From Durham Herald, April 11, 2003

Film Festival opens to appreciative, awed audiences

"February One," story of sit-ins in Greensboro, gets rousing ovation
By Al Carson

Thousands of documentary buffs braved cold, wet windy weather in downtown Durham Thursday for the opening of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

From the first show, "February One," and on through "Seabiscuit," which was screened at 7pm, audiences at the Carolina Theatre were appreciative and sometimes awed.

Festival executive director Nancy Buirski, Durham Mayor Bill Bell, and famous jockey Steve Cauthen welcomed the packed house to Fletcher Hall and the featured evening show but documentary lovers had already partaken of a number of moving moments well before that.

The opener, "February One," is a powerful story of four young men who found their way into the history books 43 years ago at a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro. The story of the Greensboro Four was greeted with a warm response in sold out Fletcher Hall, with a mix of ages and genders and a number of school children among them.

The lunch counter sit -in the film focuses on was an integral part of the American Civil Rights Movement. After the showing, Franklin McCain of the Greensboro Four and executive producer Steven Channing took questions from the audience, which gave "February One," a rousing ovation at its conclusion.

The questioners were mainly students who wanted to know if McCain was afraid, how he felt at the sit-in and what he would have ordered had anyone asked.

He replied that he was angry at the system, but not afraid.

"I like to have some control and I had zero control," he recalled. "Anxious, yes: Angry, yes. Afraid? Never. When you are 17 or 18 years old, you are not afraid of anything."

As for what he would have ordered, he got a big laugh when he said, "Quite honestly, I had my eye on the pie."

Dawn Booker of Durham, who is participating in the Documentary Studies Program at Duke, called the film "awesome."

"He's from the generation my father is from," she said of McCain. "When I hear my father speak of that time period, and what took place then, and to be able to witness the film and all the archival footage…it was so well documented and pulled together so well and so distinctly. I was impressed."
Channing was a little wary of an 11am showing at the festival, but was pleased with the turnout and the fact lots of school children were able to attend.

"They did a wonderful job with outreach to the schools," he said. "Just think about the message. For those of my generation, your teaching to the choir. But for these young people to see the courage of those four young men…"

Channing said the youngsters were "pretty focused on what was going on, throughout," and added energy and excitement to the event.