Full Frame Announces Lineup for 2016 Thematic Program “Perfect and Otherwise: Documenting American Politics” Curated by Filmmaker R.J. Cutler


    Durham, N.C. – March 16, 2016 – The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival has announced its list of Full Frame Thematic Program films.

    The Thematic Program “Perfect and Otherwise: Documenting American Politics,” curated by Emmy Award winning filmmaker R.J. Cutler (The War Room, A Perfect Candidate, The World According to Dick Cheney) will focus on the inherent drama of the American electoral system. The lineup features 13 selections, two shorts and 11 features, that span more than 50 years of filmmaking.

    “I have admired R.J.’s talent and intelligence as a filmmaker for many years,” states Festival Director Deirdre Haj. “We at Full Frame have been waiting for the enormous stage of a presidential election to call upon his expertise to curate such a slate of films. We cannot wait to rediscover these movies screened against the backdrop of one of the most interesting election years in recent memory.”

    “The Thematic Program has always been one of my favorite parts of the Full Frame experience, so I’m both excited and honored to be curating it this year,” said Cutler. “Especially in an election year where all the rules seem to have gone out the window, it’s fascinating to watch these films and see how the more things change in American politics, the more they also remain the same. Together these films represent not only a fascinating perspective on the electoral process, but a thrilling history of the last fifty years of documentary filmmaking.”

    R.J. Cutler is an American filmmaker and television producer. Most recently Cutler produced the Showtime documentary feature Listen to Me Marlon (directed by Stevan Riley and nominated for a BAFTA for Best Documentary) and directed the narrative feature If I Stay (starring Chloe Grace Moretz). Cutler’s other work includes the documentary films The War Room, A Perfect Candidate, Thin, The September Issue, and The World According to Dick Cheney; the documentary television series American High, Freshman Diaries, The Residents, and 30 Days; and the primetime drama series Nashville. Cutler began his career as a theater director, directing such world premieres as Kevin Heelan’s Right Behind the Flag (starring Kevin Spacey), Jonathan Larson’s Superbia, and Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman’s The Secret Garden. Cutler’s first film, The War Room, was nominated for an Academy Award, and he is the recipient of numerous awards including an Emmy, a Peabody Award, a GLAAD Award, two Cinema Eye Awards, and two Television Academy Honor Awards. In 2009, the Museum of Television and Radio held a four-day retrospective of his work.

    Other filmmakers who have curated the Full Frame Thematic Program include Oscar nominees Amir Bar Lev, Lucy Walker, Julia Reichert, and Steven Bognar. Specific screening times and venues will be announced with the release of the full schedule on March 17.


    R.J. Cutler presents a series of films focusing on the inherent drama of the American electoral system.

    America Is Hard to See       Emile de Antonio
    An examination of Senator Eugene McCarthy’s dramatic and unsuccessful 1969 presidential campaign, constructed from interviews with the candidate and thousands of feet of newsreel.

    Campaign Manager       Richard Leacock, Noel E. Parmentel Jr.
    This brief portrait follows 28-year-old campaign manager John Grenier as he maps out strategies for Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential run and engineers a takeover of the Republican convention.

    Caucus       AJ Schnack
    In 2012, eight unorthodox GOP candidates navigate the Iowa caucuses—an endless series of public events and uncomfortable questions—in hopes of securing their party’s nomination and running against Barack Obama.

    Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed       Shola Lynch
    A powerful look at Shirley Chisholm’s pioneering, grassroots campaign for president: The first African American woman to run for the office is considered through the recollections of many, including the candidate herself.

    Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment       Robert Drew
    This in-depth look at the University of Alabama’s integration crisis chronicles key decisions from multiple perspectives, including those of Governor George Wallace and President John F. Kennedy.

    Jingle Bells       DA Pennebaker
    This short film trails New York Senate hopeful Robert Kennedy as he makes a public appearance at a New York City children’s school at Christmas time.

    Medium Cool       Haskell Wexler
    This daring narrative, set against the backdrop of the riots surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention, unpacks the moral obligations of bearing witness through the story of a news cameraman and his relationship with a single mother.

    Our Brand Is Crisis       Rachel Boynton
    American political strategists from the firm Greenberg Carville Shrum travel south to advise on marketing tactics for Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada’s campaign for president of Bolivia.

    A Perfect Candidate       R.J. Cutler, David Van Taylor
    Campaign strategists, and an acutely aware journalist, take center stage in this document of the volatile 1994 Virginia senatorial race between Oliver North and Charles Robb.

    Primary       Robert Drew
    This groundbreaking film captures the 1960 Wisconsin primary as John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey go head-to-head in a battle for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

    Taking On the Kennedys       Joshua Seftel
    In his first race for public office, Rhode Island doctor Kevin Vigilante finds himself running a congressional campaign against Ted Kennedy’s youngest son.

    The War Room       Chris Hegedus, DA Pennebaker
    This utterly captivating classic follows James Carville and George Stephanopoulos as they plot, react, and attack to ensure Arkansas governor Bill Clinton is elected president.

    With God On Our Side: Prophets and Advisors       David Van Taylor
    This episode of the comprehensive six-hour series With God On Our Side explores the rise of Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and its influence during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

    Click here to read the complete conversation between R.J. Cutler and Director of Programming Sadie Tillery.

    The 19th Annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will be held April 7-10, 2016, in Durham, N.C., with Duke University as the presenting sponsor. The complete schedule of films will be announced on March 17. Individual tickets go on sale April 1, and can be purchased online at http://www.fullframefest.org.