Full Frame Documentary Film Festival Announces 2016 Tribute and Thematic Program


    Durham, N.C. – February 11, 2016 – The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will honor director and documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson with the 2016 Tribute Award, presenting a retrospective of her work. This year’s Thematic Program will look at campaigns, candidates, and the electoral process in a series titled “Perfect and Otherwise: Documenting American Politics,” curated by filmmaker R.J. Cutler.

    Full Frame will screen Kirsten Johnson’s new film Cameraperson and a selection of documentaries she has directed and photographed. In Cameraperson, Johnson draws on footage she’s shot over the course of 25 years, searching to reconcile her part in the thorny questions of permission, power, creative ambition, and human obligation that come with filming the lives of others.

    “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 ProvenGuilty, 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.

    This year’s Thematic Program, “Perfect and Otherwise: Documenting American Politics,” will focus on the inherent drama of the American electoral system. Full Frame has tapped filmmaker R.J. Cutler to curate.

    “From The War Room to A Perfect Candidate to The World According to Dick Cheney, R.J. Cutler’s films have illuminated significant moments and personalities within American politics, preserving pivotal events through unforgettable images. We’re thrilled to have R.J. join us as guest curator this year,” said Tillery. “As we approach the 2016 election, it’s a particularly apt time to examine the ways documentaries have captured American campaigns and voting processes.”

    “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 directed the narrative feature If I Stay (starring Chloe Grace Moretz). Cutler’s other work includes the documentary films The War RoomA Perfect CandidateThinThe September Issue, and The World According to Dick Cheney; the documentary television series American HighFreshman 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.

    Both Johnson and Cutler will attend the festival. Specific titles for the Thematic Program and Full Frame Tribute, along with additional attending guests, will be announced in March.

    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 March 17. Festival passes go on sale February 11, and can be purchased online at http://www.fullframefest.org. Individual tickets go on sale April 1.