Reflections on Film Fest

The year was 1978. I was a young Radio, TV, and Motion Picture (RTVMP) student at UNC-Chapel Hill determined to make a great film for my film class project.

Using a 16mm Bolex film camera and a cassette recorder, I spent days recording an elderly farmer telling me about his farm. Located on an old stagecoach road, the farm was surrounded by acres of land and great old buildings. It was beautiful, and the farmer enjoyed sharing its rich history with me.

I was thrilled when his daughter brought him to UNC-Chapel Hill to see the finished movie.

It was my first documentary. 




Flash Forward…

For years I have heard about the Full Frame Documentary Festival held in Durham. Every April, people come from all over to spend four days seeing documentaries on a variety of topics. Afterwards, the filmmakers are there to answer questions from the crowd. I don’t know why I never attended before, but when a friend asked me to see a Full Frame movie last year, I decided to join her. I was instantly hooked.











This year when another friend asked me to join her for all four days, I did. We saw 17 documentaries, including Cynthia Hill’s award winning documentary Private Violence. Shown at Sundance and picked up by HBO, this doc won the Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights at Full Frame and continues to win awards elsewhere. I am so proud of Cynthia and all she has accomplished.











We saw other great docs too. Stevie (by Steve James), Rich Hill, Alive Inside, At the Death House Door, and Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq were some of our favorites.

I know 17 movies seems like a lot to see in four days, but we enjoyed every minute of it. I will be doing it again next year. In the meantime, I am feeling pretty inspired to make another documentary of my own. 



Full Frame Documentary Festival www.fullframefest.org

Private Violence www.privateviolence.com  and http://filmguide.sundance.org/film/13959/private_violence

Stevie   www.imdb.com/title/tt0334416

Rich Hill www.richhillfilm.com

Alive Inside www.imdb.com/title/tt2593392

At the Death House Door www.imdb.com/title/tt0929235

Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq www.imdb.com/title/tt2381319


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Donna Mitchell, CEO and President
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