Sunday, April 15, 2007

Day 4 of 4 of Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

Sadly, Full Frame is over! It was an excellent Festival with many touching and important films.
We started the day with Nobody, a film about a free-spirited man who decides to leave any responsiblities behind (including his job, which he had left some time ago) and meander through Memphis and then on to New Orleans from his home in Indiana via canoe.

We had a friend visiting from Virginia so that he could attend yesterday, stay overnight with us, and see more films today, so he saw Run Granny Run in the same time slot. I included a short recommendation for this excellent film in my current magazine review, and we were excited to meet 97-year-old Doris ("Granny D") Haddock, her son, and producer and director Marlo Poras.

My wife went on to see a film about Ariel Dorfman's life, A Promise to the Dead, that she said was inspiring. I attended a panel discussion, Reaching out on Global Warming, and interjected my frustration that though it is well documented that the biggest impact we make on the environment is eating a non-plant based diet, few in the environmental movement even mention moving away from meat and dairy as something we can try doing. That generated some exciting discussion amongst others in the audience afterwards, including a writer and film maker/professor, who think that a story featuring our Thanksgiving (the country's largest vegetarian Thanksgiving) would be a good one to put together!

There was a long break, during which the awards were announced. We missed it and I hope to post all the winners, but we had an opportunity to see some of the winning films in the afternoon. I first attended Prisoner or; How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair, a shocking but calmly related story of a man in Baghdad who was, by all counts groundlessly, arrested on a house raid by the U.S. Army on suspicion that he was plotting to kill Tony Blair. Even when no evidence was found, he was kept in jail, ending up in Abu Garaib, and subject to cruel treatment.

That put me more than an hour into War / Dance, one of the winning films (really, all of them are winners!). It was very moving, about war-torn Northern Kenya, describing war crimes against rural people (difficult to see), interwoven with the promising story of children, some of whom had endured terrible losses to their families and all of whom had to flea their village, practicing for a national music and dance competition.

The last film that we saw was the winner Monastery. It was a unique and delightful film about a fascinating older Danish gentleman with many peculiarities (I only noticed one time when he isn't frowning) who decides to donate use of his country estate to a Russian monastery.


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