I like documentaries. And if Jinx, Serial, and Making a Murderer are any indication, so do a lot of people. I’ve gone to just a handful of documentaries in the past two years at Durham, NC’s Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. It’s a good opportunity for locals to see some great (often timely) films while they make the festival circuit. For me, they usually provide a rare opportunity to learn something I didn’t know before or be inspired.

While the web page gives a nice description of the many films (and there are a lot) there are often trailers online for these documentaries that I’d want to hunt down so I could get a real sense for the tone of the films and a feel for their stories. This year, I decided to just make a blog post and share all the trailers I could find for the films with everyone—in hopes that you go see as many as you can if you’re in town (Just to be clear, I don’t work for the Full Frame fest, I’m just a fan).

So here’s a copy-paste of the full frame documentary list with two additions to each film:

  • A link to a trailer or featurette (if available, some weren’t)
  • My own Ctrl+F searchable categories

The category tags were made up off the top of my head and are by no means definitive. They’re just based on my own interpretation of the film’s trailer and/or description. I made them because I thought they’d be helpful if you only like certain genres of documentary. Since there are a lot, I thought I’d give you some filters to find what’s relevant to you, faster. I also marked the ones I’m personally interested in with an asterisk in the front of the title, if you want to scan that way.

Anyway, try Ctrl+F searching for some of these categories and enjoy the trailers below. Hope you go see some!

Categories: Music, Dance, Historical, Education, Biographical, Expedition, Social Awareness, Political Action, LGBT, Psychological, Ethnography, Experimental, Sports, Crime, Animals

100 Years Show
Alison Klayman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vdgk7rlQ-0
 Carmen Herrera and her geometric, primary-colored paintings are portrayed with cinematic vigor, echoing the energy of the 99-year-old artist herself. (Short)(Biographical)

The Art of Flying
Jan van Ijken https://vimeo.com/127345477
 Thousands of starlings flock together in gyroscopic unison in this wordless depiction of one of nature’s most curious gestures. (Short)(Experimental)

At Home in the World (Et hjem i verden)
Andreas Koefoed https://vimeo.com/150787681
 At a Red Cross school in Denmark, a dedicated teacher helps refugee children withstand the hardships of adapting to a new country, as they fight to overcome their traumatic pasts. (Social Awareness, Education, Psychological) North American Premiere

*Audrie & Daisy
Bonni Cohen, Jon Shenk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vHZ-4AOuTo
 By weaving together the stories of two teenage girls, this film examines the devastating intersections of sexual assault and social media. (Social Awareness, Psychological)

*The Bad Kids
Keith Fulton, Lou Pepe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E__ZxVG1510
 At a Mojave Desert high school, intrepid educators work to connect with at-risk students. Can their commitment help break the shattering effects of poverty and abuse? (Education, Psychological)

The Ballad of Fred Hersch
Charlotte Lagarde, Carrie Lozano
 This understated portrait of one of today’s greatest jazz pianists illuminates the creative process of a musical genius and the challenges of life as an AIDS survivor. (Music) World Premiere

Isabelle Tollenaere https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acHXvDu-Elw
 An essay in four chapters, this mysterious exploration of the footprints of war reveals European landscapes in which military past and peaceful present converge. (Experimental) US Premiere

The Black Belt
Margaret Brown
 In 2015, Alabama closed 31 DMVs, wiping out access to identification cards in Alabama’s Black Belt. This short follows a mobile unit traveling county to county to help register voters. (Short) (Political Action)

Call Me Marianna (Mów mi Marianna)
Karolina Bielawska https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9K77FNaQg78
 As she embarks on a quest to become herself, Polish transgender woman Marianna must summon inner strength and make immeasurable sacrifices. (LGBT)

City of Trees
Brandon Kramer https://vimeo.com/117641253
 At the height of the recession, a stimulus-funded “green jobs” training program in Washington, D.C., throws racial tensions and the messiness of nonprofit work into sharp focus. (Social Awareness)

