The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, celebrating its 20th anniversary April 6–9 has announced the titles included in this year’s Thematic Program, “DoubleTake.” The program was curated by Full Frame artistic director Sadie Tillery as a retrospective celebrating the films and filmmakers who helped establish the festival.
“It was a remarkable journey to take, looking back over the milestones and moments highlighting two decades of Full Frame,” said Tillery. “Above all else, this retrospective is a celebration of the the artistry, courage, and power of storytelling we see every year from documentary filmmakers around the world. We’re proud to continue to provide a stage where their work can be experienced and appreciated.”
Over two decades, Full Frame has showcased nearly 2,000 documentaries, featuring titles in wide circulation alongside films that are harder to see.
Here is a brief list of Thematic Program films, with synopses provided by the festival For more information or tickets, visit www.fullframefest.org.
Never miss a local story.
▪ “12 Notes Down” (”12 Toner ned”) (Director: Andreas Koefoed). This portrayal of transition follows a talented adolescent as he is forced to abandon his longstanding role in the Copenhagen Royal Chapel Choir when his voice begins to change. Festival Year: 2009
▪ “Benjamin Smoke” (Directors: Jem Cohen, Peter Sillen). A portrait of the band Smoke’s lead singer unfolds through a patchwork of still images, rehearsal and performance footage, black-and-white collages, and interviews with Benjamin himself. Festival Year: 2001
▪ “Black Out” (Director: Eva Weber). With no power at home, Guinean children walk miles to study for exams beneath the humming glow of airport, gas station, and parking lot lights. Festival Year: 2013
▪ “The Chances of the World Changing” (Director: Eric Daniel Metzgar). What begins as a desire to help save endangered turtles becomes an all-consuming passion for New Yorker Richard Ogust, who eventually shares his apartment with 1,200 tortoises from around the globe. Festival Year: 2006
▪ “Father's Day” (Director: Mark Lipman). With its deceptively restrained tone, this film investigates a father’s passing through edited home movies and a contemporary soundtrack in which family members talk about the father’s life. Festival Year: 2004
▪ “Flag Wars” (Directors: Linda Goode Bryant, Laura Poitras). This stark journey into the heart of a divided community documents the gentrification of an African-American working-class neighborhood in Ohio, where the white newcomers are mostly gay. Festival Year: 2003
▪ “Helvetica” (Director: Gary Hustwit). An insightful examination of typography, graphic design, and global visual culture through the lens of the iconic typeface. Festival Year: 2007
▪ “Il Capo” (Director: Yuri Ancarani). This cinematic short follows an Italian machinery conductor as he deftly directs his crew to carve marble out of a mountain. Festival Year: 2011
▪ “In Harm's Way” (Director: Jan Krawitz). An affecting portrait of the filmmaker’s own life story, told through striking contemporary images and excerpts from the “safety first” films shown in school classrooms during the 1950s and 60s. Festival Year: 1998
▪ “La Laguna” (Director: Aaron Schock). In the rainforests of southern Mexico, a Mayan boy faces the impending loss of his childhood freedoms as family pressures and economic realities close in. Festival Year: 2016
▪ “Last Day of Freedom” (Directors: Dee Hibbert-Jones, Nomi Talisman). Beautiful animation accompanies poignant testimony in this haunting short about a man who discovers his brother has committed a serious crime. Festival Year: 2015
▪ “Paradise - Three Journeys in This World” (Director: Elina Hirvonen). A lyrical exploration of the fragile hopes and harsh realities of African immigrant journeys to Spain. Festival Year: 2008
▪ “Phantom Limb” (Director: Jay Rosenblatt). This experimental fusion of found footage and home movies takes us through the grieving process the filmmaker, who lost his brother when he was just nine years old, was denied as a child. Festival Year: 2005
▪ “Santa Cruz del Islote” (Director: Luke Lorentzen). On this remote island, the most densely populated on the planet, a community struggles to maintain their way of life as resources and opportunities dwindle. Festival Year: 2014
▪ “Strong at the Broken Places: Turning Trauma into Recovery” (Directors: Margaret Lazarus, Renner Wunderlich). Four individuals who survived unspeakable trauma in their youth tell their stories, and in doing so, make profound statements about inner strength and empowerment. Festival Year: 1999
▪ “Sun Come Up” (Director: Jennifer Redfearn). When climate change causes the ocean to slowly consume their idyllic South Pacific island, residents of the Carteret Atoll must make a painful choice — evacuate or cling to the land they love — and time is running out. Festival Year: 2010
▪ “Two Towns of Jasper” (Directors: Whitney Dow, Marco Williams). After the murder of a black man makes national headlines, the filmmakers dispatch two crews to Jasper, Texas— one black, one white — to get at the truth of what life in the town is really about. Festival Year: 2002
▪ “The Waiting Room” (Director: Peter Nicks) This gripping film is a symphony of patients, caregivers, loved ones, bureaucracy, and hard choices in an Oakland ER’s waiting room. Festival Year: 2012
▪ “The Way I Look at You: 5 Stories of Driving School” (”La bonne conduite: 5 histoires d’auto-école”) (Director: Jean-Stéphane Bron). This uniquely insightful film explores the relationships that develop between five pairs of Swiss driving school instructors and their students; in their obligatory interactions, complex personal stories are revealed. Festival Year: 2000