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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cucalorus Film Festival call for entries

Posted by on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 1:47 PM

This excellent Wilmington festival runs Nov. 11-15, 2009. We'll be there.

You can be there, too—as a filmmaker. The festival issued a call for entries, the text of which is after the jump.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kathy Griffin show at DPAC postponed

Posted by on Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 3:47 PM

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The acid-tongued comedian has strep throat, according to her Web site, forcing the cancellation of three shows this week, including her gig Thursday, April 23, at Durham Performing Arts Center. 

No confirmation yet from officials at DPAC.

UPDATE 3:59 p.m.: DPAC confirms the cancellation and says the show will be rescheduled.

UPDATE Thursday, April 23: Word comes from DPAC that Griffin's performance has been rescheduled for Friday, October 16, at 8 p.m.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

The Full Frame interviews: Steve James

Posted by on Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 9:12 AM

Watch an interview with Hoop Dreams Director Steve James at the 2009 Full Frame Film Festival in Durham, NC, where James curated a sidebar of documentary films entitled The Sporting Life.

Hoop Dreams was revolutionary both in terms of scope and due to its immense popularity. In fact, when the film failed to gain a nomination for best feature documentary at the Academy Awards, a public outcry ensued and the selection process was modified thereafter. In 2007, the International Documentary Association named Hoop Dreams the No. 1 documentary in film history.

Read more from Rob Harrington's interview with Steve James prior to the festival.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Full Frame interviews: Joel Salatin from Food, Inc.

Posted by on Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 2:17 PM

Watch an interview with farmer and prominent food advocate Joel Salatin at the 2009 Full Frame Film Festival in Durham, N.C., where Robert Kenner's documentary, Food, Inc., was screened and featured Salatin's sustainable practices at his Ployface Farm in Virginia.

Ultimately, how a society raises and distributes its food is the clearest manifestation of that culture's values, a point upon which Salatin reflected in the film, igniting the packed theater into roaring applause during last week's screening:

"A culture that just views a pig as a pile of protoplasmic, inanimate structure to be manipulated by whatever creative design the human can foist on that critter will probably view individuals within its community and other cultures within the community of nations with the same type of distain and disrespect and controlling-type mentality."

Read more of Suzanne Nelson's review of Food Inc. and interview with Director Robert Kenner.

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The Full Frame interviews: Wavy Gravy and Michelle Esrick

Posted by on Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 11:02 AM

Watch a short interview with hippie icon and ice cream flavor Wavy Gravy and Michelle Esrick, director of Saint Misbehavin' The Wavy Gravy Movie, following the film's screening at  the 2009 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C.

Satirist Paul Krasner describes Wavy as the "illegitimate son of Harpo Marx and Mother Theresa, conceived one starry night on a spiritual whoopie cushion," to which Wavy has replied, "Some people tell me I'm a saint, I tell them I'm Saint Misbehavin'."

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Monday, April 6, 2009

William Gates: 'This is your NCAA Tournament'

Posted by on Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 10:46 AM

William Gates, the subject of Steve James' genre-defining basketball documentary HOOP DREAMS, told a panel of filmmakers that attending this year's Full Frame Film Festival (his first, by his count, and just the fifth time he had watched the film) "reminded me of how I pursued the game of basketball-- I wanted to be the best at it."

Indeed, seated with Gates were among the best filmmakers in their league: Barbara Kopple (HARLAN COUNTY USA, FALLEN CHAMP), George Butler (PUMPING IRON, THE GOOD FIGHT) and Steve James (HOOP DREAMS), along with two promising new players in Arturo Cabanas (MAN UP) and Andrew Lang (SONS OF CUBA). James had organized the panel in culmination of this year's excellent sports film series, "This Sporting Life." But aside from the amount of talent gathered in close proximity on the Durham Arts Council stage, the truly remarkable event was Gates' recounting of the impact of being on the other end of the camera.

"He we are, 20 years later ... and I'm sitting here talking about HOOP DREAMS," Gates said. (The film was released in 1994, but began filming five years earlier.) "That's what documentaries do."

It wasn't always so easy: Gates said that after the film was released, his high school shunned him, his teammates "must have hated" him for the attention, and the NCAA revoked his and Arthur Agee's athletic scholarships for becoming "professionals."

"They said we were professional athletes because they thought HOOP DREAMS was going to make money," he said. "Imagine that: documentaries making money."

Now, Gates said, his high school uses HOOP DREAMS for recruiting, and though he never achieved NBA fame, he uses the film as "bragging rights around the house" to tell his son that he is in the upper echelon of athletes like Michael Jordan with films dedicated to them. Many NBA stars, in turn, cite the film as an early inspiration to pursue basketball. And, perhaps most important, Gates said that the film allowed him to "always have" the voice of his brother, who encouraged him to become a great player, and was killed in 2001.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

And the winners are...