Clínica de Migrantes: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness Maxim Pozdorovkin
 This moving examination of immigration and health care focuses on the work of Puentes de Salud, a volunteer-run clinic that provides medical services to the uninsured Latino community of South Philadelphia. (Social Awareness) World Premiere (Short)

Dancing for You (Dans for livet)
Erlend E. Mo
 Inspired by her granddad’s valiant struggle with cancer, 12-year-old Vilde wants to be the first female champion of Halling, a Norwegian folk dance traditionally reserved for men. (Short) (Dance)

Dixie Land
Roman Bondarchuk https://vimeo.com/49243955
 Under the mentorship of a beloved octogenarian teacher, four members of a Ukrainian youth brass band learn American tunes—and dream big dreams—in a post-Soviet landscape. (Music) World Premiere

Figure (Figura)
Katarzyna Gondek https://vimeo.com/117641253
 This dreamlike meditation follows the creation of a massive sculpture from fabrication to transportation, documenting its journey to the snowy hill where it will remain. (Short) (Experimental)

Following Seas
Tyler J. Kelley, Araby Williams http://www.the-jetty.com/following-seas-trailer/
 A sailing family makes 20 ocean voyages over two decades. This vivid firsthand account of years on the open seas brings their adventures to life through their own 16mm footage. (Expedition) World Premiere

Forever, Chinatown James Q. Chan
 Artist Frank Wong’s exquisitely detailed dioramas of the Chinatown of his childhood serve as portals to the past in a rapidly changing San Francisco. (Experimental) World Premiere

Clay Tweel http://deadline.com/2016/01/steve-gleason-als-new-orleans-saints-sundance-video-1201688326/
 Within weeks of being diagnosed with ALS, former NFL defensive back Steve Gleason finds out that he and his wife are expecting their first child. Gleason follows his decision to live, for his family and for others fighting the disease. (Sports, Social Awareness)

*God Knows Where I Am
Todd Wider, Jedd Wider https://vimeo.com/155436707
 This absorbing feature laces together varied perspectives and moves through time to unravel the mystery surrounding a woman found dead in a vacant New Hampshire farmhouse. (Crime)

Golden Age (Kulta-aika)
Maija Blåfield https://vimeo.com/116165958
 A self-proclaimed “documentation of remembering and forgetting,” this enigmatic short recollects and reimagines over 116 hours of footage the filmmaker shot over several decades. (Short) (Biographical)

*The Ground We Won
Christopher Pryor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1n1ZblP1jk
 In the tiny farming town of Reporoa, New Zealand, a community rugby squad vows to come back from a losing season and go undefeated. (Sports)

Heavy Fog Tonight
Nathan Reich http://trailer.chanels.top/kiki-2016-movie-hd-trailer/

 The chief engineer of a steam-driven power plant creates installations that whistle and mist. As this unconventional artist grapples with retirement, a celebratory show takes place. (Short) (Biographical)

*Hooligan Sparrow
Nanfu Wang https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ll77doJoaTE 
Nanfu Wang documents Chinese activist Ye Haiyan (aka Sparrow) as she protests against a school principal’s sexual abuse of young girls, leading both Wang and Sparrow to become targets of government intimidation. (Social Awareness)

Horizons (Horizontes)
Eileen Hofer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcB7jGD60PY
 Three Cuban ballerinas, each from a different generation, take center stage in this mesmerizing celebration of dance and discipline. (Dance)

A House Without Snakes
Daniel Koehler
 In Botswana, two young men must wrestle with the choice between honoring ancestral traditions or following modern possibilities. (Ethnography) World Premiere (Short)

*I, Destini
Nicholas Pilarski, Destini Riley https://vimeo.com/133660147
 This animated short takes us inside the experiences of a young woman as she confronts the wrenching impact incarceration has had on her family. (Psychological, Biographical) World Premiere (Short)

In Pursuit of Silence
Patrick Shen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64c_1MtQUlM
 Challenging Western society’s most basic preconceptions about the nature of silence, this film conjures up innovative ways to help us hear what we’ve been missing. (Social Awareness)

