The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival announced on Thursday [7] the full programme of its 16th edition including Apr 4 opening night screening Gideon’s Army.

The HBO documentary film premiered at Sundance and follows the personal stories of three young public defenders in the Deep South who risk everything to challenge biased assumptions in a strained criminal justice system.

After the screening of Gideon’s Army, two of the film’s real-life subjects, Brandy Alexander and Travis Williams, will participate in a moderated discussion with the film-makers.

“We are thrilled and honored to be the opening night selection of this celebrated and beloved festival,” said the film’s director Dawn Porter. “This is the 50th anniversary of the Gideon decision guaranteeing the right to counsel, and we are grateful to be able to share this film at such a prestigious event during the anniversary year.”

The New Doc competition features 51 films from across the US and the world, including Roger Ross Williams’ God Loves Uganda, which screened in competition at Sundance, and Joe Brewster’s American Promise, which won this year’s Sundance special jury prize. Competition entries are eligible for the Full Frame Audience Award.

The supplemental Invited Program features 24 out-of-competition documentaries, such as The Editor And The Dragon: Horace Carter Fights The Klan, about a smalltown newspaper editor in North Carolina who stands up to the KKK and wins the Pulitzer Prize, and The Last Shepherd, which tells of the last traveling shepherd in northern Italy.

“I love that over the course of four days, we have the opportunity to showcase the numerous innovative and exciting ways the documentary form continues to excel and evolve,” said festival director of programming Sadie Tillery.

“Some films are showing for the first time anywhere, while other titles have received accolades at other prestigious festivals. In the end, I simply hope these exceptional works will resonate with audiences as genuinely as they have with me. I’m honoured to be a part of bringing non-fiction’s best of the best to Durham.”

The festival is set to take place from Apr 4-7 in Durham, North Carolina.