Michelle Benham / / 919.433.9802


Festival Passes Available Beginning Tue., Feb. 14 at 11 a.m.

Durham, N.C. – Feb 13, 2017 – The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, one of the world’s most prestigious celebrations of nonfiction cinema, will celebrate its 20th anniversary in Durham, N.C., April 6–9, 2017. Passes go on sale Tue., Feb. 14 at 11 a.m. Full Frame has earned an international reputation as the essential filmmaker’s festival, reflective of the soul, authenticity, diversity and independent spirit of its hometown.

“Our journey for the past two decades tracks closely with the explosion of growth here in Durham and in the world of documentary film,” said Festival Director Deirdre Haj. “Our success, growing from a small, four-day event to a year-round arts leader in Durham and in documentary film circles, would not be possible without the extraordinary support of our city and the filmmakers who showcase their work here. We are eager to celebrate our 20th anniversary with these two special communities who make us the organization that we are.”

This year’s event will feature a special programming change. The festival’s thematic program, typically featuring films addressing a specific area of interest, will be a cinematic look back on 20 years of Full Frame. Curated by Artistic Director Sadie Tillery, the commemorative retrospective will highlight many of the notable films, filmmakers, and special moments that have distinguished Full Frame since it was founded in 1998. Titles for the series will be announced in early March.

“Full Frame has showcased nearly 2,000 documentaries, from prominent titles to films that may never be shown in a North Carolina theater again,” said Tillery. “It’s the chemistry between these works – between the loud and the quiet, the accessible and the bizarre, the new voices and the legends – that continues to inspire me. It is impossible for a single series to encompass all that this festival has embraced and championed over 20 years. I’ve chosen to reflect on films that remain harder to see, that may not have set box office records, but are essential to the Full Frame canon.”

Full Frame is also announcing the recent addition of five new members to its national advisory board, including Leo S. Chiang, Marshall Curry, Bernardo Ruiz, Toby Shimin and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams. Williams, a member of the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, won the Full Frame Audience Award in 2016 for his film, Life, Animated, which is currently nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

“Full Frame has evolved into one of the most important documentary festivals in the world with extraordinary audience engagement, mentorship and education programs,” said Williams. “I’ve had some of my most memorable festival experiences screening my films there, and I am honored to be part of the Full Frame advisory board.”

In addition to the annual line-up of VIP events, ticketed exhibitions, private receptions and outdoor screenings, Full Frame is expanding its reach and impact in the local community by adding new events that are free and open to the public. On Thursday, April 6, the 21c Museum Hotel and Runaway Clothing are hosting an open, late-night Full Frame birthday bash featuring a local DJ. On Sunday, a closing night party at 21c is also open to the public and free to attend.

For information on the 20th Annual Full Frame Film Festival, including festival passes and individual tickets to screenings and parties, please visit

About Full Frame

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is an annual international event dedicated to the theatrical exhibition of nonfiction cinema. Each spring, Full Frame welcomes filmmakers and film lovers from around the world to historic downtown Durham, N.C., for a four-day, morning-to-midnight array of films, as well as discussions, panels, and Southern hospitality. Set within a few city blocks, the intimate festival landscape fosters community and conversation among filmmakers, film professionals, and the general public. The 2016 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival yielded $2,788,650 for Durham’s local economy, and had a local tax impact of $81,890.

The festival is a qualifying event for nominations for the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject and The Producers Guild of America Awards. The milestone 20th Annual festival will showcase nearly 100 documentary features and short films from around the world, some of which will make their World or North American premieres. Festival screenings will be held at multiple locations in downtown Durham, including venues within the iconic Carolina Theatre and the Durham Convention Center.

Serving the local Durham area as well as the documentary film community throughout the year, Full Frame also promotes the festival’s mission by presenting documentary work in the Full Frame Theater and other venues both locally and nationally. Full Frame encompasses education and training opportunities such as the Full Frame Fellows Program, the School of Doc summer program for teenagers, the documentary literacy program Teach the Teachers for local educators, and the annual Youth Screening, drawing hundreds of students and teachers to the Carolina Theatre for an immersive, instructive experience.

The Festival is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies, a nonprofit 501(c)3, and receives support from corporate sponsors, private foundations, and individual donors whose generosity provides the foundation that makes the event possible. To learn more about the mission of Full Frame, scheduled films, festival tickets, or how to support Full Frame, visit

Copyright © 2017 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, All rights reserved.

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Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

320 Blackwell St

Suite 101

Durham, NC 27701