It’s hard to believe, but Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is well into its second decade. There’s now a generation of people in the Triangle who plan their springs around the 100-plus documentaries that will screen over four intoxicating days beginning Thursday. Programming director Sadie Tillery led an effort to locate some of the most exciting new work from around the world. Some films arrive with a certain amount of advance buzz, while others remain to be discovered by North Carolina audiences. While the venues are the same as last year, the Civic Center screening rooms have been expanded from 310 seats each to 470 apiecea startling 52 percent increase in capacity.
In a couple of significant ways, this year’s festival seems to mark a sea change. Festival founder Nancy Buirski, who was synonymous with the festival for nearly a decade, returns this spring as a documentary filmmaker. Meanwhile, the first decade’s worth of Full Frames found time to recognize the careers of stalwarts of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. This year’s career-award recipients, Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern, have the distinction of being filmmakers whose work came of age during the era of Full Frame. They’re hardly ready for retirement, though. Durham artist Beverly McIver opens up about her personal life in the highly engaging Raising Renee, while Sylvia Pfeiffenberger offers her thoughts on new shorts by two well-known Durham filmmakers, Josh Gibson and Rodrigo Dorfman.
As always, our writers devoured as many advance screeners as possible in order to provide our capsule review section.