Ceyda Torun https://vimeo.com/152779982
 Strutting amid the many glittering wonders of Istanbul are countless feline wanderers. Here, we glimpse the private lives of these independent creatures, as well as the humans who’ve become attached to them. (Animals)

Sara Jordenö http://trailer.chanels.top/kiki-2016-movie-hd-trailer/
 This entrance into the world of voguing contrasts the energy and pulse of ball culture with the intimate and emotional stories of a group of young LGBTQ people of color. (LGBT)

Gina Abatemarco https://vimeo.com/127074296 
As rising sea levels and coastal erosion encroach upon their Arctic community, the Iñupiat Eskimos of a tiny Alaskan island fight to hold on to their homeland and their culture. (Ethnography) 
North American Premiere

La Laguna
Aaron Schock 
Amidst the rainforests of southern Mexico, a Mayan boy faces the impending loss of the freedom of his childhood as family pressures and economic realities close in. (Ethnography) 
World Premiere (Short)

*Life, Animated
Roger Ross Williams http://www.lifeanimateddoc.com/film/
 The family of a young autistic boy, who couldn’t speak for years, discovered a way to communicate with him through his treasured Disney films. Together, they transform the lines of animated characters into a language of love. (Psychological)

The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano
Joshua Seftel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=658j6QR695o (NSFW)
 As photographer Phil Toledano obsesses over his mortality, he stages elaborate shoots to enact the myriad dark ways he might age, deteriorate, and die. (Short) (Biographical)

*Motley’s Law
Nicole N. Horanyi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPNOk83rgaY
 Kimberley Motley is a former beauty queen, mother of three—and the only foreign, only female lawyer licensed to litigate in Afghan courts. (Biographical, Ethnography)

*Mr. Gaga
Tomer Heymann https://vimeo.com/139907441
 Revealing rehearsals and passionate performances bring to light the genius and complexities of Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin, an artist who has helped revolutionize contemporary dance. (Dance)

The Mute’s House (Beit Ha’Ilemet)
Tamar Kay
 An intimate look into the lives of energetic eight-year-old Yousef and his deaf mother, Sahar, the last Palestinian residents of a deserted apartment building in the Israeli-controlled district of Hebron. (Biographical, Social Awareness) North American Premiere (Short)

Kim A. Snyder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF7YbDlqPWQ
 The bereaved community of Newtown, Connecticut, still reeling from the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, opens up about the aftermath of an unthinkable tragedy. (Social Awareness, Psychological, Political Action)

Penny Lane https://vimeo.com/152525073
 This wildly fantastic story of Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, whose goat testicle impotence cure and million-watt radio station brought him fame and fortune, spins together animation, archival footage, and an unreliable narrator. (Biographical)

*Off the Rails
Adam Irving
 http://www.offtherailsmovie.com/#TRAILER Asperger’s syndrome and an obsession with New York City transit compel Darius McCollum to commandeer hundreds of trains and buses, landing him in jail 32 times. (Biographical) World Premiere

Out Run
S. Leo Chiang, Johnny Symons https://vimeo.com/92774362 
Follow transgender pioneer Bemz Benedito and Ladlad, the only LGBT political party in the world, on the campaign trail as they seek Congressional seats in the Philippines. (LGBT) 
World Premiere

The Peacemaker
James Demo http://documentaries.org/cid-films/the-peacemaker/
 Padraig O’Malley has dedicated his life to negotiating agreements between leaders of war-torn regions across the world. The Peacemaker follows him through years of this important work, revealing its deep ties to his personal life. (Biographical) World Premiere

Amy Nicholson https://vimeo.com/141202496
 At once hilarious and heartfelt, Pickle chronicles a series of pets with bizarre afflictions through the recollections of a couple who loved them regardless. (Short) (Biographical)

Mike Plunkett https://vimeo.com/146051605 
The discovery of vast lithium reserves beneath Bolivia’s dazzling Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, threatens to challenge salt-gatherer Moises’s traditional way of life. (Ethnography) North American Premiere

Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B47MbpPuz7A
 As her family attempts to sell her as a bride, a determined Afghani refugee living in Iran fights to keep her dream of becoming a rap star alive. (Music, Ethnography)

