Coffee and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival



“Full Frame is my Holy Grail, more than Sundance,” I overhear from a guy sitting behind me before a film starts.

“Did you go to Sundance?”


While I’m in the same position as Mr. King Arthur behind me, having not attended Sundance to compare, I agree with his feelings – Full Frame is great. A lot of my friends didn’t want to go because they felt this year could never match up to how much fun they had last year. They were wrong.

In the end only three second year film students attended, including me. This definitely did not help with power in numbers for missing class, but I look at this as career enhancement.

We got off to a late start Thursday, starting the 10 hour drive to Durham at 4pm. This led to a 2am arrival, a few hours of sleep, and a lot of coffee with an occasional dose off during screenings Friday.

For the hotel, we did the same thing as last year. Stay at the Extended Stay Deluxe, which sleeps 6 comfortably, 8 with sleeping bags. The hotel is a quick walk from the Hilton, one of the ‘official’ hotels that has a free shuttle to take you downtown to the festival. With 8 people in a room the entire weekend was $46. The experience of sharing one bathroom was priceless.

The entire weekend was rainy and cloudy. While not good for walking to different venues, it doesn’t make you feel guilty for staying inside and watching movies all day.

My only disappointment was with the city of Durham. It was 9:40 on a Saturday night and hardly any restaurants were open for a late dinner. It reminded me of Tallahassee.


The city did redeem itself with The Book Exchange, kind of a southern Strand. This store seemed to have never ending nooks filled with books stacked all the way to the ceiling.


One last highlight. My girlfriend met Gary Hustwit, director of beloved Helvetica, at a bar.

One last warning. Stay away from South of the Border.

Over the next few days I’ll be posting about the different movies I saw. I’m not a fan of reviews, so they’ll be more observations, things I took away, and a simple if it’s worth watching or not.

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