The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival announced today that Steve James, director of one of the most successful documentaries ever, the 1994 epic Hoop Dreams, will curate a sports-themed program at this year's festival, which runs April 2-5.
James' sidebar will be called This Sporting Life, and will not be limited to documentaries. Instead, the series "will include some of the lesser-seen dramatic films that take place in the world of sports. Selections will include those that specifically anticipated the emergence of the sports genre in documentary filmmaking, which continues to be honest, vibrant, and original."
Any suggestions for Mr. James? We've got a couple: The Harder They Fall, a boxing muckraker with Humphrey Bogart, Rod Steiger and real-life boxers Max Baer and Jersey Joe Walcott; and The History of Soccer: The Beautiful Game, the 11-hour, Terence Stamp-narrated British television documentary from 2001.
Leave your suggestions here or at Triangle Offense, our sports blog.
Full Frame also announced a special memorial program in honor of St. Clair Bourne, a documentary filmmaker and friend of the festival who died in December 2007. Complete release after the jump.
Full Frame Announces Program News for the 2009 Documentary Festival
Durham, N.C., - January 9, 2009 - The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival has announced that filmmaker Steve James, director of the critically acclaimed "Hoop Dreams," will curate a series of sports films for the festival's 2009 thematic program. In recent years, Full Frame has screened James' "Stevie," "Reel Paradise," and "At the Death House Door," which received the 2008 Full Frame Inspiration Award.
"When Full Frame approached me about curating a series of sports films, it took me two seconds to say yes," James said. "Maybe it has something to do with a lifelong fascination with sports and film. And I've been a fan of how Full Frame selects a topic each year to do a series of films around. It challenges the viewer to engage with documentaries both thematically and historically, something that doesn't happen enough in the festival world."
According to James, many talented directors over the decades have been attracted to sports as a setting for their films because of the powerful potential for drama, high stakes of personal failure, success, and possible redemption.
Featuring documentary and fiction films, the 2009 thematic series entitled "This Sporting Life" will include some of the lesser-seen dramatic films that take place in the world of sports. Selections will include those that specifically anticipated the emergence of the sports genre in documentary filmmaking, which continues to be honest, vibrant, and original. Support for the thematic series was provided by the Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Additionally, this year's Festival will honor eminent documentary filmmaker St. Clair Bourne with the 2009 Career Award. Bourne died suddenly in December 2007 at the age of 64. In his 36-year career, he produced or directed more than 40 films including "Making ‘Do the Right Thing,'" "Paul Robeson: Here I Stand," and "John Henrik Clarke: A Great and Mighty Walk". Filmmaker Sam Pollard will curate a selection of Bourne's films to be exhibited at the Festival, incorporating Bourne's early work, his more prominent titles, and films that influenced his career.
"Saint was a mentor to many of us young producers who were trying to establish our careers," said Pollard. "He was always available to look at our films at any stage and always there with fresh insights into how we could make our work better. He will be terribly missed."
A great friend of Full Frame and a regular presence at the Durham festival, Bourne curated the 2006 thematic series "Class in America" and was a curator in the 2007 10th Anniversary program "The Power of Ten." Full Frame is honored to celebrate Bourne's extensive body of work and his significant role in the filmmaking community at this year's festival.
In other program news, Full Frame is considering more than 1,200 films for the NEW DOCS program to be presented at this year's festival. NEW DOCS will feature 60 selected documentaries and is the largest program of films at the Festival. Official selections will be announced March 5, 2009.
The 2009 Full Frame Documentary Festival will be held April 2 - 5, in Durham, N.C., with Duke University and The New York Times as presenting sponsors. Festival passes can now be purchased online at www.fullframefest.org