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Under New Leadership, Full Frame Doc Fest Sets 2010 Slate

Under New Leadership, Full Frame Doc Fest Sets 2010 Slate

The 13th annual Full Frame Documentary Festival, taking place in downtown Durham, N.C. from April 8-11, has announced their upcoming lineup. The roster is the first under newly appointed Executive Director, Deirdre Haj.

Haj joined the festival earlier this year following her work as a documentary producer and consultant. Her producing credits include the award-winning documentary “Scene Smoking,” and “Brushes with Life.” She’s also worked as an actor in both film and theater.

“Deirdre brings unique skills, experience, and perspective to Full Frame,” said Tom Rankin, a Full Frame Board member, in an official statement. “Her rich and diverse background makes her the perfect choice to build on Full Frame’s success.”

Kicking off the festival will be the U.S. premiere of “Kings of Pastry” from directing team D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. The film follows Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of the French Pasty School in Chicago, during the intense Meilleur Ouvrier de France competition that pits French pastry chefs against one another over a three-day period.

This is not the first time the two directors have opened the festival. In 2004 their documentary “Elaine Stritch at Libery” served as the opening night film. That same year, Hegedus also co-curated the thematic program “Leadership Through a Gender Lens.”

This year’s thematic program will be curated by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, directors of Oscar nominated film, “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant.” Their program will feature a series of films centered around the broad theme of labor. Bognar and Reichert are no strangers to the festival, having received the Special Jury Award in 2006 for “A Lion in the House.”

“After spending six months observing an amazing group of auto workers as their jobs ended, we realized how ignorant we were of the labor it takes to make the vehicles we drive: all the many skills, how they fit together,” they said in a joint press release.

Also on the festival’s slate is the New Docs program, which features many U.S. premieres, and documentaries that made the rounds at this year’s Sundance. The full list is published on page two of this article.

Previous Sundance competitors screening at Full Frame include Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing’s “12th & Delaware,” Alex Gibney’s in-depth examination of lobbyist Jack Abramoff “Casino Jack and the United States of Money,” and Lixin Fan’s widely acclaimed “Last Train Home.” Films making their U.S. premieres include the Danish documentary “Albert’s Winter” from director Andreas Koefoed and “Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould,” a portrait of the revered pianist from directors Michele Hozer and Peter Raymont.

Fifty one films are screening in the New Docs program, a host of them will be making their world premieres in the section. That list includes John-Keith Wasson’s “Surviving Hitler: A Love Story,” Peter Sillen’s “I am Secretly an Important Man,” Rodrigo Dorfman’s “Generation Exile” and Peter Bulls’ “Dirty Business.”

2010 NEW DOCS (information courtesy Full Frame)

12th & Delaware (Directors: Rachel Grady, Heidi Ewing)
At a single intersection in Fort Prince, Florida, sits a microcosm of America’s most intractable ideological battle: on one side of the street an abortion clinic, on the other the pro-life Pregnancy Care Center.

Albert’s Winter (Director: Andreas Koefoed)
A young Danish boy spends the winter balancing the whimsy of childhood play, the demands of his education, and the omnipresence of his mother’s cancer. North American Premiere

Ahead of Time (Director: Bob Richman)
Cinematographer Bob Richman, in his directing debut, celebrates Ruth Gruber, an intrepid scholar and journalist, now almost a hundred, who documented and participated in some of the pivotal events of the 20th century.

Ali Shan (Director: Yung Chang)
In this oddly suspenseful and ethereal short film, an early morning commute leads to a surprisingly transcendent destination.

La Belle Visite (Journey’s End) (Director: Jean-François Caissy)
In this elegy filmed in a country retirement home—on a beautiful bluff in rural Quebec—two dozen seniors live out their final years to the slow rhythms of the changing seasons. US Premiere

Book of Miri (Director: Katrine Philp)
A tender meditation on identity and the search for belonging, this is a portrait of Miri, a Korean-Swedish librarian who finds refuge in her blog, where she diligently records her fashion adventures and intimate thoughts. US Premiere

Born Sweet (Director: Cynthia Wade)
Vinh is a Cambodian boy sick from arsenic poisoning who knows he may not have long to live but dreams of falling in love and becoming a karaoke star.

Capital (Director: Maxim Pozdorovkin)
Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, sprouted almost overnight in the middle of the Central Asian steppe. Now celebrating the city’s tenth anniversary, its sanguine yet skeptical inhabitants offer glimpses of life in a modern utopia gone somewhat askew. World Premiere

CASINO JACK and the United States of Money (Director: Alex Gibney)
An invigorating examination of the greed and corruption that led to lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s arrest in 2007.

