Asking the Question, "Why War," Full Frame Doc Fest to Open with "Bearing Witness"
by Eugene Hernandez
The 8th Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, set for April 7-10 in Durham, N.C., will open with the A&E Indie Films production, "Bearing Witness" by Barbara Kopple, Bob Eisenhardt, and Marijana Wotton. 78 films, 55 features and 28 shorts, have been selected to screen in competition at the festival according to organizers. A total of 105 movies will screen over the course of the four-day event.
"Bearing Witness" looks at the lives of five female journalists covering wars, offering a perspective on the war in Iraq and other battles around the world. A special program dubbed "Why War?" will offer screenings and discussions. Also planned is a Southern Sidebar of films.
World premieres set for the 2005 festival include Canaan Brumley's "Ear, Open, Eyeballs, Click," described as an experimental film about men becoming Marines, and Joe Angio's "How To Eat Watermelon in White Company (and Enjoy It)" about Melvin Van Peebles. North American premieres will include Jaroslaw Sztandera's "For a Miracle (Po Cud)" about a pilgrimage by disabled people to Lourdes from Poland and Max Kestner's "Max by Chance" which takes a unique look at the director's life and family. U.S. premiere's include Alessandro Cassigoli and Dalia Castel's "Good Times," looking at an Israeli wall built in an Arab village, and Caroline Martel's "Phantom of the Operator" featuring clips from historical promotional films about the telephone company.
East coast premieres will include Jay Rosenblatt's "Phantom Limb," Amy Stechler's "The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo," Gillian Grisman's "Press On," Christian Bauer's "The Ritchie Boys," Susan Stern's "The Self-Made Man," and Arturo Perez Torres' "Wetback - The Undocumented Documentary."
Panels set for this year's festival will include an exploration of creating documentaries during a "tense moral climate," and a panel moderated by HBO's Sheila Nevins that will look at the state of theatrical distribution for documentaries.
A number of Sundance '05 titles will screen at Full Frame, including Pirjo Honkasalo's "The 3 Rooms of Melancholia," Jessica Sanders' "After Innocence," Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine's "Ballet Russes," Rose Rosenblatt and Marion Lipschutz's "The Education of Shelby Knox," Alex Gibney's "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," Henry Alex Rubin & Dana Adam Shapiro's "Murderball," Marc Levin's "Protocols of Zion," and Eugene Jarecki's "Why We Fight." From Toronto '04 are Margaret Brown's "Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt" and Mark Wexler's "Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Romeo Dallaire." Also on tap are Liz Mermin's "The Beauty Academy of Kabul," Tal Sharon and Daniel Barcelowsky's "Cheeks," and the Oscar nominated "The Children of Leningradsky" by Hana Polak and Andrezej Celinski, and Oren Jacoby's "Sister Rose's Passion," as well as Ralph Arlyck's "Following Sean" which debuted at the Hamptons International Film Festival.
The festival will be back in its three traditional venues this year, but will also add a venue at the American Tobacco Campus, according to organizers. Planners will also again work with Emerging Pictures to screen films in other theaters around the country, via digital projection.