elondocs members gain insight, enjoy access at Full Frame Film Festival
While attending the four-day Durham festival, students in Elon University’s documentary production program screened films from around the world, attended filmmaker events and panels, and met award-winning documentarians.
If what strategic communications major Kathryn Jeffords ’15 said of documentaries is true, this month’s elondocs production program visit to the Full Frame Film Festival packed an immense educational wallop.
“Documentaries continue to amaze me with the unknown stories and subjects they capture and bring to the public,” said Jeffords, an elondocs member who attended the annual festival in Durham, North Carolina. “I swear watching one documentary is like getting a four-year education.”
During the four-day celebration, held April 9-12, members of the 2014-15 elondocs production program screened feature and short documentaries from around the world, attended filmmaker events and panels, and met award-winning documentarians. They also participated in two master classes that were exclusive to the Full Frame Fellows Program.
Among those in attendance were Francesca Collins ’17, Chiara Costanzo ’15, Kayla Hammer ’16, Stephen Harris ’16, Jennie Hook ’16, Jeffords, Madeline Lanciloti ’16, Rhett Lawson ’17 and Josepha Mbouma ’16. Nicole Triche, an assistant professor in the School of Communications and director of the elondocs program, accompanied the Elon contingent.
This year’s festival film list, which consisted of more than 100 documentaries, made a strong impression on Jeffords. “Full Frame had such a great variety of films,” she said, “from stories of alpine mountain climbers who defy all odds, to the secret life of Evel Knievel, to an exposé of the deep web and the Silk Road.”
A media arts and entertainment major, Kayla Hammer ’16 enjoyed attending the festival because of the great access to its presenters. “I loved getting to talk one on one with the filmmakers and editors,” she explained. “Most gave great insight on the do's and don'ts of preproduction and production. They were brutally honest about how hard it can be to make documentaries, but I appreciated that bluntness.”
As a part of the Fellows program, the elondocs students attended two master classes. These sessions gave attendees an opportunity to see the filmmakers’ personalities and enthusiasm about their respective projects, Hammer said.
Jeffords’ biggest takeaway from the masters classes was an observation from Ryan White, director of “The Case Against 8,” Good Ol' Freda,” and “Pelada.” White told his audience that documentarians are defined by how well they persevere against all odds.
“Hearing the masters speak really reignited my passion for documentary filmmaking and reminded me why I want to dedicate my life to this,” Jeffords said.