Full Frame Staff

    Deirdre Haj


    Engaging with local business leaders, Deirdre attracted the creation of the Full Frame Theater and its new offices. Deirdre implemented free monthly community screenings, and the “A&E IndieFilms Speakeasy” discussion venue. Full Frame’s #DocsSoWhite discussion series has spawned numerous articles and op-eds. Under her leadership the festival is a PGA-qualifying festival for both long and short form documentary films, as well as an Oscar-qualifying festival for short form documentary.

    She established free education programs in documentary literacy for teachers (Teach the Teachers) and a partnership with PBS’ POV, as well as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences funded “School of Doc”, a free, teen program which diversifies the documentary pipeline. A scholarship for two graduates allows the teens to take a five-week filmmaking intensive at UNC’s School of the Arts, and recently the program expanded to after-school as well.

    She helped found and served as Vice President of the Film Festival Alliance, served on the board of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce and Rotary, and has moderated/participated in panel discussions and juries at multiple universities, festivals and conferences, including IFP Film Week, SXSW, the Twin Cities Film Festival, MSPIFF, the International Documentary Association’s GETTING REAL and others. Since coming to the Twin Cities, she has joined the board of FilMNorth and the advisory board of the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. She has also adjudicated numerous grants at organizations such as the NEA and CPB.

    At Duke, Deirdre devotes part of her time reporting to the Executive Vice President of Business and Public Relations regarding issues surrounding professional film and television production and the university at large.

    Previously, she consulted for such organizations as the Motion Picture Association of America and Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Her first film, the award-winning 2002 broadcast documentary Scene Smoking, was narrated by Sela Ward and starred Sean Penn, Ted Danson, Rob Reiner and other Hollywood leaders about onscreen tobacco use.  She is a member of the IDA, Women in Film, and the Screen Actors Guild, and earned her BFA at Purchase College, SUNY.


    Artistic Director
    Sadie Tillery


    Sadie Tillery is the Artistic Director of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Sadie joined the Programming Department in 2005 and became Director in 2008. In her role, she is responsible for Full Frame’s annual line up of new and retrospective documentary titles, and has collaborated with guest curators including Steve James, Rick Prelinger, Lucy Walker, Ross McElwee, and Sam Pollard.

    Sadie has traveled extensively, representing Full Frame at the Venice, Toronto, and Sundance Film Festivals, along with the International 1001 Documentary Film Festival in Istanbul, CPH:DOX in Copenhagen, and IDFA in Amsterdam. Sadie graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Hollins University, with a degree in Film and Photography. She is from Raleigh, NC, and now lives in Durham with her husband, their daughter, and their two dogs.


    Programming Manager
    Kate Rogers


    Kate Rogers joined Full Frame as Programming Coordinator in October 2016 and is responsible for managing the submission process, the selection committee process, print traffic, and awards juries. She has represented the festival at IDFA and Sundance and serves on Full Frame’s Selection Committee.

    Prior to Full Frame, Kate was the Department Coordinator of Moving Image at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She also co-created and programmed Northern Exposure, a series engaging local audiences with local cinema at the Trylon Cinema in south Minneapolis.

    Kate graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a degree in English and Cinema and Media Studies. She is from Milwaukee, WI.


    Production Co-Director
    Dan Partridge


    danDan Partridge is the Production Co-Director for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. He has served as the Research Associate for The Jazz Loft Project at the Center for Documentary Studies, beginning in 2003.

    From 2000-2002, he was the CDS Exhibitions and Public Programs Assistant. Prior to working at CDS he was the Coordinator and Teaching Assistant for the Sound Shadows program at the Governor Morehead School in Raleigh.


    Production Co-Director
    Lani Simeona

    Lani Simeona is the Production Co-Director for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Lani joined Full Frame’s administration team in 2007 and became Production Co-Director in 2013. As Production Co-Director, she is responsible for managing the box office and ticketing, volunteer coordination and training, VIP transportation, lodging, venue contracts, A/V and projection equipment and staffing, and IT support. Lani has represented the festival at the Art House Convergence, Camden International Film Festival, and Mill Valley Film Festival.

