Full Frame Celebrates Filmmakers Nancy Buirski and D. A. Pennebaker with the 2024 Tribute



    Press Contact: Emily Foster, Co-Festival Director 




    Full Frame Celebrates Filmmakers Nancy Buirski and D. A. Pennebaker with the 2024 Tribute


    Durham, N.C. – Wednesday, March 13, 2024 – The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will celebrate filmmakers Nancy Buirski and D. A. Pennebaker with the 2024 Full Frame Tribute. 

    Full Frame will screen a selection of Buirski’s and Pennebaker’s films at the four-day festival. An event where friends, colleagues, and fellow filmmakers remember Buirski’s visionary artistry will take place in Fletcher Hall. The festival will also a feature a panel conversation around Pennebaker’s legacy as a pioneer of cinéma vérité and a mentor to numerous filmmakers. 

    “Remembering Nancy and Penny, I cannot think of two people who are more responsible for shaping Full Frame as a cultural institution,” said co-festival director and artistic director Sadie Tillery. “Over the years, they shared their films, their passion for the craft of filmmaking, their knowledge of the documentary form, and their profound desire to hold space for meaningful dialogue and connection. Full Frame would not be Full Frame without them, and it means the world to me to highlight their invaluable contributions this year.” 

    Nancy Buirski founded Full Frame as the DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival in 1998. After a decade leading the festival, she turned to filmmaking, directing a remarkable canon of documentary films including, The Loving StoryBy Sidney Lumet, and Desperate Souls, Dark City, and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy

    Her works have premiered at prestigious festivals, with notable awards and nominations, including two Critics Choice Awards. Buirski’s first film The Loving Story received Peabody and Emmy Awards, and was shortlisted for an Oscar. She was a Special Advisor to the Academy Award-winning documentary Summer of Soul. Prior to founding Full Frame, Buirski was the Foreign Picture Editor at the New York Times and an Editor at Magnum Photo.

    “There is no more fitting place to honor the remarkable legacy of our cherished friend and collaborator, Nancy Buirski,” said Buirski’s longtime collaborator and producer Susan Margolin. “Nancy dedicated years of her life to the festival and its core values and mission. She played a key role in advancing the careers of many talented filmmakers who went on to have storied careers. As an artist and filmmaker, she had a profound influence on so many. We deeply appreciate the festival for recognizing her magnificent contributions to the field in such a special manner, and for presenting the opportunity for us all to come together, from near and far, to celebrate her life and her brilliant body of work.”

    Groundbreaking filmmaker and longtime Full Frame advisory board member, D. A. Pennebaker frequently attended the festival. His presence, and approachability, was a Full Frame mainstay.

    Pennebaker revolutionized the industry in the early sixties with a portable 16mm synchronized camera and sound system. His debut, the 1953 short Daybreak Express, led to his involvement with Drew Associates, contributing to the acclaimed “Living Camera” series. In 1967, he released the seminal documentary Dont Look Back, capturing Bob Dylan’s acoustic tour. Pennebaker continued to shape the music documentary genre with Monterey PopKeep On Rockin’, and Sweet Toronto. He often collaborated with his wife, filmmaker Chris Hegedus. Together they co-directed notable films, including the Academy Award nominated feature The War Room. Their diverse works include Moon Over BroadwayDepeche Mode 101, and Kings of Pastry. He received numerous accolades throughout his career, including a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award.            

    “I am thrilled that Full Frame is back and grateful that the festival is honoring both my dear friend Nancy Buirski and my partner D. A. Pennebaker,” said Chris Hegedus. “It was Nancy’s passion for documentaries that drew us to Full Frame nearly every year to screen our films and to be inspired by others. We are lucky to have Nancy and Penny’s wonderful films to remember them by.”

    Specific screening times and venues will be announced with the release of the full schedule later this month. The 26th annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival runs April 4–7, 2024. Passes and ticket packages are now on sale at www.fullframefest.org/attend/passes-tickets/.


    2024 Full Frame Tribute
    Nancy Buirski

    Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq / United States (Director: Nancy Buirski)
    Tanaquil Le Clercq inspired choreographers unlike any ballerina before her, but in 1956, at the height of her fame, she was stricken with polio. A mesmerizing film of love, loss, and surprising grace.

    Desperate Souls, Dark City, and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy / United States (Director: Nancy Buirski)
    Inspired by Glenn Frankel’s 2021 book Shooting Midnight Cowboy: Art, Sex, Loneliness, Liberation, and the Making of a Dark Classic, Nancy Buirski’s documentary explores the groundbreaking movie, but her attention is trained on the people who made it and the times in which it was made.

    The Loving Story / United States (Director: Nancy Buirski)
    The Loving Story tells the dramatic story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple living in Virginia in the 1950s, and their landmark Supreme Court Case, Loving v. Virginia, that changed history.


    2024 Full Frame Tribute
    A. Pennebaker

    Daybreak Express / United States (Director: D. A. Pennebaker)
    Shot in 1953, though not completed until 1957, Daybreak Express was the first film D. A. Pennebaker made, a mad rush of images of New York City captured from a train and edited to the rhythm of Duke Ellington’s song of the same name. A jazz aficionado, Pennebaker thought his career would continue along this path, making short films cut to songs.

    Dont Look Back / United States (Director: D. A. Pennebaker)
    Bob Dylan is captured on-screen as he never would be again in this groundbreaking film from D. A. Pennebaker. The legendary documentarian finds Dylan in England during his 1965 tour, which would be his last as an acoustic artist. In this wildly entertaining vision of one of the twentieth century’s greatest artists, Dylan is surrounded by teen fans, gets into heated philosophical jousts with journalists, and kicks back with fellow musicians Joan Baez, Donovan, and Alan Price.

    Town Bloody Hall / United States (Directors: Chris Hegedus, D. A. Pennebaker)
    On April 30, 1971, a standing-room-only crowd of New York’s intellectual elite packed the city’s Town Hall theater to see Norman Mailer—fresh from the controversy over his essay “The Prisoner of Sex” and the backlash it received from leaders of the women’s movement—tangle with a panel of four prominent female thinkers and activists: Jacqueline Ceballos, Germaine Greer, Jill Johnston, and Diana Trilling. 

    The War Room / United States (Directors: Chris Hegedus, D. A. Pennebaker)
    The 1992 presidential election was a triumph not only for Bill Clinton but also for the new breed of strategists who guided him to the White House—and changed the face of politics in the process. For this thrilling, behind-closed-doors account of that campaign, renowned cinema verité filmmakers Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker captured the brainstorming and bull sessions of Clinton’s crack team of consultants—especially James Carville and George Stephanopoulos, who became media stars in their own right as they injected a savvy, youthful spirit and spontaneity into the process of campaigning.

    About Full Frame

    The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is an internationally recognized event that proudly presents the best of nonfiction films on the festival circuit each year. Based in Durham, North Carolina, the annual festival gathers thousands of enthusiastic fans from around the globe to celebrate the documentary art form, engage in meaningful conversation, and experience the impact of exceptional nonfiction cinema firsthand. The 26th annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival takes place April 4–7, 2024.

    The festival is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies and receives support from corporate sponsors, private foundations, and individual donors whose generosity provides the foundation that makes the event possible. The 2024 festival is being produced through a partnership with Duke Venue and Production Management, the campus arm that handles planning, ticketing and other logistics for arts and other Duke events. The Presenting Sponsor of the festival is Duke University. To learn more about the mission of Full Frame or how to support Full Frame, visit fullframefest.org.