We Have Feelings for Full Frame
A letter from Bit & Grain co-founder Sandra Davidson
Around the time the rumors about federal cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts got to circulating, I started seeing a meme of Winston Churchill floating around the internet. The meme read: "During WWII Churchill was asked to cut funding for the arts. He replied, 'Then, What are we fighting for?'"
Turns out, the quote isn't truly from the British Bulldog, but I'm choosing to run with the sentiment behind it particularly after spending the second weekend in April at the Full Frame Film Festival.
The festival celebrated its 20th birthday with a line-up of heart-breaking, life-affirming, cutting edge new documentaries coupled with a curated collection of festival darlings from years past. Collectively, these films captured the brutality and beauty of the human experience, and they left me with more questions then answers about how to make this world kinder, fairer and peaceful.
I was not alone in that regard.
After the screening of Two Towns of Jasper (2002), which documented a Texas town's experience of a modern lynching through the perspective of its black community (filmed by a black crew) and its white community (filmed by a white crew), an audience-member asked the filmmakers "How far have we actually come with racial reconciliation as a country?"
Director Marco Williams replied, "If the metaphor is 100 yards, we're just past the goal line."
After the film QUEST (2017), which captured how poverty and gun-violence shaped but did not define a family over a 10-year-period, a fellow member of the press said to me, "Every American should see that film," referencing how different a long-form depiction of the family's life looked than the typical media portrayal of black Americans.
A mentor of mine always says, "Film is a medium best used to communicate emotion."
I believe that to be true.
I do not believe anyone could leave even a day at Full Frame without considering their place in the world, the disparity and diversity of mankind, or the power and potential of living a life of courage, conviction and character.
Thus is the power of the arts.
So thank you Full Frame. Thank you for the 20 years you've spent reminding us what it means to be human and inspiring us to be compassionate and to care. Happy Birthday…we wish you many, many more.