Countryside 35×45 (Director: Evgeny Solomin)
A slightly salacious Siberian photographer prone to chronic small talk meticulously ensures all the men are appropriately attired and the women properly coiffed for their photos—after all, it is their passport for life, yes? North American Premiere

The Darkness of Day (Director: Jay Rosenblatt)
An artistic exploration of suicide presented with a paradoxically uplifting cinematic lyricism.

Diary of a Times Square Thief (Director: Klaas Bense)
This intriguing film documents the search for the author of a diary whose account of life at a dive hotel in pre-Giuliani Times Square includes many memorable characters, some of whom are tracked down and interviewed here.

Dirty Business (Director: Peter Bull)
Rolling Stone reporter Jeff Goodell exposes the real cost of coal in this enlightening and very timely feature. World Premiere

The Edge of Dreaming (Director: Amy Harding)
When one of filmmaker Amy Harding’s disturbing dreams manifests in real life, she is left to wonder if her most recent premonition – that she will die in the upcoming year – will also come true. North American Premiere

Enemies of the People (Directors: Rob Lemkin, Thet Sambath)
A Cambodian reporter investigates who gave the order to kill millions during the Khmer Rouge regime. After ten years, he gains the trust of the only person who knows the truth.

Family Affair (Director: Chico Colvard)
Chico David Colvard untangles a deep and disturbing family mystery in this profound, unflinching tale of sexual abuse and forgiveness.

Garbo: The Spy (Director: Edmon Roch)
Did a Catalonian double agent almost single-handedly divert Nazi troops from Normandy on D-Day to secure Allied victory? Decide for yourself if the man whom the British code-named Garbo was truly the greatest actor in the world.

Generation Exile (Director: Rodrigo Dorfman)
The tales of five displaced characters, including the filmmaker, intermingle in this boldly paced film to evoke, both through narrative and poetic technique, the exile’s experience of alienation and moral dilemma. World Premiere

Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould (Directors: Michèle Hozer, Peter Raymont)
This beautifully crafted portrait of the extraordinary pianist Glenn Gould delves deep into his work and beyond his public persona through never-before-seen footage and interviews with those who knew him best. US Premiere

Google Baby (Director: Zippi Brand Frank)
In a global economic chain linking the United States to India to Israel, the incredibly intimate act of baby making has been outsourced.

Hanasaari A (Directors: Hannes Vartiainen, Pekka Veikkolainen)
In this experimental short, time-lapse photography transforms the demolition of a coal-fired power plant into a stunning work of art. US Premiere

Hranica (The Border) (Director: Jaroslav Vojtek)
The residents of Slemence wake up one morning to find half their village in Slovakia and the other half in the Ukraine, the random new border dividing family members and friends for the next 60 years. North American Premiere

I am Secretly an Important Man (Director: Peter Sillen)
Through the assembly of brilliant 16mm streetscapes, performance footage, and illuminating interviews with those closest to the subject, Peter Sillen offers a portrait of Steven J. Bernstein (aka Jesse Bernstein) as strikingly lyrical as the writings and spoken-word theatrics of the late artist himself. World Premiere

In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee (Director: Deann Borshay Liem)
Filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem arrived in the U.S. at the age of eight under another girl’s name, and so began a tale of deception and amnesia that led her back to South Korea forty years later in search of the “real” Cha Jung Hee.

The Invention of Dr. Nakamats (Director: Kaspar Astrup Schröder)
A character sketch of Yoshiro Nakamatsu, Japanese inventor extraordinaire, this film takes us on a rollicking exploration of the human capacity for creativity and invention.

La isla – Archives of a Tragedy (Director: Uli Stelzner)
A sudden explosion in a police training barrack uncovers a secret archive housing thousands of records amassed by the Guatemalan police and army from the 1930s through the end of the civil war in 1996. US Premiere

Ito – A Diary of an Urban Priest (Director: Pirjo Honkasalo)
Follow Fujioka, boxing-champion-turned-Buddhist-monk, as he takes a hypnotic journey through Tokyo’s underbelly, hearing confession from all quarters. North American Premiere

Jaffa, The Orange’s Clockwork (Director: Eyal Sivan)
This layered examination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict unfolds through the history of the Jaffa orange. A small fruit with sizeable significance, the orange originated in Palestine and later became an Israeli brand name. US Premiere

Last Train Home (Director: Lixin Fan)
Every year Yang and Suquin Zhang take part in the world’s largest human migration, traveling alongside another 130 million Chinese migrant workers to return home to their family for the New Year’s Holiday.

Life Extended (Director: Bigert & Bergström)
Can we really live forever? And would we want to? Through interviews with monks, physicists and everyone in between, this film explores the human need to control life and death.

