Full Frame Announces Lineup for Kirsten Johnson Tribute


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

The festival is proud to present the 2016 Full Frame Tribute to cinematographer and director Kirsten Johnson. Full Frame will screen Cameraperson and a selection of Johnson’s films over the course of the four-day event. The lineup also includes a presentation in which Johnson will discuss her work through clips and conversation.

“I am enormously proud to celebrate Kirsten Johnson this year. Her undeniable talent is evident in so many exceptional films of the past few decades, and this Tribute allows us to highlight her incredible body of work,” said Sadie Tillery, Full Frame’s Director of Programming. “Recognizing Kirsten’s impact as a cinematographer also allows us to acknowledge and discuss documentary as a collaborative art form and celebrate the essential role of the artist behind the lens.”

“What a magnificent and juicy thrill to be seen by Full Frame in this way!” said Johnson. “Cameraperson is about trying to find ways to acknowledge how much is going on beyond the edges of the frame in documentary camerawork. Just the name Full Frame says it! It is a very full frame, indeed. Full Frame has always been a part of this collective tradition of searching to understand what happens to us when we are filmed, when we hold cameras, and when we share the pleasure of seeing anew. I can’t wait to share this experience of watching these films again with such an extraordinary group of people in a place where everyone cares so deeply about the past, present, and future of documentary work.”

Kirsten Johnson has worked as an independent documentary cinematographer and director since 1989. She is the principal cinematographer on over 40 feature-length documentaries and has been credited on countless others as “Additional Camera.” Johnson recently directed her third feature-length documentary, Cameraperson, which premiered at Sundance 2016. She also directed The Above, which premiered at the 2015 New York Film Festival as part of The Intercept’s Field of Vision launch, spearheaded by Laura Poitras. Johnson’s collaboration with Poitras is longstanding: Johnson is credited as cinematographer on Poitras’s Oscar®-winning Citizenfour and on Asylum, Poitras’s series about Julien Assange; she shared the 2012 Sundance Cinematography Award with Poitras for The Oath; and she shot footage that appears in Poitras’s spring 2016 solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Johnson is also a longtime collaborator with Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, shooting Outrage, This Film is Not Yet Rated, Derrida, and the Oscar®-nominated The Invisible War. Johnson’s 2004 film Deadline, co-directed with Katy Chevigny, premiered at Sundance, was broadcast on primetime NBC, and won the Thurgood Marshall Award. Her first documentary feature, Innocent Until Proven Guilty, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and was broadcast on HBO. Her cinematography is featured in Fahrenheit 9/11, Sandy McLeod’s Oscar®-nominated short documentary Asylum, Emmy® winners Ladies First and We Came to Testify, Tribeca winner Pray the Devil Back to Hell, and many Sundance premiere documentaries, including A Place at the Table and American Standoff.

Specific screening times and venues will be announced with the release of the full schedule on March 17.    


Full Frame honors the work of Kirsten Johnson. The Full Frame Tribute will be presented at the Awards Barbecue on Sunday.

The Above       Kirsten Johnson
A U.S. military surveillance blimp floats above Kabul, Afghanistan; a camera films the blimp and the people beneath it. This short calls into question what it means to see and be seen.

Cameraperson       Kirsten Johnson
Documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson assembles footage shot over the course of her career in a poetic memoir that explores the ethics of filmmaking and the joys of human connection.

Deadline       Katy Chevigny, Kirsten Johnson
With 60 days left in office, Illinois governor George Ryan decides to commute the sentences of 167 death row inmates. What changed this conservative Republican’s views on capital punishment?

Derrida       Kirby Dick, Amy Ziering
This portrait of the iconoclastic French philosopher Jacques Derrida applies his theories of deconstruction to the film itself, questioning the very notion of biography.

Here One Day       Kathy Leichter
Almost two decades after her mother’s suicide, filmmaker Kathy Leichter delves into a trove of audiotapes recorded by her mother and uncovers candid documentation of her struggles with mental illness.

The Oath       Laura Poitras
The stories of brothers-in-law Abu Jandal and Salim Ahmed Hamdan—Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard and driver, respectively—converge and diverge in ways that shed light on Al Qaeda’s activities and America’s foreign policy.

To See and Be Seen
Through clips and conversation, Kirsten Johnson discusses her role as a documentary cinematographer and details the many creative iterations that ultimately led to Cameraperson and The Above.

Very Semi-Serious: A Partially Thorough Portrait of New Yorker Cartoonists       Leah Wolchok
In this delightful introduction to legends and aspirants of the cartoon world, New Yorkereditor Bob Mankoff reveals how single-panel drawings find their way to the printed page.

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.