At a time when doc production is exploding and ways of telling real-life stories have never been more innovative and varied, it’s a great moment to check out the eclectic selection at the 16th annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, which is becoming a major doc showcase. Running April 4-7 in Durham, North Carolina, Full Frame has revealed its 2013 slate.
Included in this year’s voluminous program of new films are Sundance hits “After Tiller,” a portrait of doctors who perform third-trimester abortions, Lucy Walker’s portrait of an intrepid snowboarder, “The Crash Reel,” and HBO’s CIA vs. Bin Laden doc “Manhunt,” as well as SXSW entries “Maidentrip” and “Downloaded”; the former following teen Laura Dekker’s record-breaking sail around the world, and the latter an in-depth look at Napster.
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Directors: Drew DeNicola,
Myth and music collide in this story of the influence and
impact of revered power-pop band Big Star, featuring never-before-seen footage,
photos, and interviews.
Citizen Koch (Directors: Carl Deal, Tia Lessin)
A multilayered dissection of the Supreme Court’s Citizens
United campaign finance decision as seen through the lens of Wisconsin’s 2011
The Crash Reel (Director: Lucy Walker)
After a training accident leaves Kevin Pearce with a
traumatic brain injury, the intrepid snowboarder undertakes a remarkable
DaVinci (Director: Yuri Ancarani)
This surreal portrait of a fantastic voyage features visuals
from a camera-based surgical computer controlled by a single joystick.
The Editor and the Dragon: Horace Carter Fights the Klan
(Directors: Martin M. Clark, Walter E. Campbell)
A smalltown newspaper editor in North Carolina stands up to
the KKK and is awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1953 for his courageous and tireless
Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children (Director: Patrick
If you’ve been to hell and back, how do you exorcise the
memories? Former U.N. commander Roméo Dallaire’s new mission: end the use of
child soldiers. North American Premiere
First Cousin Once Removed (Director: Alan Berliner)
In this stirring tribute, Alan Berliner traces the tenacious
lines of connection between him and his cousin Edwin Honig as Edwin slowly
succumbs to Alzheimer’s disease.
Free Angela & All Political Prisoners (Director: Shola
Activist Angela Davis recounts her 1970 arrest and trial,
which helped define her life as a revolutionary icon and champion of free
The Fruit Hunters (Director: Yung Chang)
Extremely dedicated connoisseurs seek to devour, yet also
sustain, the world’s most intoxicating and elusive produce.
Gideon’s Army (Director: Dawn Porter)
This remarkable film—a powerful testament to what it means
to dedicate one’s life to the service of others—follows three young public
defenders as they wrestle with massive caseloads and overwhelming student loans
in order to ensure the rights of the accused.
If You Build It (Director: Patrick Creadon)
Innovative teachers, striving students, and a radical
curriculum in Bertie County, N.C., are chronicled over the course of one
transformative year. World Premiere
In So Many Words (Director: Elisabeth Haviland James)
This intensely revealing biography of writer Lucy Daniels
expands the documentary form with its imaginative visualization of the stresses
of her early life. World Premiere
The Last Shepherd (L’ultimo pastore) (Director: Marco
This beautifully shot story of the last travelling shepherd
shows that pastoral bliss may be sustained even in industrial northern Italy.
Leviathan (Directors: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena
This gripping multi-perspective account takes us deep within
the shadows of a commercial fishing vessel.
Manhunt (Director: Greg Barker)
This spellbinding film dissects the painstaking search for
Osama bin Laden, which originated with the “Sisterhood,” a remarkable team of
Mussels in Love (L’Amour des Moules) (Director: Willemiek
In this magnificently photographed and playful ode, a
variety of characters profess their devotion to the briny mollusk. US Premiere
Open Heart (Director: Kief Davidson)
Rwandan six-year-old Angelique must have heart surgery, but
her dad isn’t allowed to go with her to the hospital in Sudan, or to recover
her body if she dies.
Pandora’s Promise (Director: Robert Stone)
Environmentalists and former anti-nuclear activists on three
continents reflect upon their changes-of-heart about the safety and tremendous
potential of nuclear energy.
Running from Crazy (Director: Barbara Kopple)
In light of her family’s history of suicide, Mariel
Hemingway refuses to let mental illness overwhelm her own life: “control is
Sofia’s Last Ambulance (Director: Ilian Metev)
Krassi, Mila, and Plamen staunchly navigate the potholes
that pepper Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, in one of the city’s few remaining
Venus and Serena (Directors: Maiken Baird, Michelle Major)
This unprecedented look at the tennis legends’ lives on and
off the court is accentuated by the testaments of family, friends, and some of
their more famous fans.
