Festival unveils new space, free screenings.

Apr. 03, 2013 @ 05:53 PM

The historic American Tobacco Power Plant is getting a facelift as a combination gallery, event space and theater for screening documentaries.

Visitors to this weekend’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will see some of the first screenings in the Power Plant.

Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies and its Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, in partnership with American Tobacco Campus, are teaming up to create the new space. The new Full Frame Theater at the Power Plant will offer the public two free screenings of award-winning films Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 6:30 p.m. (Only the first 100 people to arrive for each screening will be admitted.)

“We’ve put together a top-notch venue to view important documentaries in one of the most unique locations I’ve seen for screenings,” said Deirdre Haj, executive director of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Guests entering the lobby of the theater will see that much of the power plant’s historic structure is still intact, including the four-story furnace. The adjoining boiler room, in addition to the Full Frame Theater, will be available for events. The Power Plant Gallery will showcase photography and other artwork created by Duke students, faculty and others affiliated with the university. Currently on view is the 2013 Thesis Exhibition of the Master of Fine Arts in Experimental and Documentary Arts program at Duke.

“The Power Plant, with the beautiful Full Frame Theater and a wonderful gallery space, will be a vital nexus for the documentary arts in Durham,” says Tom Rankin, director of the Center for Documentary Studies. “The programming and educational opportunities with this new space will further deepen the richness of the arts in Durham and at Duke, by providing a new venue for the Duke community to extend our activities in exciting ways.”

CDS has been working with the team at American Tobacco for more than year to plan and execute the new space, where the Full Frame festival offices also are located.

The free screenings are listed below (synopses courtesy of Full Frame):

-- Friday, 6:30-8 p.m. “Trash Dance,” 2012 Full Frame Audience Award Winner, tells the story of an unusual, creative partnership between a dancer, Allison Orr, and the men and women of the Austin, Texas, Department of Solid Waste Services. In the film, non-dancers contribute to choreographing a public performance based on their daily activities in order to demonstrate what workers and their machines do on the job: common-place movements parsed into ballet.

 -- Saturday, 6, 6:30-8 p.m. In “Chasing Ice,” winner of the 2012 Nicholas School Environmental Award, National Geographic photographer James Balog uses his images as catalyst in his new role as climate change activist. He and his colleagues created the Extreme Ice Survey and installed cameras in remote northern locations to take photos at measured intervals of the glittering, translucent beauty of arctic terrain.