Ross McElwee (“Sherman’s March,” “Bright Leaves”) will be a guest of honor at Durham, North Carolina’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and as part of his trip to the festival, he has programmed a series of eight features and two short films to be a part of a special retrospective series about families.
“There are, of course, countless documentaries about American families. There are many about other people’s families, but the documentaries selected for this program are films about the families of the filmmakers,” said McElwee. “They are a kind of autobiographical subset of a larger documentary category, and thus exhibit a whole additional layer of emotional, psychological, and aesthetic complexity. The viewer of these films must not only consider what is happening before the camera but also how events portrayed in the film are connected to the person behind the camera—the filmmaker who also happens to be a daughter, a son, or a parent. To understate the matter, this complicates things considerably. I speak from personal experience.”
Full Frame runs from April 12-15, 2012.
The complete lineup for the Family Affairs series is below, with descriptions courtesy of the festival.
51 Birch Street (Director: Doug Block)
Shortly after his mother’s death, Doug Block is stunned to learn that his father is moving in with his secretary from 40 years before—so begins his journey to understand the parents he thought he knew.
Diaries (Director: Ed Pincus)
In this intensely personal memoir, Ed Pincus films his wife, children, and lovers in an effort to faithfully record his, and their, struggle to find and experience intimacy, commitment, and fulfillment.
Family Portrait Sittings (Director: Alfred Guzzetti)
First released in 1975, this introspective and unprecedented film depicts Alfred Guzzetti’s family history through extended and candid interviews and carefully curated home recordings.
In Search of Our Fathers (Director: Marco Williams)
Marco Williams’s quest to discover the father he never knew ultimately reveals more about the women in his family, particularly his mother and her efforts to enrich his upbringing.
Intimate Stranger (Director: Alan Berliner)
This vibrant film is full of the still photographs, celluloid film, and ephemera of a well-traveled life, that of Alan Berliner’s grandfather, whose yearning for success and acclaim took him far away from home.
Must Read After My Death (Director: Morgan Dews)
After uncovering a trove of family movies and audio recordings, Morgan Dews assembles the materials together to present this daring portrait of his grandparents’ strained relationship, and their very different expectations of family life.
My Father, The Genius (Director: Lucia Small)
Architect Glen Small asks his estranged daughter, Lucia, to craft his biography, which ultimately evolves into this documentary that delicately traces the lines of tension between artistic brilliance and familial disappointment.
Time Exposure (Director: Alfred Guzzetti)
In this short, Alfred Guzzetti deconstructs a single photograph taken by his father some seven decades earlier.
TRANSLATING EDWIN HONIG: A Poet’s Alzheimer’s (Director: Alan Berliner)
A transfixing portrayal of a poet as he succumbs to a fading memory, and his patterns of speech give way to new kinds of artistic expression.
TROUBLESOME CREEK: A Midwestern (Directors: Jeanne Jordan, Steven Ascher)
Faced with mounting debts, the Jordan family embraces a radical plan to save their Iowa farm. With husband Steven Ascher, Jeanne Jordan poignantly chronicles the emotional and physical landscape of her parents’ attempt to maintain their way of life.