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Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival



  • Full Frame serves the documentary form and its community by showcasing the contemporary work of established and emerging filmmakers.
  • Full Frame promotes the festival's mission throughout the year by presenting documentary work in other venues both locally and nationally.
  • Martin Scorsese is the chair of Full Frame's advisory board.

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

Downtown Durham, NC plays host to the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, which began in 1998 as the Double Take Documentary Film Festival and grew in prominence as one of the U.S.'s premier documentary specific events under the stewardship of its founder and former artistic director Nancy Buirski.

Held over four days, Full Frame schedules its typically impressive programming selections in a fairly atypical way - each film is screened only once, usually competing with three or four other films screening at the same time in neighboring theaters. Organizers have said in the past that this creates a sense of urgency around each screening, making the sole screening the only chance the audience has to watch a particular film. And audiences have responded - most screenings are sold out or close to it. Full Frame's audiences are another unique aspect of the event - located in the so-called "Research Triangle" of NC, made up of research universities NC State, Duke, and UNC-Chapel Hill in the cities of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, the festival draws from a discerning, diverse, and often highly-educated crowd of students, academics, and high-tech business folk.

The event rounds out its film programming with special curated strands, panels, and seminars, and often draws the leading filmmakers and industry figures in the U.S. documentary world. While some wondered if Full Frame had lost some of its profile to similar events such as Silverdocs and in the U.K., Sheffield Doc/Fest, the programming under Sadie Tillery has impressed over the past couple of years. With the recent addition of executive director Deirdre Haj taking over for long-time supporter Peg Palmer, who stepped in temporarily after Buirski left, the festival has built its staff back up and is in a good position to continue bringing the best of the newest non-fiction to North Carolina.

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