The 21st annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is April 5-8, bringing both national and international filmmakers, producers, writers, and film lovers to the heart of Downtown Durham. The four-day festival offers indoor and outdoor screenings of nearly 100 films, panel discussions, parties, and social activities from morning until night. A major draw of the festival is its commitment to encouraging a safe and open forum for unfiltered conversation, and there’s no doubt that the role of women in the film industry is sure to be a topic of discussion.
On March 8 (also known as International Women’s Day), the Full Frame team released this year’s film listing to the public, featuring more than 25 films exclusively directed by women. As you plan your film screenings, consider reserving a seat for these eight female-directed films.
In Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat, American film director Sara Driver explores the life of celebrated artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in the 1970s and 80s New York City scene that influenced his career, before his burst of international fame. His story is told through archival footage and intimate stories from a circle of close friends including musician Fab 5 Freddy and film director Jim Jarmusch.
This Is Home: A Refugee Story from filmmaker Alexandra Shiva brings the Syrian refugee crisis to America as it tells the story of four Syrian families in a resettlement program in Baltimore, Maryland as they navigate the challenges of “learning America,” while continuing to process the traumas of war.
Award-winning filmmaker/director Anne de Mare follows three friends traveling to North Carolina to conduct voter protection work at the polls during the 2016 U.S. presidential election in Capturing The Flag. The documentary provides an up-close look at voter suppression tactics in North Carolina, and how volunteers helped voters navigate new laws and requirements that attempted to prevent their votes.
In RBG, directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen gained rare access to the life and career of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, revisiting landmark cases and decisions while revealing the woman behind the robe (and her famed workout routine) and the personal experiences that continue to shape her legacy. The film premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and is sure to cement her role in pop culture.
At this year’s Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey’s stirring acceptance speech for the Cecil B. de Mille Award praised the “Time’s Up” movement against sexual assault. It shone a spotlight on the injustice of the rape case of Recy Taylor, a black woman who was abducted and raped by six white men in Alabama in 1944. Taylor’s rapists were not convicted of the crime, and director Nancy Buirski’s film, The Rape of Recy Taylor centers on her response — a lifelong fight for justice, with the aid of Rosa Parks and other black activists.
Directors Anayansi Prado and Heather Courtney create an intimate and gripping portrait of three DACA students. The documentary captures their work for immigrant rights and the future of their families after being banned from attending Georgia’s top universities or receiving in-state tuition in The Unafraid.
In The Providers, directors Laura Green and Anna Moot-Levin take a focused look at the broken American healthcare system with the example of the El Centro Family Health system in northern New Mexico. The system covers 22,000 square miles and suffers from a chronic shortage of healthcare providers. The film follows three dedicated practitioners in their stressful daily work and private lives.
In the world premiere of The Pushouts from co-directors Katie Galloway and Dawn Valadez, the film follows the transforming work of Dr. Victor Rios, a former gang member, high school dropout and self-described “pushout” due to a socioeconomic system that destined him for failure. He now works to support students through tools for self-reflection and expression in an age of criminalization.
This is just a small sample of the incredible films that will be premiering at this year’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Single tickets are still available.