Full Frame Archive collection, 1998-2017
Using These Materials
- Collection is open for research. Original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use. Use copies are available in the collection.
- Archive of Documentary Arts (Duke University)
- 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.
- 55.5 Linear Feet
- Material in English, unless otherwise noted
- Collection ID:
- Scope and Content:
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.
- Biographical / Historical:
The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is the largest film festival in the United States entirely devoted to documentary film. An international event dedicated to the theatrical exhibition of non-fiction cinema, the Festival is held annually for four days in the spring 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.
Full Frame's mission, as stated in 2010, is to support the documentary form and community by showcasing the contemporary work of established and emerging filmmakers and by preserving film heritage through archival efforts and continued exhibition of classic documentaries. The organization is also committed to building wider national and international audiences for documentary film and enhancing public understanding and appreciation of the art form and its significance.
Originally named the DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival, it was launched in 1998 under the leadership of Nancy Buirski, in association with the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke University and DoubleTake Magazine, an acclaimed journal published by CDS from 1995-1998. Buirski expressed the Festival's mission that year as "to see documentary films take their rightful place in the pantheon of film festivals and in the hearts of film lovers" (Festival Program 1998). She described its uniqueness as lying "in its focus on film content, its emphasis on issues that matter, and its ability to reach out to the community and act as a bridge to its concerns" (ibid.)
DoubleTake Magazine ceased to be associated with the festival after 1999, and from 2000 on, the Festival was presented by Documentary Arts, Inc. (a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Nancy Buirski and later renamed Doc Arts, Inc.), in association with the CDS. The festival was renamed "Full Frame Documentary Film Festival" for the 2002 festival. Duke University withdrew as a presenting sponsor from 2003 through 2005. The New York Times joined as a presenting sponsor from 2003 through 2008 festival. From 2006 to 2010, Duke University returned as presenting sponsor. In the fall of 2010, Full Frame became once again a program of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. The festival also receives support from a large number of corporate sponsors, private foundations and individual donors.
Each year, a series or thematic program is foregrounded, curated by established filmmakers. In addition, there has usually been one or two "sidebar" series presented, one of which focuses on the American South. The bulk of the programming, however, has always been devoted to new documentaries in competition; a selection committee consisting of local volunteer professionals chooses a few dozen films for screening, considering original content and technical proficiency primarily, from a pool of 100 to 1000 submissions from filmmakers from around the world. Several awards are then given at the conclusion of the Festival; the Grand Jury and Audience Awards have been awarded every year, and additional awards have been added from year to year. These award-winning films comprise the Full Frame Archive's collection.
In 2007, Duke University Libraries and Full Frame announced the creation of the Full Frame Archive, to be housed in Duke's David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, to acquire, archive and preserve copies of all of the Festival's award-winning films, with support from Eastman Kodak and Alpha Cine Labs, Seattle.
Chronology List Date Event 1998 April 2-5 The first DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival was held at The Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham, the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Omni Hotel. There were twenty-eight films screened in competition, selected from a pool of 107 submissions; films by Richard Kotuk, Jan Krawitz, Jonathan Stack, and Liz Garbus won the first set of DoubleTake Awards. 1999 April 8-11 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre and the Civic Center. Twenty-eight films were screened in competition, selected from over 300 submissions; films by Dariusz Jablonski, Frieda Lee Mock, Terry Sanders, and Elisabeth Leuvrey took the top honors. 2000 April 6-9 Festival was held at the Caroline Theatre and the Civic Center. There were 425 films submitted for competition. Jean-Stephane Bron, Edward Rosenstein, Linda Duvoisin, and Eugene Richards earned awards for their films. 2001 May 3-6 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, the Durham Arts Council and the Marriott Hotel. "A record number of submissions for competition were received, 530, from which 57 were selected for screening; award-winning filmmakers included Marie de Laubier, Jem Cohen, Peter Sillen, Stephen Ives, and Rohan Sen. 2002 April 4-7 The renamed Full Frame Documentary Film Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, the Durham Arts Council and the Marriott Hotel. Sixty-seven films were presented in competition, selected from 600 submissions. Films by Davis Guggenheim, Steven Silver, and Nilesh Patel were among the award winners. 2003 April 10-13 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, the Durham Arts Council and the Armory. Award-winning filmmakers this year included Nicolas Philibert, Jesse Moss, and Emily James. 