Speakeasy Conversations

 Full Frame has proudly presented the A&E IndieFilms Speakeasy for eight years. The A&E IndieFilms Speakeasy hosts a number of panel conversations over the course of the festival that are free and open to the public. The Speakeasy offers a casual setting where a small audience can listen to industry leaders take on topics that are at the heart of the documentary community today.

The A&E IndieFilms Speakeasy feature spirited and engaging discussions and debates between professionals working at the highest levels, both on stage and with the audience. This not-to-be missed series of conversations takes place on Friday and Saturday at the Durham Hotel.

2018 Speakeasy Conversations

Watch the 2018 A&E IndieFilms Speakeasy Conversations on vimeo

Running with Scissors
Friday, April 6 – 9:15 am

Moderated by Toby Shimin, This Is Home
Penelope Falk, STEP
Carla Gutierrez, RBG
George O’Donnell, Jackie Robinson

Esteemed documentary film editors come together to discuss their essential role in the storytelling process. How do editors choose projects? When should an editor come on board? How do editors communicate with directors about where their own ethics lie? This conversation examines the multi-layered issues that editors confront.



A Discussion with Jehane Noujaim
Friday, April 6 – 12:15 pm

Moderated by Deirdre Haj, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

Full Frame Tribute recipient Jehane Noujaim will join festival director Deirdre Haj to reflect on her body of work—her experiences balancing intimacy and urgency as she navigates unfolding stories—and examine the ways her films bring new perspectives to international events and continue to resonate today. Noujaim’s acclaimed films include The SquareControl RoomRafea: Solar Mama, and Startup.com.



Documentary in the Time of Fake News
Friday, April 6 – 3:15 pm

Moderated by Christopher Clements, The Cleaners, Inventing Tomorrow
Stephen Maing, Crime + Punishment
Laura Nix, Inventing Tomorrow
Maxim Pozdorovkin, Our New President

Documentary film thrives in the space between impartial journalism and biased propaganda. But today there is increasing hostility towards media, and what passes for truth-based storytelling changes almost daily. How can documentaries retain their reputation for authenticity amidst a climate where public figures and advocacy groups are quick to discredit content that does not support the loudest tweet?



Crime and Punishment with Joe Berlinger
Saturday, April 7 – 9:15 am

Moderated by Sadie Tillery, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

This conversation with Thematic Program guest curator Joe Berlinger will explore the ways in which he’s approached crime and punishment in his own work. A leading voice in nonfiction film for the past two decades, Berlinger has made such landmark documentaries as Brother’s Keeper, the Paradise Lost Trilogy, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. BulgerCrude, and Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru, among others. In addition to his feature documentary work, Berlinger has created many hours of crime-related unscripted series for television, including Gone: The Forgotten Women of OhioCold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders, and Killing Richard Glossip.



#DocsSoWhite: The Gatekeepers
Co-presented with the Southern Documentary Fund
Saturday, April 7 – 12:15 pm

Moderated by Naomi Walker, Southern Documentary Fund
Carrie Lozano, International Documentary Association
Lauren Pabst, MacArthur Foundation
Sam Pollard, MAYNARD
Anu Rana, Diverse Voices in Docs, Kartemquin Films

Full Frame’s third iteration of our discussions on the lack of diversity in the documentary filmmaking field focuses on funding and programming. How do gatekeepers influence the ways documentaries are reviewed and adjudicated? Do diverse selection committees foster enough inclusion of equally diverse content? How can we create an inclusive field when the criteria we use to judge film may be embedded in an all-white Western European model? From foundations to film schools to festivals, does the definition of what is a “good” documentary need to change?


Framing the Conversation
Saturday, April 7 – 3:15 pm

Moderated by Nancy Buirski, The Rape of Recy Taylor

Our continued series of discussions with documentary trailblazers welcomes Full Frame founder and award-winning filmmaker Nancy Buirski back to the moderator’s chair.  Two-time Academy Award winner, special guest, and advisory board member Barbara Kopple sits down with Buirski to speak about her immense body of work, including her most recent project, A Murder in Mansfield, the relationships she builds with her subjects, and plans for her next steps in an already illustrious career.




Watch conversations from the A&E IndieFilms Speakeasy Archive