kenyan history, the film shares invaluable lessons about the very meaning of peace and democracy. How can text messaging and simple technologies transform and strengthen civic participation here in NC and the US and around the world? What role does people-to-people organizing and social engagement play in a peacebuilding process guided in part by technology? What lessons can activists and citizens learn to promote peace and build democracy in their own communities?
Kenny Dalsheimer is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, and media educator based in Durham, North Carolina. In 1996 he founded The Groove Productions, a documentary film and video production company that works collaboratively on diverse projects and creates stories that move, inspire, and better our communities. His first films Go Fast, Turn Left: Voices from Orange County Speedway (1997) and Shine On: Richard Trice and the Bull City Blues (2000) toured across North Carolina as part of the Humanities Council’s Road Scholars program. In 2007, he co-directed and shot Bending Space: Georges Rousse and the Durham Project which screened at fifteen US and International film festivals and aired across the southeast on PBS. A New Kind of Listening (2009) received national recognition in 2010 from TASH as a recipient of the Positive Images in Media Award. His most recent films include A Weaverly Path: The Tapestry Life of Silvia Heyden (2011) and Bending Sticks: The Sculpture of Patrick Dougherty (2012), portraits of internationally recognized NC artists. In 2015, Kenny began work on his latest film, a portrait of legendary old time musician, documentarian, and educator Alice Gerrard. In addition to his film projects, Kenny produces non-profit videos and teachers youth video workshops. He received his M.A. in Anthropology from Duke University in 1985 and taught at Carolina Friends School between 1986–1996.
Established in 1990 by the Center for Documentary Studies, the John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Awards go to undergraduates attending North Carolina’s Triangle-area universities to help them conduct intensive summer-long documentary fieldwork projects, for which they receive up to $2,000. The awards are named for revered scholar John Hope Franklin, the late professor emeritus of history at Duke University, in recognition of his lifetime accomplishments and his dedication to students and teaching.
Applicants must be registered undergraduate students at Duke University, North Carolina Central University, North Carolina State University, or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. CDS welcomes both individual and collaborative proposals.
Applications for the 2016 John Hope Franklin Student Documentary Awards must be postmarked no later than Monday, February 15, 2016). Click here for more information and application guidelines.
Mark your calendars! Four types of passes for the 2016 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (held this year April 7–10, in Durham, North Carolina) will go on sale at 11 a.m. on Thursday, February 11, through the Duke University Box Office. To purchase, go to the online Full Frame store on the Box Office website; you may also buy passes in person or by phone: 919-684-4444. Passes are limited and sell out quickly each year. Go to the Full Frame website for pass holder information and FAQ.
With access to tickets before they go on sale to the general public, unlimited access via the Last Minute Line, and other perks, passes are the best way to experience the festival. Note that the 2015 festival schedule will be available on the Full Frame website in mid-March, and individual tickets to films and events will be available for purchase by the general public beginning April 2.
The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2016-17 Lewis Hine Documentary Fellows Program at the Center for Documentary Studies.* Founded on the spirit, values, and actions of photographer Lewis Hine, the program connects the talents of young documentary artists with the resources and needs of community-based organizations in the United States. Fellows focus primarily on issues of socially and economically marginalized children, adolescents, young adults, their families, and communities; develop collaborative projects with those individuals and communities; and explore the role of documentary work in effecting social change. You can read more about current and recent Hine Fellows and their work on the Lewis Hine Fellowship Program’s blog.
The Hine Fellows Program is offering three ten-month fellowships for 2016-17 in the New York City area. The application deadline is 5 p.m., EST, March 21, 2016. For more information, and to download the application form, see Becoming a Hine Fellow.
*Applicants must be current Duke University seniors or recent Duke graduates, recent graduates of Duke’s MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts program, students and graduates of the CDS Continuing Education Certificate in Documentary Arts program, or Robertson Scholars Program graduates of both Duke and the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.