By Dilip Barman The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival has come and gone. It was another four-day weekend of superlative film, sometimes only available to be seen theatrically at the Festival, and many happy attendees.
If you missed Full Frame, or if you attended but want more, some of the films will be released and shown in theatres, and some will be on public television. Also, as in the past few years, there are plans to continue to offer free screenings primarily in Durham, NC of some of the films.
I expect to review several films that I saw in upcoming issues of Saathee. Two films that I had not written about in my Full Frame preview last month but which I saw at the Festival, Jesse Owens (Laurens Grant, 2012) and First Position (Bess Kargman, 2011), were compelling films about artful sports figures.
Jesse Owens had a world premiere as the opening night film. It was produced by PBS’ American Experience series. Many will remember Jesse Owens as one of the rare African American athletes before the era of civil rights in the U.S. He was such a strong athlete (and, as the film shows, a soft-spoken gentleman who didn’t let the blatant racism of the times paint his treatment of others) that some of his track and field records held for years after he won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, shocking Nazi leaders.
I was surprised that First Position was made by a first-time filmmaker (who was a dancer throughout her childhood); its production quality does not reflect this. It follows six young ballet dancers for a year as they prepare for the Youth America Grand Prix competition. I found the film to be a very affirming and warm tribute to the efforts of each of these dancers and their families, including one man who had to leave his family in Columbia to pursue his dream in America, and a woman who was adopted from war-torn Sierra Leone.
First Position offers a natural transition to mentioning another great festival that we are lucky to have in our backyard, also in Durham, NC. The annual American Dance Festival (www.americandancefestival.org), the country’s premiere contemporary dance festival, rolls out its 79th season June 14-July 28. Tickets go on sale on May 14, 2012.
I will have more to say about ADF in upcoming columns, but I wanted to get the word out about one troupe that may particularly interest Saathee readers. Ragamala Dance (ragamala.net) is rooted in Bharatanatyam with a dose of modern dance. They have been invited to make their ADF debut July 10-12, including a post-performance discussion on Tuesday, July 10th. They will feature their 2011 dance “Sacred Earth,” inspired by traditional floor drawings and wall paintings. As the ADF website describes, “this collage of the senses uses the visual beauty on stage along with the live musical accompaniment to develop and explore the interconnectedness of humans and the vast landscapes that shape them.”
Over 70 films were screened at this year’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Many filmmakers attended Full Frame; there were opportunities at question and answer sessions immediately after screenings, as well as at panel discussions and informally in between events to engage with them. The Festival’s website is www.fullframefest.org.
Note: Full Frame logo and all pictures courtesy of the Full Frame Film Festival. All images are used with permission.
By Dilip Barman
The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival has come and gone. It was another four-day weekend of superlative film, sometimes only available to be seen theatrically at the Festival, and many happy attendees.