*Speaking Is Difficult
AJ Schnack
This staggering indictment of gun violence in America contrasts serene present-day footage of sites of mass shootings with recordings of 911 calls. (Short) (Experimental, Social Awareness)

Starless Dreams (Royahaye Dame Sobh)
Mehrdad Oskouei http://www.critic.de/film/starless-dream-9210/trailer/
 With rawness and candor, young women in an Iranian juvenile detention center reflect on the crimes they have committed and the harsh circumstances that have shaped them. (Psychological)

Jasmijn Schrofer https://vimeo.com/131421447
 This visual poem, a hypnotic invocation of Islamic Sufi spiritual traditions, invites the viewer into the trancelike rhythms and movements of a quest for enlightenment. (Ethnography, Experimental) North American Premiere (Short)

Eleanor Mortimer https://vimeo.com/117733163
 In Gibraltar, tensions flare when unruly monkeys intrude upon the domesticated lifestyle that humans have built up around them. (Short) (Animals)

Peter Bo Rappmund https://vimeo.com/112672912
 Nature and industry clash and converge in this time-lapse experiment that follows the path of the 800-mile Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. (Experimental)

Dawn Porter https://vimeo.com/126178772
 When Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws restrict access to abortion in southern states, a group of passionate clinic workers and lawyers wage a fight to preserve a woman’s right to choose. (Social Awareness, Political Action)

When We Talk About KGB
Virginija Vareikyte, Maxi Dejoie https://vimeo.com/148422336
 Seven stories of former dissidents and KGB operatives in Vilnius, Lithuania, underscore the feelings of guilt, triumph, and loss that linger in a society once caught between ideology and regime. (Historical) US Premiere


All These Sleepless Nights
Michal Marczak http://www.indiewire.com/article/watch-exclusive-all-these-sleepless-nights-clip-teases-sundances-most-unconventional-documentary-20160120
 Over the course of a summer of endless parties and shimmering sensations, two Polish university students revel in and reel from the boundless possibilities of youth. (Experimental)

Author: The JT LeRoy Story
Jeff Feuerzeig
 The twisting, riveting tale of a gender-fluid author with a troubled past, who went on to become a literary sensation. (Biographical, LGBT)

Zhao Liang https://vimeo.com/137601039
 Dante’s Inferno meets industrialization in a breathtakingly cinematic allegory that explores the environmental ravages and human costs of coal mining in Inner Mongolia. (Experimental, Social Awareness)

By Sidney Lumet
Nancy Buirski https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOAoCng4qW0
 Weaving an interview with the renowned director together with rich selections from his oeuvre, this film highlights Lumet’s career and life through his own recollections. (Biographical)

Don’t Blink – Robert Frank
Laura Israel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-W2s-U3QBw
 This energetic portrait of the acclaimed photographer and filmmaker moves between past and present to capture an array of Frank’s extraordinary images and bear witness to his creative process. (Biographical)

*The Fear of 13
David Sington https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ja1wrRAAm4 
Part one-man show, part confessional, this gripping film allows a convicted murderer who spent two decades on death row to tell his own story—leaving the truth open to interpretation. (Crime)

The Illinois Parables
Deborah Stratman
 This visionary compilation unpacks the state of Illinois in eleven chapters, spanning different histories to explore social attachments to religion, violence, and the land itself. (Historical)

The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith
Sara Fishko
 From 1957 to 1965, an obsessive photographer documented the jazz musicians who stopped by his Manhattan loft to play all night. (Music)

Kate Plays Christine
Robert Greene http://www.traileraddict.com/kate-plays-christine/featurette-meet-the-artists
 Actress Kate Lyn Sheil relocates to Sarasota, Florida, to research her role as Christine Chubbuck, the television news reporter who committed suicide on air in 1974. (Biographical, Psychological)

Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World
Werner Herzog https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pv8Qj0Vkbo
 Werner Herzog’s heady, playful treatise on technology in the modern age takes us from the inception of the Internet to the future of artificial intelligence. (Social Awareness)

