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The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

Over the next few days I’m heading downtown to the long-awaited Full Frame Documentary Film Festival here in Durham, and there are  a lot of great films on tap.

The event, founded in 1998, is a real gem, attracting well-known filmmakers from around the world to our little slice of southern heaven. There will be more than 100 films during the four-day event, filled with panel discussions, Q&As with directors and documentary seminars for aspiring filmmakers. This year there will be appearances by Larry Flynt (featured in the doc premiering at the fest, Larry Flynt The Right to be Left Alone), Michael Moore and Full Frame advisory board chair Martin Scorcese.

I’m excited that the fest will feature Freeheld this afternoon. It’s the award-winning film about the late Laurel Hester (it won the Special Jury Prize for documentary short at the Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Cynthia Wade, the documentary follows Hester, a former NJ police officer who was repeatedly told by the Ocean County Freeholders, as she battled terminal cancer,  that she couldn’t leave her pension to her partner Stacie Andree. The five Republican Freeholders finally did the right thing after a groundswell of public outrage, calls, blogging, emails and critical TV and newspaper coverage shamed them into doing so. Hester died shortly after winning a right married couples take for granted. Wade’s cameras were there to capture the pain and drama of the battle for equality.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding