The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is the largest film festival in the United States entirely devoted to documentary film. Originally the DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival, it is an international event dedicated to the theatrical exhibition of non-fiction cinema, held annually since 1998 in downtown Durham, North Carolina. Typically, more than 100 films are screened, along with discussions, panels, and workshops fostering conversation between filmmakers, film professionals and the public. The Full Frame Archive was created in 2007, as a partnership between Duke University and Full Frame. The Full Frame Archive Film Collection comprises preservation masters of documentary films that won awards at the Full Frame Film Festival between 1998 and 2012. Formats include 35mm film, 16mm film, Digital Betacam cassette, HDCAM cassette, Betacam SP cassette, and DVD. In addition, there is a complete set of festival program books. The films vary widely in topic and style, with a predominant emphasis on human rights issues; all of the films deal with social issues in one way or another. The collection is organized chronologically, by festival year, and acquisitions are ongoing.
The Full Frame Archive comprises program material, publicity-related material, and preservation masters of award-winning documentary films at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (formerly DoubleTake) between 1998 and 2017. Film formats include 35mm film, 16mm film, Digital Betacam cassette, HDCAM cassette, Betacam SP cassette, and DVD. In addition, the collection contains festival program books, postcards, movie posters, t-shirts, tote bags, advertisements, newspaper clippings, press releases, and newspaper inserts.
The collection is organized chronologically, by festival year. Each series in the collection includes all acquired award winners from one year and available program material, when available. Each subseries comprises all the elements for one documentary work.
Whenever possible, the film is preserved on 35mm film, a duplicate preservation master especially created for this collection; occasionally, the work was originally filmed on 35mm, but more often it was recorded digitally and then transferred to film for festival screenings and theatrical release. Many films were never transferred to film, and in those cases, the highest quality digital master has been preserved, usually on Digital Betacam cassette, cloned from the master provided by the filmmaker or production company; other digital formats are represented as well.
While all are documentary films, some may also be considered belonging to the genres of biographical nonfiction, ethnographic, ethnic nonfiction and music. Feature, short and animation forms are all represented. The films vary widely in topic and style, with a predominant emphasis on human rights issues. All of the films deal with social issues in one way or another, including topics such as gender; family relations; education; life cycles (childhood, aging, death, etc.); crime and justice; minority groups and discrimination; public health; humanitarian aid; technology and social life; migration; democracy; economic development; war and conflict; peace and healing; art and society; religion; rehabilitation; etc.
Competition for awards has always been international; though the majority of award-winners are from and about the United States, the collection is also notably strong on topics relating to Africa and the Middle East. Only films completed within one year of the festival were eligible for competition, thus all are contemporary to the festival date. The number and type of awards given at the Festival changed from year to year; thus, each year is represented by a different number of films, selected according to varying criteria.
The Full Frame Archive was begun in late 2007 and acquisitions are ongoing. The films are donated by the filmmaker and/or copyright holder. Although the intent is to eventually preserve every Full Frame award winner, this may not be possible, as some copyright holders may decline to donate their work.
These preservation masters are stored in a climate-controlled facility off-site and may not be viewed. For viewing purposes, DVD use copies are available, backed up by a DVD master, also stored off-site.