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
Bob Hercules, Rita Coburn Whack http://hollywoodlife.com/2016/01/26/maya-angelou-and-still-i-rise-documentary-sundance-debut/
 Through interviews with friends and family, and a wealth of archival footage, this luminous biography traces the immense influence of the poet, performer, and activist. (Biographical, Historical)

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble
Morgan Neville https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjrILQproKU
 Traversing continents and cultures, the cellist and his international music group demonstrate the power of artistic collaboration through performances and personal stories. (Music)

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You
Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkO6Jqfavw0
 The legendary, influential king of 1970s sitcoms reflects on his life, his work, and the profound shift in national consciousness fomented by his groundbreaking television shows. (Biographical)

*Presenting Princess Shaw
Ido Haar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMXGIch82ZU
 Video blogger and aspiring singer Samantha Montgomery is unaware she has a follower and fan in the form of an enigmatic Israeli composer, whose unforgettable YouTube mashups might just help Samantha achieve her dreams. (Music, Biographical)

*Raising Bertie
Margaret Byrne https://vimeo.com/92845352
 In this longitudinal portrait of coming of age, three young men in rural Bertie County, North Carolina, persevere against poverty, discrimination, and unemployment. (Biographical, Ethnography) World Premiere

Rebel Citizen
Pamela Yates https://vimeo.com/145326724
 The late cinematographer and director Haskell Wexler looks back on his body of work to talk about key moments from his powerful films and their lasting political, and personal, impact. (Biographical, Historical)

Jennifer Peedom https://vimeo.com/139654857
 In 2014, an avalanche on Mt. Everest took the lives of 16 Sherpas. With stunning visuals, this on-the-ground film reveals the complex forces leading up to the tragic accident and the tumultuous negotiations that follow. (Expedition, Social Awareness)

Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru
Joe Berlinger
 A riveting behind-the-scenes look at the well-known business strategist’s once-a-year seminar “Date With Destiny,” where some 2,500 attendees prepare to change their lives. (Biographical)

*Two Trains Runnin’
Sam Pollard https://vimeo.com/121266222
 Featuring artful animation and performances by Gary Clark Jr. and Lucinda Williams, this story of the search for two forgotten blues singers takes us to Mississippi during the height of the civil rights movement. (Historical) World Premiere

Unlocking the Cage
Chris Hegedus, DA Pennebaker https://vimeo.com/149320749
 Having devoted his career to fighting for greater legal rights for nonhuman animals, attorney Steven Wise and his colleagues at the Nonhuman Rights Project launch a history-making lawsuit arguing for captive chimpanzees’ right to personhood. (Animals, Social Awareness)

Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg http://www.traileraddict.com/weiner-2016/featurette-meet-the-artists
 With unparalleled access to the candidate, Weiner follows disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner’s 2013 campaign for mayor of New York City and intensely navigates new political scandal as it unfolds. (Biographical, Historical)

The Full Frame Festival runs from April 7-10. Tickets go on sale April 1.

If you’re trying to figure out whether you want to embark on a certain career path, or if you’re trying to find out how one breaks into that same career field and then progresses through it, I think it’s helpful to listen to the stories of people who have walked that path before.

That’s why, a few weeks ago I emailed some blogging developers that I’d been talking to in my current research process, and I asked them if they would be willing to share a short and sweet version of their personal career journeys. I was excited when three of them generously offered to write these from scratch for me.

After reading them, I think you’ll agree that they would be effective in helping guide and inspire any person who’s looking at the software engineering field for their career.

Arian Celina, Software Architect


I started to feel an interest for programming in my early teenage years, but at the beginning, it looked a bit cryptic to me. When I was 16, I decided to give it a try. At that time I tried to learn C/C++, but apparently that didn’t come easily to me and I didn’t grasp the essence of it. After two years I decided to give it a second try, and started my bachelor studies in computer science and continued the studies to a master’s degree as well. Ever since, programming has been the love of my life.

