Full Frame Documentary Film Festival opens Thursday, and several new films will premiere for the hundreds of filmmakers and fans of documentaries. Among them is “Tough Love” by filmmaker Stephanie Wang-Breal, whose previous feature documentary, “I Love You, Mommy,” was nominated for an Emmy Award.
The Herald-Sun spoke with Wang-Breal by phone from New York before she arrived in Durham for the screening at Full Frame this week. She made “Tough Love” because of questions at screenings for “I Love You, Mommy,” which was about Chinese adoption. Viewers asked Wang-Breal to look at domestic adoption from foster care and how hard it is to adopt from foster care. She found that a lot of foster parents didn’t want her to talk to birth parents, but it ended up being birth parents and the child welfare system that Wang-Breal focused on for “Tough Love.”
Fifty years after 700 college students from across the country joined African-American organizers to get out the vote in Mississippi, the documentary “Freedom Summer” reflects on that tumultuous time with those who lived through it. The film will screen Saturday during the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in downtown Durham.
Filmmaker Stanley Nelson wrote, directed and produced the documentary film that will premiere on PBS on June 24. It is part of PBS’ American Experience history series. Nelson will participate in a question and answer session after the screening at Full Frame.
Get The Led Out isn’t just another Led Zeppelin tribute band. To see Get The Led Out in concert – and you can at the Durham Performing Arts Center April 6 – is to hear a replication of the iconic band’s recorded work. There are six band members in Get The Led Out versus Led Zeppelin’s four in order to create its overdubbed studio sound.
Paul Sinclair is lead vocals and plays harmonica in Get The Led Out. The band formed in 2003 with musicians from the Philadelphia area. Sinclair had been performing a night of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith in the suburbs, and caught the attention of the new band.
Brenda Goodman’s documentary looks at sex education and changing sexual mores through the lens of educational films. It is equal parts film history and social history. Using archival footage and interviews from people who grew up in different eras, Goodman takes viewers back to the 1920s, to the films of the 1940s and 1950s that attempted to mold young people into good habits, to the sexual explosion of the 1960s and 1970s, to AIDS and the abstinence education movement.
In 2002, Adhemar Ahmad began working on his handmade, illustrated book titled “Hannibal Barca.” Ahmad is a visual artist in New York who also makes his living selling used books on the street.
Filmmaker Ian Phillips met Ahmad while a film student, and began documenting Ahmad’s story, and the story of his book.
Chapel Hill band Clockwork Kids plays electric guitar rock that some have called “psychedelic,” and in another time might have been called “progressive.” Élève, or UNC student Joao Ritter, composes intricate pieces for acoustic guitar that are intriguingly inventive, even hypnotic. Vocal harmonies are central to the sound of Mipso, who write songs in the bluegrass tradition.
The common thread among these musicians is their Southern-ness. All work in the South, and their sound reflects some aspect of traditional and modern Southern music. They and other bands will perform at the second ConvergeNC Southern Music Festival beginning Thursday in Chapel Hill.
“The Hand That Feeds” shows what solidarity can do when a small group of restaurant workers in New York City go from underdog to budding union members. The documentary film will screen April 5 during the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in downtown Durham.
In an era when large unions are in danger and several states have laws that benefit management more than workers, “The Hand That Feeds” shows a new way of unionizing. It begins with a few undocumented workers at New York City’s Upper East Side small fast-food restaurant franchise Hot & Crusty. They want basic workers’ rights like minimum wage, overtime, a safe workplace and sick leave.
“Cymbeline” is a lesser known play by William Shakespeare, though it has the Bard’s elements of romance, violence, mistaken identity, villains and adventure. There’s also a theme of rebellion, which makes staging a production in an unusual space fitting, said Laura Bess Jernigan, who directs Bare Theatre’s minimalist production. “Cymbeline” will be performed in the Cordoba Center for the Arts at the former Golden Belt factory on the east end of downtown Durham. Performances run March 27 through April 12.
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival brings a slate of more than 100 films featuring premieres and invited documentaries, special programming and a few free screenings to downtown Durham April 3-6. Tickets for individual films go on sale March 27. The opening night film is the world premiere of an HBO Documentary Film, “112 Weddings.”
The filmmaker, Doug Block, is also a wedding videographer, something that began as a side job 112 weddings ago. They were events where he recorded “ordinary people on an extraordinary day.” In the film, Block says that of all those weddings he observed, once he sent off the video, he never saw them again. In “112 Weddings,” he follows up with nine of them, seven to 19 years later, and interviews them about marriage.
Missy Raines & the New Hip have achieved a true fusion of American music. “New Frontier,” the band’s latest recording, has well-crafted, sometimes pastoral songs (“Long Way Back Home,” “American Crow”) with beautiful harmonies.
The band also can improvise and solo. Listen to the band performing the composition “Stop, Drop and Wiggle” (on YouTube) and you’ll hear extended guitar and mandolin solos, rhythms that recall rock, funk and jazz, all held up and pushed forward by Raines’ powerful bass playing.
"STREB: Forces!" begins with a loud, thunderous sound as company members violently shake as if the world as they knew it is about to crack open. It did. What took place, in this performance Wednesday at UNC's Memorial Hall, left one feeling awed, astounded, exhilarated -- and exhausted. Talk about engaging the audience on a kinetic level -- this show did it to the max.
Physical feats took us to a galaxy far, far away. There were so many jaw-dropping moments that by the end of the show, my neck felt stiff. Heroes fell face-first from a girder that kept rising so that by the time the last performer, Cassandre Joseph, plummeted, she was falling at 35.3 miles per hour. She landed face-first on a mat and got up as though it was just another day on the job -- a job devised by Extreme Action Architect Elizabeth Streb.
Fresh off its 2014 Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, “Rich Hill” is a film for the top of your list when tickets go on sale March 27 for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Full Frame will be held in downtown Durham April 3-6. In “Rich Hill,” filmmakers Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo, who are cousins, bring audiences into the daily lives of three boys in small-town Missouri.
Rich Hill is the name of the town, population 1,396. “Rich Hill” shares the stories of Andrew, Appachey and Harley. Each lives in poverty and has his own struggles related to circumstance, family and other factors.
Salvo Cuccia’s tribute to composer and guitarist Frank Zappa is really four different stories. In 1982, Zappa and his band traveled to Palermo, Sicily, to perform the last concert on their European tour.
Held in a soccer stadium, the concert happened at the same time as Palermo’s Feast of Saint Rosalia, and during a tense mafia feud. The ensuing tensions spilled over and caused the concert to devolve into a riot.