Save the date! Full Frame returns to downtown Durham April 4–7, 2024

    After a one-year pause, the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will return to Durham in 2024.

    The four-day festival, which routinely draws huge crowds for films and panel discussions, will be presented again at the Carolina Theatre and Durham Convention Center April 4-7.

    “Full Frame is an extraordinary cultural event for Duke, Durham and the broader documentary film community,” said Ed Balleisen, Duke’s vice provost for interdisciplinary studies. “Rest assured: Full Frame will return in 2024 and its impact will only grow in coming years.”

    The festival began in 1998 as the DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival before being renamed in 2002. It was held virtually from 2020 to 2022 due to the pandemic and was then put on hold for 2023 as the Center for Documentary Studies, which oversees Full Frame, undergoes a strategic planning review. For the upcoming year, the festival will be a partnership between CDS and Duke Venues and Performance Management (DVPM), the campus arm that handles planning, ticketing and other logistics for arts and other Duke events.

    “Nothing will change in how festival leadership determines a vision for the event, nor how documentary experts select films,” Balleisen said. “But the festival will mesh more substantially with operations at Duke to leverage logistical expertise and capacity.”

    Duke’s senior leadership is currently reviewing CDS’s organizational framework, informed by the work of a faculty review committee. During that process, Balleisen is fulfilling the responsibilities of the center director.

    “Duke remains committed not only to Full Frame, but to documentary studies, a robust set of  undergraduate classes in this sphere, the certificate program in documentary arts, and CDS,” Balleisen said.

    Full Frame veterans Emily Foster and Sadie Tillery, who have been co-directing the festival since 2021, will continue in that joint leadership role.  Tillery, who stepped down from the role earlier this year, agreed to return to it upon learning of Duke’s plan to revamp the festival’s infrastructure. She will lead programming and operations with DVPM, while Foster, who came to Full Frame in 2019 as marketing director, will lead festival production, development, and other planning with CDS.

    “By the time we get to Full Frame in 2024, it will have been five years since we last held an in-person festival,” Foster said. “Returning to the physical landscape is a big milestone for Durham and the documentary community. We’re committed to maintaining the core values that make Full Frame so special, while also building upon them to create a vision for Full Frame well into the future.”

    The new festival partnership with DVPM will streamline operations and create a more efficient process, Tillery said. The goal is to build on the festival’s long history.

    “Full Frame is regarded as a filmmakers’ festival. I am committed to cultivating the sense of community and intimacy that Full Frame is known for as we return to in-person programming, while celebrating artists and exceptional documentary storytelling,” Tillery said.