During the last year of my bachelor studies, just before graduating, I got my first job as a programmer in an international bank, and my position has evolved from Programmer to Software Architect - my position today. I continuously upgrade my skills with industry certifications and stay up to date by teaching myself about emerging technologies.

I think the biggest factor that helped me reach the position I am in today is teaching. I have taught programming for four years now. Teaching has helped me in two ways: 1) It pushes me to learn more in order to teach students better 2) I believe in the philosophy that sharing is how we learn more ourselves.

The second biggest factor that helped me a lot is experience. Programming is all about writing code and you need extensive experience there. Working as a freelancer helped me a lot in this regard. Freelancing enabled me to get projects with different focuses, a wide variety of requirements, and different implementations. Freelance projects also serve to test yourself on managing software projects, which is an important skill for software architects.

Basically, to evolve as a software developer, you have to teach yourself how to learn and how to challenge yourself continuously with different approaches to software development. I see software development as a form of art, and you have to write and read a lot of code before you start to generate your own insights.

Robert MacLean, Senior Developer


When I was 14 I got my first computer. It was a second hand 286, and all I wanted to do was play games on it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have many games, which meant that in boredom I started to look at all the commands on the machine (it was DOS 5, and came with a great manual). I learned a lot about how computers work and how to break them. I found GW-Basic on it and it had a sample game, which I played and then started to edit. I didn’t think of myself as a programmer yet, more of a fiddler. I mentioned this to an older friend who introduced me to Pascal and from there I started to write programs.

A lot of my initial education was self taught. Being pre-internet and living in South Africa meant I had to take a lot of trips to the library to get anything they had. I did computer science in high school, but didn’t learn much new there. I did a short course on Delphi after high school which was very interesting and taught me a lot about databases. From there it was really all on the job learning. I found the best resources are blogs and websites (I still read almost 100 a day, including DZone) which give you a lot of informationand build new skills.

My first job was in support for a web hosting company, so if your server or website went down - you would phone me and I would reboot the box or something similar. We installed a GSM modem in the server room so we could get a SMS notification on the weekends if servers failed. My boss at the time asked me to develop software that would allow clients to send SMS’s through it too. From there, I started doing both support and development for the hosting company.

Eventually I met some people who encouraged me to build my own startup. When things first began, I was basically doing all of the jobs (software dev, support, networks, etc…). That was a great experience where I learned so much about tech businesses. However, the startup failed and I found myself working as a junior developer for a Microsoft Partner doing CRM work, something I’d never heard of before. I worked hard there and eventually was put in charge of the development team. Since the start of my work at Microsoft, I have done some other jobs, all of which emerged from networking and having those people ask me to work with them - which has been very humbling and exciting. Today I am a senior developer at Microsoft working on making sure Africa has amazing apps and that the talent pool of developers in Africa is increased.

David Dossot, Director of Architecture


My journey is littered with paper. Let me explain.

My first computer was a paper one, the so-called Ordinapoche, which was the French version of the CARDIAC. This got me thinking about the possibilities of computing. My first real program was also paper driven: a friend of mine was lucky enough to have a TRS-80 so I would write programs on paper during class and he would bring me the printouts back the next day!

I’ve quickly been able to get my hands on a ZX-81, then own a pair of ZX Spectrums (these computers cost a fortune and would fry easily). In February 1984, I got my first program published: again it was on paper. At that time, people were buying magazines containing printed programs that they would spend hours typing out just to play the programs.

At university, it was all about IBM terminals and mainframe. And mountains of printed manuals. More paper! Then came the abysmal horrors of Windows for Workgroup, and all its technically challenged successors. I recovered from this long tunnel of pain with writing open source, blog posts (it used to be a thing), and articles for magazines (the ones that used to be printed on, guess what, paper). In my architectural journey, I went through mainframe, client/server, n-tier, and finally distributed systems. This led to more writing, and this time it was full-fledged books for which even more paper was needed!

Programming involves a lot of typing: to code the software, to write about it, to answer questions. And as you can see, it can also involve a lot of paper. But more importantly, when it’s fueled by a passion that started when I was a kid, it can be years and years of fun.