FULL FRAME Documentary Film Festival

  • Des Moines
  • Art Center
  • 4700 Grand Ave
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • 515.277.4405
  • Hours | Directions

  • John & Mary Pappajohn
  • Sculpture Park
  • 13th and Grand Ave
  • Downtown
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Hours | Directions

FULL FRAME Documentary Film Festival

Friday, October 15 / 6:30 pm
Saturday, October 16 / 11 am and 2 pm (not a repeat of October 15 films)
Both programs are FREE and will be held in Levitt Auditorium.
All films were selected with an adult audience in mind.

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival supports the documentary form and community by showcasing the contemporary work of established and emerging filmmakers, and by preserving film heritage through archival efforts and continued exhibition of classic documentaries. The Festival is held in Durham, North Carolina each spring over a four-day period, screening approximately 100 films annually. The Festival Board of Directors includes Martin Scorsese, Ken Burns, D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus, Sheila Nevins, and Sam Pollard among other notable film and arts figures. The Festival receives over 1,000 submissions to its NEW DOCS: Films in Competition category each year, 65 of which are then selected for exhibition and awards eligibility. Guests of the Art Center festival will see selections from Full Frame’s award-winning films. See below for complete film line-up.

Friday, October 15

  • The Poot

    Elham Asadi, director, Iran
    2009, 42 minutes

    The Poot serves as a beautifully crafted tribute to the ancient Iranian tradition of carpet weaving, documenting the detail and precision that goes into each hand-loomed creation. No part of the process is overlooked: plants are ground into a range of colorful dyes, sheep are sheared and their wool spun into yarn, which is then plunged into enormous dye baths; plans for the next intricate pattern are diligently designed, rhythmic weaving turns string into mat, and a beautiful artifact takes shape before our eyes. In this pure visual treat, stunning cinematography and an ambient soundscape come together to celebrate handmade work in an age of mass-production.


  • The Poodle Trainer

    Vance Malone, director, USA
    2009, 7 minutes

    Irina Markova cannot imagine any life other than training poodles, large and small, under the circus big top. In her passionate devotion to these fluffy cream and caramel colored dogs, we see the dedication of an artist and the symbiosis between trainer and performer. Beautiful cinematography and a wistful score complete this brief portrait of a woman and the glittery fulfillment of her dreams.

  • The Invention of Dr. Nakamats

    Kaspar Astrup Schröder, director, Denmark
    2009, 57 minutes

    Yoshiro Nakamats, Japanese inventor extraordinaire, is almost 80, but he plans to live until he is 144. In his native country, he is an offbeat cultural phenomenon, complete with his own fan club. He holds 3,357 patents (compare that to Thomas Edison’s 1,093!), and was instrumental in the development of the floppy disc. He trusts his sense of smell to identify a good camera, and his best ideas come to him underwater, so he spends lots of time at the bottom of the pool. He realizes his ways are unconventional, but he is keenly committed to maintaining his image as a dignified inventor and shrewd businessman, custom suits included. Filmmaker Kaspar Astrup Schröder interweaves Nakamats' often revealing, and rarely modest, reflections on his own inventive genius with entertaining, occasionally hilarious examples of his unlikely inventions and antics. The result is a fun-loving exploration of the human capacity for creativity and invention.


Saturday, October 16 / 11 am

  • Seltzer Works

    Jessica Edwards, director, USA
    2010, 7 minutes

    This captivating short documentary plunges us into the fading world of the seltzer water business. Meet Kenny Gomberg, third-generation owner of the Gomberg Seltzer Works in Brooklyn, the last remaining seltzer maker in the city. Regular consumers of seltzer water are a dying breed, and rare is the sight of the seltzer man delivering the thick glass bottles right to the customer’s doorstep. But the dedicated laborers at Gomberg take great pride in their work and the details involved in creating real seltzer (a far cry from the cheap imitation found in plastic bottles at the grocery store). In a delightful instance of cinematic synesthesia, the filmmaker’s creative visuals and effervescent audio evoke the physical experience of drinking the bubbly water and make you long for a throat-tingling spritz. Caution: Prepare for an overwhelming sense of thirst after watching this one!


  • Louis Sullivan: 
    The Struggle for American Architecture

    Mark Richard Smith, director, USA
    2010, 97 minutes
    Post-screening Q&A with Mark Richard Smith
    immediately following screening.

    This tribute to architect Louis Sullivan tells a sweeping story with a wealth of visual detail. The rise and fall of Sullivan’s career originates with the 1871 Chicago fire, which made the city a blank slate for ambitious architects. In the late 1800s, Sullivan, who had made his way west after a rigorous École des Beaux-Arts education, created an authentically American architecture at a time when most buildings aspired only to knock off European styles. His commitment to originality led him first to the pinnacle of success with notable early skyscrapers and later to a swift decline due to changing customer tastes and an economic depression. Though his late-career “jewel box” banks were a triumph, Sullivan died penniless. Sullivan’s extraordinary ornamental designs set him apart as an artist. According to Frank Lloyd Wright, who was Sullivan’s chief draftsman for seven years, Sullivan “could draw as beautifully as he could think.”



Saturday, October 16 / 2 pm

  • The Most Dangerous Man in America:
    Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

    Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith, directors, USA
    2009, 94 minutes

    A study of paradox and individual politics, The Most Dangerous Man in America tells the fascinating story of Daniel Ellsberg. The former Marine and State Department analyst served as an architect of the Vietnam War while also protesting it—living two lives until he made the fateful and historic decision to release the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times. Fallout from the whistle-blowing riveted the nation, as newspapers faced court orders preventing publication of the documents and Ellsberg was brought to trial on espionage charges. Nominated for an Academy Award, the film revives the tension of the Watergate era and examines a man and a country at a crossroads.