Full Frame Film Fest: Opening Night

Report by Tom Steadman and photos by Joshua Steadman for CaryCitizen.com

DURHAM, N.C. – Filmgoers, the documentary kind, are busy packing into downtown Durham this weekend, as the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival rolls through its 14th year.

99 Documentaries in a Weekend

This year’s flick fest – 99 documentaries in all – as always centers around the Carolina Theatre and the Durham Convention Center, where large segments of the Triangle arts scene and film community spend four days each year playing top dog.

Opening Night – “The Loving Story”

Fittingly, this year’s festival featured a Friday night “Center Frame” debut piece with a distinctly regional flavor. “The Loving Story” documents the nine-year court battle of Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and black woman who were jailed in 1958 for violating Virginia’s strict anti-miscegenation laws.

“Full Frame is a home-grown effort, and this is a home-grown product,” said Nancy Buirski, who co-produced and directed the film, more than a decade after founding the Full Frame festival itself.

“The Loving Story,” full of pathos and inspiration, especially since the Loving’s 1967 victory at the U.S. Supreme Court put an end to bans against interracial marriage in Virgina and 16 other states, followed Friday night’s opener, “Guilty Pleasures,” a witty look inside the world of Harlequin Romance novels.

This Weekend

The festival continues today (Saturday) with films ranging from “Page One,” a look inside newsprint giant The New York Times, to a documentarian’s look at chess great and notable Baby Boomer looney Bobby Fischer, to “Being Elmo,” a film about the man behind the puppet on “Sesame Street.”

The fun ends Sunday afternoon, when juried films receive awards and unjuried films keep on into the evening in venues that include Durham Center Park outdoors.

Above: The Nee Ningy Band outside Carolina Theater

Top: (L to R) Nancy Buirski, Peggy Loving, Elisabeth Haviland James, Bernie Cohen, Hope Ryden and Walter Dellinger at the Q&A following Center Frame film “The Loving Story.”