Today was the first day of the Full Frame Film Festival. I got to Durham bright and early--and am so glad of it! When I finally found the place to pick up passes, there was already a line forming outside. As I walked up, the line started moving inside. There was a bit of confusion and frustration among some of the attendees, but in a matter of minutes they figured it out.
When I picked up my pass, they gave me a bag with lots of info inside. As the volunteer explained how the process works, I turned to look for the line he referenced and saw Dawn walk up. She's a fellow improviser and such a fun person! We stood in line that morning, choosing our preferred films so that we could get tickets. It was great to have a such a warm smile that early in the AM! There were some problems at the box office, so we had plenty of time to catch up while they fixed the computer problems.
After we got our tickets, Dawn and I crossed the street to see our first film at the Carolina Theater. We waited in another line for a short time, and then the theater opened. "The Wobblies" was the first film I saw at the festival, and it was very enjoyable.
I loved watching how they introduced the characters, pieced together interview footage with archival footage, and especially the use of music throughout the film. One of my favorite clips was of a man (a lumberjack) walking on logs as they floated downstream--so impressive! They also had some very humorous moments, despite the film having a rather serious tone altogether. The release year was 1979 and was directed by Stewart Bird and Deborah Shaffer. It was interesting to learn about the I.W.W.
Dawn and I then sat down for a bit of lunch, which was incredibly tasty. I was really excited to see some healthy options, and we got our food just before the rush--yet again just ahead of the crowd. What great timing! After lunch, Dawn and I went our separate ways so we could see films we really wanted to watch.
"Enemies of the People" was the film I was really excited about because it was about Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge. I have been learning about them and how it relates to our film, because it's quite close (geographically-speaking) to Vietnam. One of my cast members mentioned that a few Montagnards had trouble getting to the U.S. as immigrants because they were accused of being a part of the Khmer Rouge, so I'm still very interested in learning more (although you won't see any of that in "Abandoned Allies" because it's not one of our main messages). I'll likely have to dedicate an entire post about the film, technical aspects, subject matter relevance and much more.
It has been incredibly helpful to be so immersed in the world of documentary filmmaking. You do research on your own, watch films, read about techniques, talk with people, etc, but to be at a festival where the air is filled with the energy of documentary filmmaking is totally different. Seeing so many familiar faces today was also very rewarding! I just love our community, and was so happy to see Jim McQuaid, Jennifer Evans, Joshua Steadman, and Phil Daquila today. They are such fun people!
To those of you who made this adventure possible, I cannot thank you enough. I've already learned so much that I can apply towards "Abandoned Allies" and I absolutely cannot wait to share it with you. Ya'll are my heroes for helping me attend the festival!