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The first documentary by Sydney Pollack to open Full Frame

Legendary filmmaker Richard Leacock to be honored with Career Award
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival has chosen Sketches of Frank Gehry as the opening film of the 2006 festival.
The first documentary by the Academy Award® winning director Sydney Pollack (The Interpreter, Out of Africa) is a look at the life and work of the renowned architect. The opening night screening is sponsored by Capitol Broadcasting. The festival also announced that it would present its Career Award this year to legendary filmmaker Richard Leacock.

The nine-year old festival kicked into high-gear in December of 2005 with its announcement that it would tackle Hurricane Katrina's legacy with a curated program on Class in America; a special Southern Sidebar: Katrina, sponsored by Turner South, featuring first docs from the Gulf, and an evening performance by Branford Marsalis and father, Ellis Marsalis, in honor of those who suffered in the Gulf Region. Distinguished filmmaker St. Claire Bourne will act as the guest curator of Class in America, this year's thematic centerpiece for the acclaimed documentary film festival. In addition, instead of the regional films traditionally showcased in the Southern Sidebar, this year the program will feature the first documentaries shot of the Gulf region and its people following Hurricane Katrina.

With the choice of Pollack's film for opening night and the honoring of Richard Leacock, Nancy Buirski, CEO and Artistic Director of Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, says the festival celebrates the full range of this dynamic art form now enjoying a new renaissance of popularity and critical attention. "We are very lucky this year in being able to present Sydney Pollack's wonderful film on an American icon and as well as to give our audiences a chance to understand how deeply Leacock's work has contributed to the look of American documentaries."

Sydney Pollack's Sketches of Frank Gehry premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and is a PBS American Masters film portrait. A collaboration between two artists--and two friends--the film gives a rare glimpse into the creative mind. Gehry is known for many important landmark buildings including the Guggenheim Museum in Balboa, Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California. However, as Pollack's film explores, Gehry's most creative achievements came after a period of great difficulty, relieved only through intensive work with a psychiatrist, who also discusses on camera with Pollack what Gehry had to do to free his imagination. The film shows Pollack exploring a new form of storytelling as well: shot intimately with a hand-held video camera, it is his first documentary.

Another consummate artist, Richard Leacock was born in England, gained a physics degree at Harvard, and was a combat cameraman in World War II for the army. He got his start in documentaries as a cameraman and associate producer in 1948, working for Robert Flaherty on the classic documentary Louisiana Story. After years of collaborating with other documentary filmmakers, he formed his own company with Robert Drew. Together they started a movement called Direct Cinema--or what is sometimes called the American verité-- that was to have a deep aesthetic impact in its unobtrusive recording of both dramatic news events such as the 1960 Wisconsin primary between John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey (Primary) but also on more intimate and everyday subjects. Combined with his founding and leadership of MIT's film department, Leacock's influence on subsequent generations of filmmakers continues to provide a living legacy.

Held every year in downtown Durham, North Carolina, the festival celebrates the artistry and power of documentary film. Over the past nine years the festival has grown and now features a full four days of over 100 films, panels, and other special programs. In addition to the curated programs and the Southern sidebar program, Full Frame's schedule is filled with films in competition from around the world; tributes to the great artists in the documentary world; as well as special evenings celebrating the work of filmmakers and other artists as diverse as Martin Scorsese and Vittorio De Seta, Harry Shearer, Ken Burns and Ric Burns, Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, Albert Maysles, Errol Morris, Michael Apted, Henry Hampton, Frederick Wiseman, Elaine Stritch, Michael Moore, Jonathan Demme, Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, Barbara Kopple and Charles E. Guggenheim. Many of the films shown at the festival have gone on to be Academy Award® nominees, including seven of the ten 2005 nominees for documentary feature or short, and three of the five 2006 nominees for documentary feature.

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