We Always Lie to Strangers (Directors: AJ Schnack, David
This touching portrayal takes us into the lives of four
families who perform for tourists in the “live music capital of the world,”
Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of
Tim Hetherington (Director: Sebastian Junger)
A warm and candid portrait of the extraordinarily brave,
empathic photographer, who died in Libya in 2011, by his partner on the film
The World According to Dick Cheney (Directors: R.J. Cutler,
A wealth of archival material and interviews shape this
comprehensive, even-handed portrait of one of America’s most divisive
12 O’Clock Boys (Director: Lotfy Nathan)
A struggling adolescent seeks acceptance from a group of
extreme dirt bikers, an illegal gang seen to be terrorizing the streets of
After Tiller (Directors: Martha Shane, Lana Wilson)
After the murder of their friend and colleague Dr. George
Tiller, only four physicians continue to perform late-term abortions, risking
their lives for women’s right to choose.
AKA Doc Pomus (Directors: Peter Miller, Will Hechter)
This biopic celebrates blues legend Doc Pomus, AKA Jerome
Felder, a man who didn’t just write “Lonely Avenue” but lived it.
American Promise (Directors: Michèle Stephenson, Joe
This personal film follows the directors’ son and his best
friend from their first day of kindergarten through high school graduation, and
how their lives diverge.
Ash (Director: Nathan S. Duncan)
This moody, experimental portrait of Austin State Hospital’s
vacated spaces is a ghostly memorial to the patients who once stayed
there. World Premiere
The Baby (De Baby) (Director: Deborah van Dam)
As one woman pieces together the fragmented memories of her
childhood, she finds herself linked to a photograph of Anne Frank holding an
infant girl. North American Premiere
Battery Man (Biba Struja) (Directors: Dusan Cavic, Dusan
“Electricity has no friends but me.” The story of a
(super)man who can withstand, and control, up to 20,000 volts of electricity.
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. North American Premiere
Blood Brother (Director: Steve Hoover)
A man’s life is changed forever when he travels to India and
realizes he cannot leave the children he has met at an orphanage behind.
Buzkashi! (Director: Najeeb Mirza)
A visually stunning film in which a Tajikistani shepherd
must confront momentous changes both at home and in his beloved sport of
By Her Side (Ik stond erbij) (Director: Niels van Koevorden)
Three fathers-to-be share their hopes, dreams, and anxieties
as they anticipate the birth of their children. North American Premiere
Camera/Woman (Director: Karima Zoubir)
A Moroccan divorcée supports her family by documenting
wedding parties while navigating her own series of heartaches. North American
Cutie and the Boxer (Director: Zachary Heinzerling)
The tension between an artist and his supportive wife of
forty years is further strained when a curator expresses interest in her work.
Dance for Me (Dans for mig) (Director: Katrine Philp)
A teenage Russian dancer relocates to Denmark to live with
his adolescent partner so they can prepare for a series of prestigious ballroom
championships. North American Premiere
Downloaded (Director: Alex Winter)
The history of Napster, from its humble chatroom beginnings
to its takedown at the hands of a music industry that didn’t know what hit it.
The Expedition to the End of the World (Ekspeditionen til
verdens ende) (Director: Daniel Dencik)
A motley collection of scientists and artists board a
restored three-mast schooner and set out for uncharted territory, engaging in
equal measures of exploration and whimsy.
Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story (Director:
Expect the unexpected from this outré graphic artist, erotic
illustrator, and revolutionary children’s book author and his unconventional
First Comes Love (Director: Nina Davenport)
In this autobiographical portrait, Nina Davenport boldly
lays bare the hardships and triumphs of her journey toward single motherhood in
a modern age.
God Loves Uganda (Director: Roger Ross Williams)
American Christian evangelists export virulent anti-gay
teachings to Sub-Saharan Africa with deadly consequences.
Good Ol’ Freda (Director: Ryan White)
Liverpudlian teenager Freda Kelly was the Beatles secretary
and tells “one of the last true stories of the Beatles you’ll ever hear.”
Homegoings (Director: Christine Turner)
This film explores the mind of a man whose heart and passion
for the dead inspires our own appreciation for the human soul.
Irish Folk Furniture (Director: Tony Donoghue)
Spirited animation brings handmade furniture to life in this
colorful and delightfully quirky slice of rural Ireland.
Magnetic Reconnection (Director: Kyle Armstrong)
The Canadian Arctic is the terrestrial, and
extraterrestrial, setting for a contemplative survey of transience, from
generations-old decay to fleeting particles of light.
Maidentrip (Director: Jillian Schlesinger)
Follow teenager Laura Dekker across three oceans and five
continents on her journey to become the youngest person to sail around the
Medora (Directors: Andrew Cohn, Davy Rothbart)
In Indiana, a high school basketball team on a 44-game
losing streak isn’t reaching for the championship—they just want to win a
Menstrual Man (Director: Amit Virmani)
A microenterpreneur has a dream: to reduce gynecological
diseases among rural Indian women by teaching them to make, and sell, sanitary
pads. World Premiere
Muscle Shoals (Director: Greg ‘Freddy’ Camalier)
There is more than meets the ear in these vivid and surprising
accounts of performance and perseverance in the Muscle Shoals, Alabama, music
Nile Perch (Director: Josh Gibson)
An austere and contemplative observation of Lake Victoria
fishermen rendered in arresting chiaroscuro.
Our Nixon (Director: Penny Lane)
Super 8 footage by Oval Office intimates Haldeman,
Ehlrichman, and Chapin deliver an astonishingly fresh view of the Nixon White
Outlawed in Pakistan (Directors: Habiba Nosheen, Hilke
After a young woman is brutally raped, her family overcomes
severe social customs and tribal norms in order to take her case to trial.
Pablo’s Winter (Director: Chico Pereira)
Former Almadén mercury miner Pablo spends his halcyon days
cursing, kvetching, and chain-smoking to the chagrin of his wife and his
The Palace (Director: Tomasz Wolski)
A fascinating and witty cinematic portrait of a gigantic
Soviet-era edifice and its denizens in Warsaw, Poland.
The Pleasures of Being Out of Step (Director: David L.
This non-linear profile of jazz critic Nat Hentoff is laced
with music and illuminates the civil libertarian’s enduring influence. World
Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer (Directors: Mike Lerner, Maxim
The titular band’s controversial performance and subsequent
imprisonment are documented in this revealing portrait of the women and their
Reborning (Directors: Yael Bridge, Helen Hood Scheer)
The story of one woman’s calling to create dolls that look
exactly like newborn babies.
The Record Breaker (Director: Brian McGinn)
Even though he holds more Guinness Book of World Records
than anyone else on the planet, Ashrita Furman is not slowing down.
Remote Area Medical (Directors: Jeff Reichert, Farihah
Over the course of one weekend, RAM’s dedicated team sets up
a “pop-up” clinic at a NASCAR speedway to provide no-cost, accessible
healthcare to people in need. World Premiere
A River Changes Course (Director: Kalyanee Mam)
Is convenience progress? A beautiful and heartbreaking
vérité look at three families subsisting in (what may be the end of) rural
Slomo (Director: Josh Izenberg)
A wealthy neurologist leaves the rat race behind and
gracefully skates his way, on one foot, to spiritual fulfillment.
Spinning Plates (Director: Joseph Levy)
From a small cocina to a mecca for country dining to a
three-star restaurant in Chicago, this film celebrates our passion for eating
A Story for the Modlins (Director: Sergio Oksman)
After discovering a stranger’s box of family photos on the
sidewalk, Oksman pieces together a sketch of the Modlins’ bizarre lives.
Suitcase of Love and Shame (Director: Jane Gillooly)
This experimental film reconstructs a mid-century love
affair using erotically charged correspondence left behind on reel-to-reel
tape. North American Premiere
Taxidermists (Director: Nicole Triche)
This story of artists who love wildlife culminates in the
“Olympics of taxidermy” and presents some of the most breathtaking animal
sculptures ever captured on film.
True-Life Adventure (Director: Erin Espelie)
A dramatic four-minute nature documentary chronicling what
happens in a tiny area of a Rocky Mountain stream on a lovely June afternoon.
North American Premiere
Twenty Feet from Stardom (Director: Morgan Neville)
Backup singers, the unsung heroes of pop music, finally get
their moment in the spotlight in this jubilant history and appreciation.
The Undocumented (Director: Marco Williams)
An unvarnished account of the repatriation of the remains of
immigrants who died crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in the Arizona desert.
A Will for the Woods (Directors: Amy Browne, Jeremy Kaplan,
Tony Hale, Brian Wilson)
This film explores the green burial movement by focusing on
one man’s quest for a final resting place that will do no harm to the earth.
Wolf Mountain (Directors: Dan Duran, Brendan Nahmias, Sam
At Wolf Mountain Sanctuary in the Mojave Desert, Tonya
Littlewolf literally runs with the wolves, those that were born in captivity
and are unsuited for life as pets or in the wild.
Wrong Time Wrong Place (Director: John Appel)
Survivors of the 2011 bombing and mass shooting in Norway
recount the day’s tragic events in this look at how chance circumstances can
have profound consequences. North American Premiere
You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Director: Scott
Diplomacy, arm-twisting, and gastronomy as lifted from LBJ’s
daily diaries and recorded phone conversations and animated by archival
Yucca Mtn Tally (Director: Phoebe Brush)
An artful reflection on a nuclear waste repository in the
Nevada desert is filmed against a backdrop of boundless horizon and thoughts
about deep time.