Elon students, faculty
go to Full Frame Fest


Ray Johnson and Brooke Barnett of the School of Communications faculty and J. McMerty of the Elon staff led a student group to attend the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, which took place in Durham April 7-10. The annual festival is staged in various locations in the area, including the Carolina Theatre of Durham. This year's festival drew a total of nearly 20,000 audience admissions.

The Elon students' participation in the festival is supported by School of Communications funding, so students gain access for free. They also enjoyed sessions with filmmakers such as D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus, Ric Burns, Albert Maysles and Barbara Kopple. "It was inspiring to hear the words and thoughts of the directors themselves," said senior Brett Tolley. "Getting to know those people will certainly aid my journey as a future filmmaker."

The festival's board of directors is led by Martin Scorsese, and it includes Pennebaker, Mary Lea Bandy, Ken Burns, Jonathan Demme, John Sayles and other luminaries. The Elon group also took in a session led by Scorsese and Vittorio de Seta.

This is the festival's eighth year, and it included more than 100 films. One of them was "The Beauty Academy of Kabul." The story follows six hairstylists from the United States (three of whom formerly lived in Afghanistan) who are given support by the New York-based project Beauty Without Borders to open a beauty school in Kabul. The film was co-produced by Nigel Noble and Liz Mermin and directed by Mermin. The BBC and the Discovery Channel financed the work.

Junior Brittany Yelverton was impressed by the feeling of immersion in the film community she came away with after the festival. "It was wonderful to spend time in an environment full of filmmakers and film lovers," she explained. "The atmosphere was invigorating and inspiring."

Senior Laith Al-Majali came away with plenty of souvenir photos of himself posing with famous directors. "The festival has enriched my experience as an aspiring filmmaker by exposing me to a wide variety of work and giving me the chance to interact with documentary legends such as Pennebaker," he said.

The Grand Jury Award at this year's festival was a split decision, with the honor going to both "Murderball," directed by Henry Alex Rubin and Jeffrey Mandel, and "Shape of the Moon," directed by Leonard Retel Helmrich with production by Hetty Haaiijkens.

For more information about the festival, go to http://www.fullframefest.org.






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Last Modified:  4/14/05
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