See Free Documentary Films on Third Fridays

Full Frame rolls out carpet at new Full Frame Theater at American Tobacco Campus

The 100-seat Full Frame Theater at the American Tobacco Campus has been selling out for the free documentary film screenings on Third Fridays. Photo courtesy of Full Frame Documentary Festival.
The 100-seat Full Frame Theater at the American Tobacco Campus has been selling out for the free documentary film screenings on Third Fridays. Photo courtesy of Full Frame Documentary Festival.

The Third Fridays documentary film series at Full Frame Theater is so popular that patrons must now reserve free tickets online.

And that doesn't even guarantee a seat unless you arrive on time.

 "It's wonderful that Durham has enough people out and about on Fridays to fill the Full Frame Theater," said Sadie Tillery, director of programming.  "It's rewarding to be part of the Third Friday arts activity and be contributing to all that Durham has to offer."

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, a program of Duke's Center for Documentary Studies, began the free Third Fridays series in June to introduce audiences to films in a new 100-seat theater in the Power Plant at the American Tobacco Campus. Full Frame added the online reservation system in September after turning away about 80 people for the screening of "Spinning Plates" in August. 

Tillery said she hopes that the series will encourage people to experience watching documentary film in a theater instead of on computers or mobile devices. 

"When you are in a dark room with a big screen, it is easier to become absorbed in the world of the film," she said. 

Naomi Nelson, director of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke, attended the screening of "Let the Fire Burn" in September. She said that in addition to the luxury of watching a film in a theater with state-of-the-art equipment, the location of the Full Frame Theater is a special part of the experience. 

"You are right in the heart of the American Tobacco Campus," she said. "It makes it so convenient to continue conversations started at the film over drinks or dinner."

The next film will be "Pussy Riot - A Punk Prayer," on Oct. 18. Tillery chose this film because Pussy Riot, the rap group whose guerilla performances in Russia created political furor in 2012, continues to be in the news. 

"We wanted to give more people the chance to see the documentary and let it be part of the current conversation," Tillery said.

The Nov. 15 film is "Medora," a documentary that follows a struggling high school basketball team in Medora, Ind. to shed light on issues facing small towns across the U.S.

Third Friday series will pause over the winter holidays and during January and February for the Winter Series at the Carolina Theatre. The Third Friday series will then return in 2014.

The Third Friday series will go on hiatus after the November 15th screening and resume in May of 2014. Full Frame will hold its annual Winter Series at the Carolina Theater on Jan. 23, Jan. 30, and Feb. 6. The 17th annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival will take place April 3 - 6, 2014.