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Your Guide to Full Frame Film Festival

Documentaries are the stuff of dreams. See future Oscar winners and inspiring short and feature-length films at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival right here in Durham.

Posted By Kristin Bedinger on Feb 09, 2024

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is a top international festival for feature-length and short nonfiction films. The four-day festival offers indoor and outdoor screenings of nearly 100 films, plus panel discussions, parties and social activities from morning until night. Within just a few city blocks, the festival draws thousands of film professionals and fans to take in screenings, take part in conversations, make connections and build community. Full Frame is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and, though it has earned the nickname "the filmmaker's festival," it's a fun and approachable festival for anyone with an interest in documentary film.


Festival Details

When: April 4-7, 2024
The Carolina Theatre and other venues in downtown Durham

The full program lineup will be announced March 12 when pass and package holders can reserve tickets to individual screenings. Single tickets will go on sale March 28. With Fun Passes starting at just $100, Full Frame is an accessible way to experience the international filmmaking community.

Purchase Passes, Packages and Tickets

Two women hold movie tickets up to the camera in front of the Durham Convention Center.

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Photo: Huth Photo

Where to Stay for Full Frame

The Carolina Theatre is located in the heart of downtown Durham, a walkable district with plenty of new things to see and do. There are five hotels within walking distance of the Carolina Theatre. In 2024, Full Frame falls on the same weekend as the Dreamville music festival in Raleigh, which could impact room availability.

Full Frame has partnered with several Durham hotels to offer special rates for this year's festival.

  • Durham Marriott City Center Marriott City Center is connected to the Carolina Theatre, offering ease of access to festival activities.
  • 21c Museum Hotel Explore the hotel’s art collection and snag a selfie with the 21c mascot – a hot magenta penguin (.1 miles from the Carolina Theatre).
  • The Durham Hotel A mid-century boutique hotel with a celebrated restaurant and rooftop bar (.2 miles from the Carolina Theatre).
  • Aloft Durham Downtown Located near the American Tobacco Campus, Aloft offers a modern aesthetic, heated pool, and proximity to plenty of dining and entertainment options (.4 miles from the Carolina Theatre).
  • Residence Inn Durham McPherson/Duke University Medical Center Area The newly constructed Residence Inn has apartment-style suites, heated pool, and fitness center near the Brightleaf District (.6 miles from the Carolina Theatre).
  • Unscripted Durham An eclectic hotel with a rooftop deck, pool, and unique cocktail and cuisine options. (.1 miles from the Carolina Theatre).

Check Rates and Dates and Book Your Stay

Where to Eat and Drink During Full Frame

When you attend the festival, you'll be steps away from the restaurants and bars in downtown Durham's renowned dining scene. Our picks can help you navigate the grab-and-go options you can snag between films and celebrated hot spots where you can unwind after a day of screenings. A stroll around the surrounding blocks will reveal many more excellent options for dining and socializing.

  • The Restaurant and The Roof at The Durham The Restaurant at The Durham Hotel is a popular all-day hangout where guests are welcome to relax over conversation or work with coffee, pastries, lunch or a cocktail, and transitions into a full-service restaurant in the evening. The Roof is a casual spot for cocktails and bites with great sunset views (.2 miles from the Carolina Theatre).
  • Mothers & Sons Trattoria Specializing in handmade pasta, antipasti, and traditional Italian dishes. Dinner only (.2 miles from the Carolina Theatre).
  • Beyu Caffè This restaurant and café is the perfect place to grab brunch, lunch, or a latte to unwind between showings. (.2 miles from the Carolina Theatre).
  • M Sushi An upscale sushi restaurant that offers an authentic Omakase dining experience (.2 miles from the Carolina Theatre).
  • Bulldega Urban Market A neighborhood grocery that offers the essentials alongside grab-and-go meal options (.3 miles from the Carolina Theatre).
  • Littler A dinner-only restaurant serving inventive dishes in an intimate environment (.3 miles from the Carolina Theatre).
  • NanaSteak A modern steakhouse in a chic space with abundant natural light (.4 miles from the Carolina Theatre).
  • Pizzeria Toro A bustling spot where brick oven-baked pizzas are topped with seasonal ingredients and the kale salad is one of Durham's most popular dishes (.2 miles from the Carolina Theatre).
  • Cheeni This Indian Food Emporium is the second location of James Beard nominee Preeti Waas's Raleigh restaurant and serves homestyle Indian food for lunch and dinner (.2 miles from the Carolina Theatre).
  • Plum Southern Kitchen & Bar Elevated Southern cuisine made with local ingredients. A beautifully appointed neighborhood restaurant with thoughtfully crafted dishes, cocktails and homemade desserts (.4 miles from the Carolina Theatre).

About the Author

Kristin Bedinger - Sr. Manager of Content
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Lover of plants, books, wine, cooking for my friends and hanging with my pup, Arlo. Find me trying every new bar and restaurant in Durham the moment it opens.