2014 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

The 17th annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival was a huge success.


The streets of Durham were as busy as we have ever seen them in the seven years of the Clarion Content’s existence. Our editor walked down Main Street from The Federal to Revolution Saturday afternoon and every single eating and dining establishment in between was filled with crowds of rollicking, effervescent humanity.

The night screenings in Durham Central Park were off the chain. We spoke to more than one food truck operator who did an all-time sales record. The Durham DIY district was bumping.

Of course, as is a Full Frame tradition hanging around outside of Parts & Labor Saturday night we encountered a film refugee, sweaty, forlorn, vaguely distracted. This Bostonian was glazed as if a 1,000 miles away and not very happy to be there. He needed a cigarette. He was suffering the intense emotional catharsis great documentary film sometimes brings about. He simply needed to reconnect with his fellow man (anonymous stranger or not).

in country

screenshot from “In Country

After a bit, he revealed he had just attended the screening of In Country, a documentary about Vietnam War reenactors. As our new acquaintance decompressed and shared, our own beer drinking compadre revealed to the new guy that he’s an Afghan War veteran returned home. A bond was made. A conversation was had. Once again the virtuous self-reinforcing circle: art (film) – culture – common humanity was sketched in real time. Ah, Durham.

While we await reflections of the Clarion Content correspondents who covered the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, here is a partial list of the award winning documentaries of 2014. See the complete list here.

2014 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival Award Winners

The Reva and David Logan Grand Jury Award
Sponsored by the Reva and David Logan Foundation

The Reva and David Logan Grand Jury Award was presented to Evolution of a Criminal, directed by Darius Clark Monroe. Ten years after robbing a bank as teenager, filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe returns home and turns the camera on himself — to tell the story of what happened and look at the fallout from his actions.

Jury members Shola Lynch, Robb Moss, and Christine O’Malley stated: “For its mix of autobiographical storytelling and inventive use of recreations, for its ability to disrupt what has become a familiar narrative, we award the Grand Jury Award to Evolution of a Criminal.”


The Full Frame Jury Award for Best Short
Provided by Drs. Andrew and Barbra Rothschild

The Full Frame Jury Award for Best Short was given to White Earth, directed by J. Christian Jensen. Against the backdrop of an ethereal North Dakota winter, three children and their immigrant mother describe scenes of isolation and exertion — the impact of the oil boom to their everyday lives.

Jury members Brian McGinn, Rick Prelinger, and Toby Shimin stated: “Short filmmaking is the art of working within the constraints of limited resources. For its elegant images of an environmentally precarious practice, its enigmatic and often surprising characters, and its vivid depiction of a place undergoing rapid transition, we recognize White Earth with the Jury Award for Best Short.”


Full Frame Audience Award – Feature
Sponsored by Merge Records

The Hand That Feeds, directed by Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick, received the Full Frame Audience Award for Feature. The film, a moving story of a bitter labor dispute, follows a group of New York City restaurant workers who stand up for their rights, despite the threat of job loss and deportation.


Full Frame Audience Award – Short
Sponsored by Vimeo

The Silly Bastard Next to the Bed, directed by Scott Calonico, received the Full Frame Audience Award Short. The film is a humorous retelling of how JFK handled a scandal over some pricey bedroom furniture during the last summer of his presidency.


The Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award
Provided by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

The Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award was given to Evolution of a Criminal, directed by Darius Clark Monroe. Provided by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, this award honors a documentary artist whose work is a potential catalyst for education and change. Representatives from the Center for Documentary Studies juried the prize: Randy Benson, Wesley Hogan, Katie Hyde, Lynn McKnight, Dan Partridge, Elena Rue, Teka Selman, and April Walton.


Full Frame President’s Award
Sponsored by Duke University

The Full Frame President’s Award was presented to Santa Cruz del Islote, directed by Luke Lorentzen. The film is about the remote island of Santa Cruz del Islote, one of the most densely populated on the planet, where a community struggles to main its way of life as resources and opportunities dwindle. Sponsored by Duke University, representatives on behalf of the President’s Office juried the prize.

Clarion Content

Clarion Content is a Durham-based online magazine that curates and creates the thriving culture that gives our city its identity. Our community building is only as strong as our collective contributions. Our team of curators welcomes your comments, suggestions, and concerns. We are open to all points of view, especially those that challenge and therefore stimulate our own. We also encourage reader submitted material as well as guest columnists. See something cool, outrageous, outlandish, or important? Have a great cause? Send us a note or stop by our offices at the Mothership, 401 West Geer Street inside the MotorCo complex.

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