The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is an annual international event dedicated to the exhibition of nonfiction cinema. Based in Durham, North Carolina, the festival gathers thousands of enthusiastic fans from around the globe to celebrate the documentary art form, engage in meaningful conversation, and experience the impact of exceptional nonfiction films firsthand.

In light of the global pandemic, Full Frame will present an online showcase of documentary films to take place Thursday, April 7, through Sunday, April 10. Full Frame remains hopeful of the possibility of an in-person festival component in Durham, North Carolina, and will provide updates as more information is available.

Full Frame’s 2022 program will feature a smaller lineup of new titles, approximately 20 features and 15 shorts. The festival will also present a variety of awards with cash prizes for the 2022 edition. More information will be available at the time of acceptance.

The festival is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), and serves as a qualifying festival for the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Documentary and the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. The Presenting Sponsor of the festival is Duke University.

Along with offering more than $50,000 in cash prizes, Full Frame collaborates with Duke University to archive the festival's award-winning films. Each award-winning filmmaker will have the opportunity to preserve an exhibition copy of his or her film in the Full Frame Archive in the Archive of Documentary Arts in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Duke University.

A list of prizes awarded at the 2021 festival is included below. Award categories and cash prizes for the 2022 festival are subject to change.

Sponsored by The Reva and David Logan Foundation

Provided by Drs. Barbra and Andrew Rothschild

Provided by the Center for Documentary Studies

The CDS Filmmaker Award recognizes documentary films that combine originality and creativity with firsthand experience in examining central issues of contemporary life and culture. In keeping with the Center's mission, the award was created to honor and support documentary artists whose works are potential catalysts for education and change.

Provided by the Charles E. Guggenheim Family

This prize is awarded to a first-time documentary feature filmmaker as a way to foster the work of new directors, young and old. It recognizes the extraordinary care that Charles Guggenheim took with the filmmakers whom he mentored and counseled throughout the filmmaking process.

Sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University

This award is presented to a short film that highlights documentary as a formally inventive artistic medium. The prize recognizes significant innovation and excellence in areas including cinematography, sound design, style, structure, and other aesthetic dimensions.

Sponsored by Duke University

The President's Award recognizes up-and-coming filmmakers; the prize is awarded to the best student film.

Sponsored by the Julian Price Family Foundation

This award is presented to a film that addresses a significant human rights issue in the United States. By inspiring advocacy, increasing awareness, and promoting equity and justice, the winning film will honor the legacy of Kathleen Bryan Edwards's passion and activism for human rights.

Short and feature documentary films completed after January 1, 2021, are eligible for Full Frame 2022. Films 40 minutes or less are considered shorts. Films 41 minutes or longer are considered features. Full Frame does not accept entries with total running times over 180 minutes.

To take part in the online festival, films should be available for a minimum of 500 online views. Films will be presented to audiences on demand and are expected to be available for the duration of the festival or until the number of agreed upon screenings has been reached. Participating filmmakers will have the option of geoblocking their films to the United States and Territories of the United States.

Films screening in the online festival will receive a rental fee for their participation. Each filmmaking team will also receive passes to view other titles showing as part of the online festival. Filmmakers will have the opportunity to participate in filmmaker Q&As. More information will be available at the time of acceptance.

We strongly encourage filmmakers to submit the most complete version of their films possible. We cannot guarantee that replacement cuts will be viewed. If submitting a rough cut, please indicate in the application what elements are still incomplete: temporary sound, temporary graphics, missing scenes, etc. To discuss the timing of submitting a rough cut, please email

Full Frame accepts FilmFreeway Secure Online Screeners or Vimeo links. Vimeo links are preferred. Screening links must be received at the time of submission, and our programming team will review the original screener received. Full Frame cannot guarantee that updated versions of films will be reviewed, but links to new cuts can be emailed to

For the 2022 submission season, Full Frame is not accepting resubmissions. Please email with any questions.

Full Frame does not have a formal premiere requirement. When making final decisions, programmers do take a film’s exposure into consideration, especially prior screenings in North Carolina, wide play on the festival circuit, national television broadcast, or theatrical release.

Full Frame reviews every film submitted to the festival in its entirety. Vimeo’s tracking of loads and views is limited when views do not occur within the Vimeo player. When films are viewed via a third-party player, such as the FilmFreeway interface or on another streaming device, like Apple TV or Roku, Vimeo captures limited data. More information is available on the Vimeo Help Center.

Notifications regarding acceptance will be sent no later than March 11, 2022. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide individualized feedback to filmmakers.

If selected for Full Frame, exhibiting filmmaker (“Exhibitor”) represents and warrants that:

1. All persons who are featured in the film have given unrestricted permission for use of their images, words, and performances, waiving or assigning to Exhibitor all rights including but not limited to copyrights and moral rights.

2. To the extent any pre-existing material is used in the film that is not original to Exhibitor, except brief clips of video and/or audio material used only to the extent reasonably necessary for purposes of public criticism, commentary and documentary reporting relevant to the thesis of the film, Exhibitor has obtained unrestricted permission from all rights holders for use of the material in the film and for display and performance of the film.

3. To the extent any remaining rights relating to the film are owned by third parties, Exhibitor warrants that Exhibitor has all rights and permissions necessary to permit the showing of the film at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (a program of The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University referred to hereinafter, collectively, as “Full Frame”) and any other events sponsored by Full Frame at which Exhibitor agrees or has agreed the film may be exhibited.

4. All materials submitted to Full Frame are otherwise the original work of Exhibitor (and its employees, if any), and not of any third party.

5. Exhibitor has good and marketable title to the entire submitted work. Exhibitor shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless Full Frame from any and all liability, loss, costs, damage, judgment, or expense (including reasonable attorney’s fees) resulting from or arising in any way out of any such claims by any third parties that are based upon, or are the result of any breach of the warranties in this Exhibition Agreement.

6. The exhibited work may be used by Full Frame to promote the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Exhibitor grants Full Frame the right to use stills and/or titles, and information from the film for such promotional purposes.

Exhibitor’s submission of the online entry form constitutes full and complete acceptance of the terms hereof and that Exhibitor has read and complies with the 2022 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival Terms of Entry.

Overall Rating
  • I couldn't be more grateful to the effort this festival made in presenting my film to the public. The Q&A with Katelyn Liu was one of the best Q&As I have ever been a part of. It was clear from the onset that careful thought was put into the questions. On top of that, there was the beautiful writing of synopses, the programming, communication and so many other factors that went into screening this year's films. Thank you so much to Sadie and the team who went above and beyond at Full Frame 2022. My heart is full.

    April 2022
  • Michael Workman

    Love this festival. Sadie and the team are so warm and welcoming. The organization is top notch, there is close attention paid to the filmmaker experience. Screening here has helped put my films on the radar of distributors and web platforms. The programming is top notch. Programmers write a personalized synopsis for each film that is so beautiful and well written. It's both flattering and validating, and it's also much better written than anything I could write. It's these small details that really make this festival special. I will always submit my work here.

    April 2022