Behind the Screens

Duke assumes institutional responsibility for popular film festival

For the average moviegoer, the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will continue to be a four-day event where some of the latest and best nonfiction cinema from around the world will be shown each spring. But behind the scenes, the organization’s structure has shifted: The Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) at Duke is once again the institutional home for the festival.


Founded by CDS in 1998 as the DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival, the festival proved so successful that five years later, it became an independent, nonprofit organization and acquired its present name.

Even after the change to nonprofit status, the festival maintained a close connection with CDS and the university. The CDS Filmmaker Award, one of the festival’s highest honors, was created “to honor and support documentary artists whose works are potential catalysts for education and change,” and Duke became a presenting sponsor.

“After the festival’s most successful season in recent history, it is a thrill to return Full Frame to its roots,” says Deirdre Haj, executive director of Full Frame. “At the same time, our future depends as much as ever on the support of filmmakers, audiences, funders, and the local community as we move forward.”

Full Frame will continue to operate out of its offices at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham with the same mission, staff, and budget.

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