2004 April 1-4 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Arts Council's PSI Theatre, the Armory, with special events held at various offsite venues. Sixty-six films were chosen for competition, from over 700 submissions. Award winners included Jehane Noujaim, Ross Kaufman, Zana Briski, and Melba Williams. 2005 April 7-10 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, the Armory, the American Tobacco Campus, and Durham Arts Council. From more than 930 submissions, 77 films were selected for competition, and films by Henry Alex Rubin, Dana Adam Shapiro, Leonard Retel Helmrich, Alessandro Cassigoli, and Dalia Castel were among a growing roster of award winners. 2006 April 6-9 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Arts Council, the Civic Center Theatre and American Tobacco Campus. Seventy-two films were selected from 1100 submissions for competition; award winners included James Longley, Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg, and Laura Paglin. Over 20,000 tickets were sold. The Full Frame Institute was created to emphasize year-round curated programs and mentorships. 2007 April 12-15 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Civic Center, American Tobacco Campus and Durham Arts Council, plus assorted Non-Theatrical Venues sponsored by the City of Durham. In commemoration of the Festival's tenth year, aA special thematic program "The Power of Ten," presented ten films selected by "ten of the artists who make up the Full Frame family" (Buirski, introduction to the thematic program) in commemoration of the tenth year of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. From over 1100 submissions, 82 were selected for competition; films by Pernille Rose Grønkjær, Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine, and Ben Wu were among the award winners. Nancy Buirski resigned/retired as Full Frame CEO and Artistic Director after this festival. 2008 April 3-6 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Civic Center, Durham School of the Arts, and Durham Arts Council, as well as various non-theatrical venues sponsored by the City of Durham Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Award winners included films by Carl Deal, Tia Lessin, Jams Marsh, and Eva Weber. The Full Frame Archive was announced. 2009 April 2-5 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Convention Center and Durham Arts Council as well as various non-theatrical venues. Fifty-nine films were screened for competition; winners included films by Anders Østergaard, Aron Gaudet, and Andreas Koefoed. 2010 April 8-11 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Convention Center, Durham Arts Council, and Durham Central Park (free outdoor screenings were offered for the first time). This was the first festival under the leadership of executive director Dierdre Haj. From 1,200 submissions, 57 new films were selected for competition. Award-winning films included those by Rob Lemkin, Thet Sambath, Lucy Walker and Elham Asadi. 2011 April 14-17 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Convention Center, Durham Arts Council, and Durham Central Park. From over 1,200 submissions, 66 new films were selected for competition. Award-winning films included those by Cindy Meehl, Grover Babcock, Blue Hadaegh, and Rodrigo Dorfman. This was the first year that Full Frame was once again under the auspices of the Center for Documentary Studies and Duke University. 2012 April 12-15 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Convention Center, Durham Arts Council, and Durham Central Park. From over 1,200 submissions, 57 new films were selected for competition. Award-winning films included those by Andrew Garrison, Fernand Melgar, and Mira Jargil. 2013 April 4-7 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Convention Center, Durham Arts Council, and Durham Central Park. 2014 April 3-6 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Convention Center, Durham Arts Council, and Durham Central Park. 2015 April 9-12 Festival was held at the Carolina Theatre, Durham Convention Center, Durham Arts Council, and Durham Central Park. 2016 April 7-10 2017 April 6-9
- Acquisition Information:
- The Full Frame Archive Collection was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a gift between 2007 and 2017. Acquisitions are ongoing.
- Processing information:
Processed by Kirston Johnson and Tanya Lee, May 2010
Encoded by Kirston Johnson and Tanya Lee, May 2010
Updated by David Romine and Meghan Lyon, November 2017
Arranged by year of festival, then by film and material.
- Rules or Conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.
Documentary films -- Awards
Documentary films -- Middle East
Education in motion pictures
Documentary films -- Social aspects
Documentary films -- Production and direction
Documentary films -- Africa
Documentary films -- United States
Film festivals -- North Carolina
Criminal justice, Administration of
Art and society
Film festivals -- Awards
Film festivals -- Programs
Documentary films -- History and criticism
Documentary films -- Political aspects
Peace -- Social aspects
Technology -- Social aspects
Film festivals -- United States
Human rights in motion pictures
Life cycle, Human
Motion picture producers and directors
Celebrations -- Durham (N.C.)
Digital Betacam (TM)
Documentaries (motion picture genre)
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Archive of Documentary Arts (Duke University)
Duke University. Center for Documentary Studies. DoubleTake
Using These Materials
Collection is open for research.
Original audiovisual materials are closed to patron use. Use copies are available in the collection.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
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- PREFERRED CITATION:
[Identification of item], Full Frame Archive, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University