Posted by on Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 7:22 PM

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BURMA VJ--the story of underground reporters who risked their lives to capture video images of a military crackdown in Burma--cleaned up at this year's festival, picking up a total of three awards, including the Grand Jury Award. THE WAY WE GET BY, UNMISTAKEN CHILD, VOICES FROM EL-SAYED, LOVE ON DELIVERY and the shorts OIL BLUE and 12 NOTES DOWN also took home awards. The full list, including honorable mentions, after the jump.

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Full Frame Day 4: Sunday morning bliss

Posted by on Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 10:31 AM

LEAVENWORTH, WA screens this morning on a bill with PINUCCIO LOVERO.
  • LEAVENWORTH, WA screens this morning on a bill with PINUCCIO LOVERO.

When you've had a really good Saturday night—and didn't drink too much—you can open your eyes to a sunny spring morning and think about the marvelous things you've done and be grateful that one more day of adventure awaits you this weekend. Yesterday's day of outstanding docs was capped last night—for those who care—by a closing night party, an NCAA semifinal victory by UNC, a playoff-clinching win by the Carolina Hurricanes and an Orlando Bloom sighting. 

We've been shooting a few video interviews this weekend and hope to have them posted soon. In the meantime, there's one more block of new films this morning, including OBLIVION, a Dutch filmmaker's study of her birthplace of Lima, Peru; WILLIAM KUNSTLER: DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE, a study of the renowned champion of unpopular defendants; and PINUCCIO LOVERO, a film from Italy that sketches an aspiring cemetery attendant. 

The awards barbecue runs from 1-3 p.m., and the re-screening schedule will be announced immediately afterward. 

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Don't compare Vogue magazine to Bronx Bombers

Posted by on Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 1:20 AM

Vogue creative director Grace Coddington, SEPTEMBER ISSUE director R.J. Cutler and Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley speak at a pre-show press conference.
  • Vogue creative director Grace Coddington, SEPTEMBER ISSUE director R.J. Cutler and Vogue editor-at-large Andre Leon Talley speak at a pre-show press conference.

I doubt Andre Leon Talley will take in a Durham Bulls game on future trips to the Triangle. One, the Bulls are seriously lacking in Louis Vuitton fan gear, and two, the larger than life editor-at-large of Vogue magazine took serious exception to SEPTEMBER ISSUE director R.J. Cutler's comparison of the magazine's superstar line-up of  fashion editors to the Babe Ruth-era of the New York Yankees.

ALT (who is fabulous enough to rate an acronym) cried out "Who are the Bronx Bombers?" and indignantly denied any similarities to that Hall of Fame team. After all, Vogue, and subsequently the SEPTEMBER ISSUE, is about stilettos and couture, not steroids and curve balls.

Talley, who took up tennis only for the fun of buying a Louis Vuitton tennis racket case, water bottle trunk and towel, wore a tan alligator coat and large black plastic aviator-style sunglasses to the screening, toting a bulging Louis Vuitton planner. He was joined by Vogue creative director Grace Coddington, whose shock of red hair matched her crimson nails and blinged-out cross necklace sparkled from across the room, to talk about the documentary. The film, which not even all of the Vogue editors have seen yet, follows Talley, Coddington, editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and the rest of her staff during the nine-month process it takes to execute the magazine's ad-heavy September issue.

Talley, a Durham native and N.C. Central University grad, said it was both exciting and unsettling to show the film in his hometown and at a theater he frequented as a boy. Growing up under the shadows of Jim Crow, ALT was relegated to the Carolina Theatre's balcony when he came to watch movies like DRACULA with his uncle. But despite his success, international connections and bittersweet memories, ALT said he visits the Bull City often, and he even hopes to move back and be "an old man sitting on his front porch."

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After the show, Cutler declared the Full Frame screening to be the best yet, noting the audience recognized the film's humor better than any other audience. But although Cutler may have logged the night's most understated sound bite ("Anna [Wintour] has opinions"), Talley was full of juicy insight on the infamous fashion editrix herself:

  • "I don't think [Wintour] is scared of anyone but herself."
  • Wintour invited Talley to her wedding--along with all of her ex-boyfriends--and even had him hold her bouquet.
  • "[Wintour] has no time to suffer fools and be charming."


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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Three movie stars walk into a bar in Durham

Posted by on Sat, Apr 4, 2009 at 10:51 PM

Intrepid Indy culture editor/Full Frame blogger/celebrity spotter David Fellerath reports that Orlando Bloom, Colin Firth and Patricia Clarkson are enjoying a few drinks together at the Durham Marriott. The three actors will star in the film project known as Main Street, which is set to begin production in Durham after the festival.

We've got the tweet.


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