Durham, North Carolina: Film Festival Organizers Use Outdoor Movies to Draw in the Crowds

Passes go on sale today for the 13th annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, to be held in Durham April 8-11.

For the first time, the 13th festival will have two nights of free outdoor film screenings. The screenings will be at the Durham Farmers' Market area in Durham Central Park, at 8 p.m. April 9 and 10. Food vendors will be on hand for the screenings.

The festival always presents free screenings to schoolchildren and the public. The outdoor event is a way to expose more people to the festival, said Ted Mott, director of production for Full Frame.

"We want to keep that community energy going, and that's hard to observe if everyone's inside," Mott said. Festival officials hope the screenings will make the festival more accessible and inviting, he said.

Festivalgoers may purchase passes in three categories. The Priority Pass (general admission price of $500) provides first access to tickets and events, and a total of 25 tickets to films, panels and premium events. The Festival Pass ($200) gives the holder 20 tickets for films, panels and premium events. The Film Pass ($125, $75 students) gives the holder tickets to 15 films. Convenience fees for online purchases are lower this year, Mott said.

Passes, along with more details, may be purchased at www.fullframefest.org/passes. For festivalgoers who prefer to mail their payment (and avoid a convenience charge), a form will be available today on the Web site.

Passes come with a few new perks for the 2010 event, Mott said. For the first time, holders of the Festival and Film passes will not have to pick up tickets the same day as the screenings. "We're not going to make you go to the box office if you don't want to," Mott said. "We're trying to get people to see more movies," not stand in more lines.

In January, the festival will announce the thematic series and the career award, which honors an important filmmaker. Film titles will be announced in early March. The film schedule for the 2010 festival will be announced March 18, and festival tickets go on sale April 1.

Festival organizers expect to screen more than 100 films next year. Films will be shown at five venues in the downtown area -- the Carolina Theatre, the Durham Convention Center, the Durham Arts Council's PSI Theater, Rigsbee Hall, and Durham Central Park.

The 2009 thematic series was titled "This Sporting Life," a series of sports films that Steve James, director of "Hoop Dreams," curated. Also during the festival, James, filmmaker Peter Gilbert and William Gates, one of the subjects of "Hoop Dreams," were on hand for a panel discussion and screening of the acclaimed basketball documentary.

Other films and special guests at the 2009 festival were "The September Issue," with a visit by Vogue Editor-at-Large Andre Leon Talley; and "Saint Misbehavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie," with a visit by Wavy Gravy, also known as Hugh Romney.

During each festival, awards are made in 10 different categories -- among them the Grand Jury Award, the Audience Award, the President's Award and the Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights

Cliff Bellamy


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