Center for Documentary Studies

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival

Full Frame Festival Homepage
Full Frame Festival Films Page
Full Frame Festival Schedule Page
Full Frame Festival Schedule Page Mobile

Client Description

Considered to be one of the premier documentary film festivals in the United States, The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is a program of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Their mission is to enhance public understanding and appreciation of non-fiction film as a significant art form while making the films accessible to a wider audience.

Established in 1998, the multi-day festival, spread across multiple venues in downtown Durham, NC, is an international theatrical event featuring a wide range of non-fiction films. In addition to the festival, the Center for Documentary Studies provides additional programming across the state of North Carolina throughout the year.

The Challenge

The Festival had a website that did not reflect the caliber of films showcased in the festival. The site was also difficult to maintain and had an extensive need for manual coding, particularly within the programming schedule page. The Full Frame website was creating a poor mobile experience that was frustrating to any attendees attempting to access important information from the site during the festival

The new website needed to draw national attention in a saturated film festival market, while also delivering a compelling mobile experience to engage attendees before and during the festival. The Full Frame staff also expressed the need for a simpler site maintenance process, one flexible enough to support the need for changing content based around the different stages of the annual festival season. They wanted to take advantage of their website and use it as a tool to attract volunteers, donations, and supporters during the annual cycle.

The Solution

DesignHammer began with a robust discovery and planning process in collaboration with Festival staff in order to create a tailored plan for the new website. This extensive process included strategic consulting, a user survey, two rounds of card sorting, tree testing, and a full design phase. WordPress was selected to be the Content Management System for the website and was developed using a combination of community-contributed, and custom plugins programmed by DesignHammer staff.


The new website provided improved usability on both desktop and mobile browsers. Streamlined workflows allowed for auto-generation of festival schedules, as well as a greatly improved administrative system used by Festival staff for content management. With time freed up from laborious content entry, the Full Frame Festival staff could devote more time to creating content that would better connect with volunteers, donors and supporters throughout the year.


  • 2018 dotCOMM Awards: Honorable Mention
  • 2018 Hermes Creative Gold Award
  • 2017 Communicator Award of Distinction


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