Full Frame Film Festival Founder Screens Documentary and Offers Discussion at the Carolina Theatre of Durham

August 22, 2023 by Hanna Mercer

Nancy Buirski’s “Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy” Starts on August 26.

DURHAM, NC — August 22, 2023 — Full Frame Film Festival Founder, Nancy Buirski will screen her documentary, “Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy” at the Carolina Theatre August 26-27 and August 30-31. Buirski will offer a question-and-answer session following the August 26th 7:00 pm screening. The discussion will be moderated by the co-director of Full Frame Film Festival, Sadie Tillery.

Half a century after its release, “Midnight Cowboy” remains one of the most original and groundbreaking movies of the modern era. With beguiling performances from Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman as two loners who join forces out of desperation, blacklist survivor Waldo Salt’s brilliant screenplay, and John Schlesinger’s fearless direction, the 1969 film became the only X-rated film to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Its vivid and compassionate depiction of a more realistic, unsanitized New York City and its inhabitants paved the way for a generation’s worth of gritty movies with complex characters and adult themes.

But this is not a documentary about the making of “Midnight Cowboy,” it is about the deeply gifted and flawed people behind a dark and difficult masterpiece; New York City in a troubled time of cultural ferment; and the era that made a movie and the movie that made an era. Featuring extensive archival material and compelling new interviews, Buirski illuminates how one film captured the essence of a time and a place, reflecting a rapidly changing society with striking clarity.

“Midnight Cowboy is a tale of a city, of broken dreams and strivers, then and now,” says Buirski. “The film lives on not through its collapsing of social and cultural norms but through our everlasting potential for love and salvation, offering grace to the most desperate. In ‘Midnight Cowboy,’ one desperate soul tends to another out of compassion and their shared humanity. Only then do we know we are all savable, that everyone is worthy of love.”

“Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy” had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and its North American premiere at the Telluride Film Festival. Buirski has directed and produced many films which have screened at Full Frame including, “The Loving Story,” which was a recipient of a coveted Peabody Award and grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities; “Afternoon of a Faun,” “The Rape of Recy Taylor,” “By Sidney Lume,” and more.

Buirski founded and was the Director of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival for 10 years. Currently, she is an advisor for the Full Frame Film Festival.

Tickets for “Desperate Souls, Dark City and the Legend of Midnight Cowboy” are on sale at carolinatheatre.org and at the theater’s box office.




About The Carolina Theatre of Durham: 

Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which manages the city-owned Carolina Theatre at 309 W. Morgan Street, Durham, NC 27701. Carolina Theatre of Durham, Inc. is dedicated to presenting vibrant, thought-provoking film and live performances that contribute to the cultural and economic vitality of downtown Durham and the Triangle Region. More information at carolinatheatre.org. 


Contact: Jordan Hewitt Beard 

Senior Director of Marketing, Carolina Theatre of Durham 

(919) 560-3040 | jordan@carolinatheatre.org