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Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2011 - badgerblog
April 17th, 2011
10:40 am


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Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2011

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2011

Short remarks on the films I saw. For better coverage with a little overlap, see Film Babble.


At the Edge of Russia [1] - A new soldier on his first assignment to the Russian border. It doesn't spend much time on the huge featureless vistas of snow, which is a good choice, but focuses on the social dynamics of five careerists who've been there a very long time and the new guy and how they adapt to each other.

Steps to Eternity - A twenty-seven minute short film of an elderly Jewish man struggling his way out of his apartment and down the street to prayer. That may sound interminable, but it was brilliantly done. As it was a short, ran in double feature with the next film

Test Site - The southwest American desert and fourteen people who live there, and what they do, and how they relate to the desert. Retired folksingers, ravers, Area 51 alien watchers, something of a collection of kooks. Mildly and variably interesting.


Raw Material - Indigestible? - Rick Prelinger of a large film archive site led a talk about the moral, legal, and ethical problems of releasing footage for use, mostly focusing on home movies. For example, he showed home film footage of a KKKlan group marching in a small town in Pennsylvania's parade in the 1930s. He kept saying that on the one hand he doesn't want to restrict peoples' use, but on the other hand, he wants to know what people are going to use the footage for before he approves its release. For example, he wouldn't want the above-mentioned footage used in a documentary about the Klan in Alabama without the above-mentioned footage being clearly marked as Pennsylvania. (I hope the above is an accurate description of his position as stated.) So interesting clips, very limited discussion (Prelinger welcomed discussion but there was little audience participation) and limited value past seeing these clips that in several cases have never been screened anywhere else.

The Devil Came on Horseback - 2007 documentary I'd missed then on the genocide occurring in Darfur. Excellent but brutal.

Cure For Pain: The Mark Sandman Story - Biopic of the bassplayer Mark Sandman who led the band Morphine. Great movie. Good recordings. Afterward I discussed the use of interview footage with a critic friend who was surprised some of the television interview footage looked like third-generation VHS copies, when the producer could potentially have gained access to the original studio archives of those same MTV interviews, for example. I guessed that might have been a conscious choice as the band Morphine was never that pristine in the first place, and they didn't need the perfect video throughout. Should have asked the director - he was there, but I was too furious at the iPad-wielding idiot to stay for the Q&A.


The Universal Language - Documentary on Esperanto and the founder manufacturing a worldwide community out of essentially nothing. Mentioned the William Shatner-starring horror movie Incubus because it's entirely in Esperanto with English and other subtitles, but mentioned because not only is it a terrible movie (it is, I've seen it) but the Esperanto pronunciation is terrible as well.

Unlikely Treasures - Collectors. Not hoarders, but collectors, although several of them acknowledge they can see "hoarder" from where they are. Nice mention of the Elsewhere art project collective in nearby Greensboro.

Page One - The New York Times and the decline of print media and the rise of non-traditional media. Better and more engaging than I thought it was going to be. This will have a distribution release (it's Magnolia Pictures) so I recommend seeing it when it comes around to your area, if you care at all about print journalism. Well done.


Not going back today.

[1] http://www.dokweb.net/en/documentary-network/east-european-docs/at-the-edge-of-russia-4528/
[2] http://www.fullframefest.org/more_film_info.php?id=3984

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(2 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:April 20th, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
I really wanted to see the kudzu one.
[User Picture]
Date:April 20th, 2011 01:37 am (UTC)
I didn't get to that one either. I should see if it might end up with a DVD or distribution release.
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