    Prior to Full Frame, she spent 12 years working in training and management for the Walt Disney World Company and Virgin Entertainment Group. She studied film and theater at the University of Central Florida and is a current member of the Cary Theater Programming Committee in North Carolina. Originally from Florida, she now resides in Holly Springs, NC with her husband and two step-daughters.


    Marketing Director
    Michelle Benham

    Michelle Benham is the Marketing Director at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. She is interested in connecting people through storytelling. Michelle founded Longleaf Films in 2015 and produced Faith in Solar, a short film about the phenomenal impact communities of faith are having on the renewable energy fight in North Carolina. She has worked for Discovery Learning Alliance and NASA—where she led comprehensive multimedia strategy and implementation for Operation IceBridge, the largest airborne mission to measure sea and land ice at the Earth’s poles.

    Michelle is on the Board of Directors for the Conservation Leadership in the Caribbean fellowship, an initiative that brings together emerging leaders working in wildlife conservation. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Ecology from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Fine Arts in Film & Electronic Media from the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University in Washington, DC. She is thrilled to live in Durham, NC with her husband, their two children, and their cat, Biscuit.

    Communications Manager

    Christopher Everett

    Christopher Everett is the Communications Manager of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. He is a film director, film producer, social media specialist and graphic artist from Laurinburg, North Carolina. He is a graduate of King’s College in Charlotte, North Carolina with a degree in Graphic Design. Christopher founded Speller Street Films in 2015 in which he produced and directed the award-winning documentary “Wilmington on Fire”. Through various grassroots marketing efforts, the film has gone on to win 4 awards and has screened in 12 film festivals and counting. Christopher and Speller Street Films recently acquired the distribution rights to the 2002 cult classic “As an Act of Protest” in which they are currently remastering with plans on releasing the film on DVD in 2018. Christopher has also consulted various film festivals on social media strategies, community engagement and programming.


    Education Coordinator
    Ashley Solesbee
    Ashley Solesbee is the Education Coordinator at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Ashley is responsible for Full Frame’s “Teach the Teachers” Professional Development program, the School of Doc Summer Program for high school students, and the annual Youth Screening Event at the Carolina Theatre. Ashley is also part of the pilot partnership with PBS’s POV Program, where she will be hosting a webinar on how to successfully integrate documentary film in the classroom.

    Ashley is also a full time middle school teacher specializing in Gifted and Talented Education at Neal Middle School in Durham Public Schools. She began her time with Full Frame in 2014, when she was a participant in the “Teach the Teachers” program. After realizing the transformative power of documentary film by making it a vital part of her own classroom, she began leading “Teach the Teachers” so that she could share her passion for documentary film with educators across Durham Public Schools. In 2017, Ashley began to coordinate all of Full Frame’s Education Programs.


    Senior Development Associate
    Savannah Lennertz

    Savannah Lennertz is the Senior Development Associate for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, where she is responsible for sponsorships, grants, and individual giving. Prior to joining the Full Frame team in 2017, Savannah was the Development and Communications Associate for the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai in New York City. Savannah graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Health Policy and Administration. She is a native New Yorker but now happily calls Durham, NC her home.



    Development Assistant
    Angie Potiny

    Angie Potiny is the Development Assistant for both Full Frame and the Center for Documentary Studies. She is responsible for database management, research, and supporting development efforts between Full Frame and CDS. Prior to working at Full Frame, Angie worked in tech support at UNC Chapel Hill and was a long-time volunteer at the festival.

    Angie received a degree in Communications with a minor in Women’s Studies at UNC-CH. Born and raised in Eastern NC, she now lives in Hillsborough and enjoys exploring the area with her husband and their son.



    Associate Director for Operations and Finance
    Greg Britz

    Finance Business Manager 
    Gail Exum

    Wesley Hogan

    Associate Director for Programs and Development
    Lynn McKnight