Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival - Day 1

This year I had the pleasures of attending Full Frame for the first time. Overall I very much enjoyed it. It's a little more exclusive than I wish it was (getting into the parties requires you to know someone or be a filmmaker, even if you have a pass). Also, I had a 15-film pass and 15 films is way too much for such a short festival, especially since Thursday and Sunday weren't full days due to the drive. It meant seeing a film in every available slot for which I was there, including 5 films in one day on Friday and Saturday. I learned that 3 films in a day (or, 3 plus a short) is pretty much my limit and I ended up skipping a few. I did see 4 in one day but I hated myself for it.

Also, shout out to the Moorehead Manor B&B. It was an amazing place to stay - lovely old mansion with some of the most delicious breakfast I've ever eaten. The owners were so nice and there were always fresh baked goods out. It was one of my favorite places I've ever stayed.

Day 1

Kings of Nowhere

Kings of Nowhere was a beautifully shot film about a very interesting subject that was really boring. I fell asleep. I don’t think I have ever fallen asleep during a movie at a theater in my entire life. And it was the first film I saw, so it’s not even like I was burned out on movies at that point. The film is about three families in a town that has been abandoned because it mostly flooded when a damn was built nearby. While the film is very meditative, there are some truly beautiful moments, and the subjects can be quite funny, nothing really happens. At all. The whole time. They even allude to violence that has them somewhat living in fear, but they never fully explain it. I won’t say I disliked the film. Parts of it were magical, but it was way too long and it did not deserve the Jury Prize for the festival in the least bit.

The Circus Dynasty

Circus Dynasty is an intimate look at two European Circus families, who everyone is hoping will merge through the relationship of the son of one family and the daughter of the other. While I enjoyed the film, it left me puzzled at times as to what style they were going to. Parts of it were beautifully shot and had a dream like quality, while most was very verite. Sometimes they had very intimate access to the subjects but a lot of the times the filmmakers seemed to keep their distance. I know it's hard to be all up in people's most intimate moments with a camera like that but if you're going to go for it, you gotta GO FOR IT. I think perhaps the film was shot in bits and pieces, as sometimes happens in documentary when stories span years. That being said, it was a sweet film with some awe-inspiring acrobatics that really tugs at the heartstrings and I will admit I got a little teary at the end.

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