Though Full Frame draws filmmakers from around the country, and even the world, it doesn't neglect its home state. Here are a few docs with Tar Heel ties to look for at the festival this year.
THE JAZZ LOFT ACCORDING TO W. EUGENE SMITH (April 7, 10:10 a.m)—From 1957 to 1965, W. Eugene Smith, a former Life magazine photographer who left his job and family, documented the legendary jazz musicians and other cultural figures who dropped by his dilapidated Manhattan loft for nocturnal jam sessions. Directed by Sara Fishko, the film is part of a larger, decade-long project organized by Duke's Center for Documentary Studies.
OFF THE RAILS (April 7, 7:20 p.m.)—Asperger's syndrome and an obsession with New York City transit plagues Darius McCollum, who has been arrested more than thirty times and spent more than twenty years in prison for commandeering New York City trains and buses. McCollum's parents retired to North Carolina, and several minutes of this world premiere show McCollum visiting his mother in Winston-Salem.
A HOUSE WITHOUT SNAKES (April 8, 1 p.m.)—Directed by Elon University alumnus Daniel Koehler, this world-premiere short features two young Bushman in Botswana forced to find their futures against the backdrop of upheaval in their homeland.
TWO TRAINS RUNNIN' (April 8, 8 p.m.)—In this much-anticipated world premiere, two groups of young white men search for two seminal blues musicians in 1964 Mississippi. The doc features animation, with performances by Gary Clark Jr. and Lucinda Williams. Producer Benjamin Hedin lives in Durham, and director Sam Pollard sits on the Full Frame Advisory Board; both will be present for a post-screening discussion.
I, DESTINI (April 9, 10:10 a.m.)—This animated, autobiographical short from filmmaker Nicholas Pilarski, a former Duke graduate student, in collaboration with Durham teen Destini Riley, explores the illustrations of a young woman coping with the incarceration of a loved one. Durham's Southern Documentary Fund assisted with the project.
RAISING BERTIE (April 9, 4:30 p.m.)—This six-year coming-of-age portrait revolves around three young African-American men in rural Bertie County, North Carolina, as they navigate poverty, prejudice, unemployment, and family. The film, a world premiere, was aided by the Southern Documentary Fund and produced through the renowned Kartemquin Films. Director Margaret Byrne also worked on American Promise, which won a Full Frame Grand Jury Prize.
This article appeared in print with the headline "North Carolina in Focus."