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Full Frame Documentary Festival Returns to its Roots
Sep 1, 2010

Duke University and FFDFM formally join forces

DURHAM, N.C.--For the average movie-goer, the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will continue to be a four-day event where the latest and best nonfiction cinema from around the world will be shown each spring. In 2011, that means nearly 100 films, chosen from about 1,200 submissions, will be aired in downtown Durham from April 14 to 17.

Behind the scenes, the organizational structure for Full Frame will formally shift, with the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University providing an institutional home for the festival. Full Frame will continue to operate out of its offices at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham with the same mission, staff and budget.

"While our connection to Full Frame goes back to its origins, we're looking forward to working even more closely with the festival as we move ahead with exciting plans for year-round programming and other joint projects," said CDS director Tom Rankin.

Duke President Richard H. Brodhead noted that the university and Full Frame "have been partners since the very beginning of the festival.  By broadening and deepening our relationship, the documentary arts will play an even greater role in the intellectual life of the university, and will bring that same vibrancy to the loyal and devoted fans of the leading documentary film festival in the country."

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival started in 1998 as the DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival, a project of the CDS. Five years later, the festival took a new name (Full Frame) and began operating as an independent nonprofit, a result of its tremendous growth and success.

Even after the change to nonprofit status, CDS continued its close association with the festival, and Duke became a lead sponsor. As Full Frame's submissions and audiences grew, these affiliations developed further, to the extent that bringing the festival more formally into the overall organization of the CDS "made sense in order to take advantage of shared goals and long-term missions," Rankin said.

"After the festival's most successful season in recent history, it is a thrill to return Full Frame to its roots," said Deirdre Haj, executive director of Full Frame. "At the same time, our future depends as much as ever on the support of filmmakers, audiences, funders and the local community as we move forward."

In addition to getting to view top international films, festival-goers get to enjoy the presence and accessibility of top filmmakers, Rankin said. Over the years, that has included D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus, Steven Soderbergh, Ken Burns, Rory Kennedy, Liz Garbus, Jehane Noujaim, Steve James, Ross McElwee, Laura Poitras, George Stoney, Barbara Kopple, Marco Williams, Judith Helfand, Werner Herzog and Mira Nair.

Submissions for the 2011 Full Frame Festival are currently being accepted (go to for details).

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