Focus on Full Frame

April 1, 2008
Smoking and soaking: Trumbo in the tub

Smoking and soaking: Trumbo in the tub. Mitzi Trumbo

Renowned screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was called before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947 to testify on the influence of the Communist Party in Hollywood. After refusing to divulge information, he was convicted of contempt of Congress and blacklisted.

Trumbo is the subject of a documentary by director Peter Askin that traces the writer's journey from Hollywood royalty to blacklisted writer to Academy Award winner (in 1956, for The Brave One, written under a pseudonym). He was reinstated to the Writers Guild in 1960. The film, called, simply, Trumbo, has been selected to kick off this year's Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Duke and The New York Times are the main sponsors.

The festival will run from April 3 to 6 and will feature almost 100 films. The festival's selection committee has screened a record 1,200 submissions; it was to announce its final list on March 6.

In addition, the festival commissioned award-winning filmmaker Lourdes Portillo to curate a series of five or six films on the theme of migration. The series will examine the meaning of home as a place of origin and what happens when a person leaves home.

The festival will also honor filmmaker William Greaves with its 2008 Career Award. During his career, Greaves has worked as a director, writer, producer, editor, cameraman, actor, dancer, teacher, and songwriter.

After leaving a promising career as an actor, he produced and directed four feature films and scores of documentary shorts and television programs. Many of his films—Ali The Fighter, Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice, and Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey—explore the lives of extraordinary African Americans, both famous and forgotten.

Greaves' films have won more than seventy international film-festival awards, an Emmy, and four Emmy nominations. He was inducted into the Black Filmmakers' Hall of Fame in 1980.