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10 Things I learned at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2011

Last weekend I was immersed in non-fiction film at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in and around the Carolina Theater in downtown Durham. You can read my full coverage here. I saw 20 docs (some were shorts), and really felt like I learned quite a bit from all the glorious infotainment from all over the globe.

What exactly did I learn? Well, here’s 10 fun facts and the films they came from at the 14th Full Frame:

1. Alabama didn’t repeal their law against interracial marriages until the year 2000. (“The Loving Story”)

2. “The Gun Show Loophole” – Anyone can buy a gun from a private dealer without a background check. (“Gun Fight”)

3. “The Jim Henson Stitch” – Muppet designer and builder Don Sahlin perfected a special stitch which helps to make seams virtually disappear. It’s a zig-zaggy style stitch done by hand. (“Being Elmo”)

4. “The New York Times Effect” – Page one of the Times suddenly becomes news everywhere else a day or two later. Mentioned in the Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive” (“We can try to understand the New York Times’ effect on man”).(“Page One: A Year Inside The New York Times”)

5. Errol Morris can be funny (“Tabloid”)

6. Kathleen Hanna of the band Le Tigre spray painted the phrase “Kurt Cobain smells like teen spirit” on Cobain’s apartment wall which gave him the idea for the title of Nirvana’s iconic hit single “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” (“Who Put The Bomp? Le Tigre On Tour”)

7. There were 3 other puppeteers (Carroll Spinney, Brian Muehl, and Richard Hunt) that performed the Sesame Street character Elmo before Kevin Clash famously made it his own in 1985. (“Being Elmo”)

8. Ken Kesey refuses to watch the film adapation of his novel “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Next” because he thinks they severely changed the book’s point of view.(“Magic Trip”)

9. From his long illustrious career, the film that Roger Corman is proudest of is “The Intruder” (1962) starring William Shatner as a racist villain inciting violence in a small town. (“Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel”)

10. There is very little archival footage of actual hobos (“Raw Material, Indigestible” – a program hosted by Rick Prelinger mostly made up of ‘40s film fragments).

Bonus fun fact: Acid makes cats afraid of mice. (“Magic Trip”)

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