Maria’s Way (Director: Anne Milne)
Along a famed pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, one woman’s calling is to sit by the narrow thoroughfare greeting and counting the travelers as they pass by.

The Mirror (Director: David Christensen)
This beautifully shot film blends the absurdism of Fellini and the generosity of DeSantis as it closely observes a remote village in the Italian Alps whose mayor lights upon an ingenious solution to a seemingly insurmountable dilemma: for three months of the year, the village is plunged into the shadow of a nearby mountain.

My Enschede (Director: Astrid Bussink)
In May 2000, a fireworks storage room exploded in the east Netherlands city of Enschede. The tragic accident killed twenty-three people and injured another thousand. Filmmaker Astrid Bussink, who was living there at the time, returns to the city, gauging the many ways the explosion continues to resonate within the community. North American Premiere

My Perestroika (Director: Robin Hessman)
Following five classmates who came of age during the collapse of the Soviet Union, this film offers a personal and nuanced look at Russia, from the Iron Curtain to today.

Notes on the Other (Director: Sergio Oksman)
Every summer a surprising number of bearded men flock to Key West to take part in the annual Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest, imitating a famous author who himself donned the persona of fearless adventurer.

The Oath (Director: Laura Poitras)
The stories of brothers-in-law Abu Jandal and Hamdan—Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard and driver respectively—converge and diverge in ways that shed light on a part of the world too few understand.

Photo and Copyright by G.P. Fieret (Director: Frank van den Engel)
Friends and former models fondly recall Gerard Petrus Fieret, the eccentric Dutch photographer whose life’s work is now hotly desired by the art market. North American Premiere

Photograph of Jesus (Director: Laurie Hill)
Stop-motion animation whisks viewers through card catalogs and filing cabinets to reveal the bizarre and impossible photo requests that cross an archivist’s desk.

The Player (Director: John Appel)
Spurred by his own father’s gambling, filmmaker John Appel deftly traces the overlapping psychology and compulsions of three characters: a bookie, a poker player, and an incarcerated swindler. North American Premiere

The Poodle Trainer (Director: Vance Malone)
Irina Markova loves training poodles, large and small, under the circus big top, creating a glittery symbiosis between herself and her fluffy cream and caramel colored dogs.

The Poot (Director: Elham Asadi)
A pure visual treat, The Poot traces the production of beautiful, handmade Persian rugs from sheep to market. North American Premiere

Regretters (Director: Marcus Lindeen)
Born men, once women, and now men again, Orlando and Mikael dig deep into the psychology behind the one regret they share, offering a thoughtful exploration of identity and expectations. North American Premiere

Restrepo (Directors: Sebastian Junger, Tim Hetherington)
An unblinking look at American soldiers on a long deployment in the dangerous Korengal Valley of Afghanistan, where they exchange fire with the Taliban almost every day.

Seltzer Works (Director: Jessica Edwards)
With its thirst-inducing series of images and sounds, this charming, nostalgic short takes us into the last seltzer factory in New York.

The Space You Leave (Director: James Newton)
A somber look into the lives of three parents whose children have gone missing, this short film strikes a strong emotional chord.

Summer Pasture (Directors: Lynn True, Nelson Walker, Tsering Perlo)
At once exotic and oddly familiar, this is a deeply satisfying, visually compelling story of a young nomadic Tibetan family struggling to survive on the revenues of caterpillar fungus and yak herding. World Premiere

Surviving Hitler: A Love Story (Director: John-Keith Wasson)
This riveting love story, anchored in a plot to kill Hitler during the height of his power, offers an eye-opening look at life under the Third Reich. World Premiere

Thunder Soul (Director: Mark Landsman)
Former members of Houston’s renowned Kashmere Stage Band, arguably the nation’s best high-school jazz and funk band in the 1970s, get together for a reunion concert in honor of beloved band director Conrad Johnson in this fast-paced, toe-tapping funk celebration.

Today Is Better Than Two Tomorrows (Director: Anna Rodgers)
Inseparable eleven-year-old cousins and best friends, Leh and Bo, face a harsh reality: one will go to a monastery and one will go to school, sequestered from each other and their families. Filmmaker Anna Rodgers spent four years in Laos with the boys as they grew up and apart.

War Don Don (Director: Rebecca Richman Cohen)
A riveting war crimes trial in Sierra Leone is closely watched by a healing nation.
Weapon of War (Directors: Ilse van Velzen, Femke van Velzen)
Over years of civil war, it’s estimated that over 150,000 women have been raped in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This harrowing document includes direct interviews with current and former soldiers, many speaking for the first time, involved in the policy of systematic sexual terrorism. North American Premiere

For Full Frame Documentary Festival’s full lineup, check out their website.

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