I have joined the apostles of T/F and spread the gospel far and wide. I’ve been to festivals all over the world, but T/F is special. The audiences are passionate and engaged. The films are brilliantly curated. But, more than anything, there’s an incredible sense of community. My only regret of the Oscars was that I couldn’t go to True/False.
I LOVE True False! For filmmakers coming there it becomes almost surreal in a wonderful way - that there is this little utopian place - a whole town where people really, really love docs. A fantastic ambience - a wonderworld for film lovers. It's often an early stop in the life of a film on the festival circuit but should really be the last because it's extremely hard to beat.
When I brought my film to T/F, it was an experience unlike anything else: I was enveloped by a family of the most talented, driven, creative storytellers in the world. Every year since then, I have returned just to be a member of the audience, no movies of my own to show. That's when you feel the profound warmth of this festival -- and the stunning size of the family. Tens of thousands of people make their way to the middle of nowhere for the simple love of nonfiction films. They are the most generous, curious, critical, appreciative, unpretentious audience I've ever tucked in with. I won't ever miss it.
True/False is nirvana. When I went to True/False, I remembered what I sometimes forget: the unalloyed joy of making and watching docs.
My love for True/False runs deep - from the smart programming, passionate audiences, inspired buskers, and fabulous venues.
If there was one festival that I would recommend to anyone involved or interested in documentary filmmaking, it would be True/False. The whole town is alive with passionate debate about documentaries, the films they show are really well chosen and [they] were brilliant hosts.
T/F is like a great documentary: thoughtful and intelligent without the pretension; full of love and joy without being sappy: driving, fun and energetic while maintaining a brilliant pace. And full of unexpected surprises at just the right moments. And like any great film, it gives a feeling of vitality and leaves you wanting more.
I love True/False for what it lacks: pretentiousness. That alone would make it my favorite film festival. So it's almost ironically ostentatious they also program the best documentaries of the year, host incredibly fun parties and attract perhaps the most welcoming, engaged and enthusiastic audiences of any festival in the U.S.
True/False is all about loving movies in good company. Every screening is packed with people who are ready to laugh and to cry and to come out talking about what they've seen. And how many festivals do you get to attend where you actually want to see all the films? I got snowed in for an extra day and all I could think was: "this is great. I don't have to leave yet!
The indie film community is no longer divided between those who've heard or not heard of T/F, but between those who've drunk the Kool-Aid and those who've had...testimonies pushed on them like an elixir. The top documentarians and programmers and funders from around the world now routinely trek to Columbia, where they're joined by a multiplying contingent of film critics, sharing in the spoils of adventurous programming and campus-town culture. For True/False is rather explicitly about the blurring of lines-between documentary and narrative film, between local and international communities, and yes, between art and criticism.
The True/False Film Fest, a documentary-focused program that started this year’s run on Thursday, has become one of the most respected film festivals in the country, if not internationally.
By far the most intelligent and enjoyable festival of film I have been to. The range of films showed a real imagination in programming, and the festival managed to attract an extraordinary range of top-class filmmaking from around the world. And all this happened in a tiny town in the middle of America which was completely involved in the festival -- and also gave fantastic parties. It's a brilliant idea for a festival, completely unique, and I loved it.
Over the past few years, True/False has come to occupy an unshakable place in the hearts of many of us who make documentaries. Few festivals are guided by truer motives and none are organized by a team of people more deeply committed to documentaries.
How often does anything truly live up to expectations? How common is it for our false hopes to be dashed by too much hype? What a wonder to experience a weekend that went so far beyond our imaginings. We were beyond dazzled by the expert organization, warm reception and friendly audiences. True/False reminded me what our film community actually feels like and why I love it so much.
Thank you for the most profound and rewarding experience of my professional life.
It was all a carefully orchestrated art piece (where) I was subtly guided through events that made me think about the spirit of DIY combined with the strength of a community, about absurdity, sheer randomness, the fight with doc purism and what is true and false...If a new documentary movement is to be born anywhere in the US, it's going to be inspired by True/False.
Something of a cinematic miracle of the American Midwest, the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri enjoys a steadily spreading cult status among filmmakers and critics.
The relaxed vibe, all the unique ideas, the lack of pretentiousness, the great food, the music, the people, the parties, the films of course, some of which left me reeling - it was "hyggeligt" as they say in Copenhagen (translated unappealingly as "cozy" but in Denmark a real compliment). I thought I was going to make a fiction, but now I better make another doc before I get too old so I can try to get back...
The atmosphere of communal enthusiasm verges on the utopian...and leads to talk of Jonestown Kool-Aid—but the festival’s fun should not overshadow that it is programmed with discernment...T/F is to supporters and practitioners of formally ambitious documentary what Burning Man is to granola-heads and tech zillionaires.
Being part of the community that creates extraordinary places out of everyday Columbia is an experience I look forward to each year.
TF represented what I wish life was like everyday. Docs, people who make them, people who love them, parades, drinking, beautiful women, no bed times, accordion-playing gorillas. True/False was not only the best festival I've ever been to, but one of the finest moments of my life.
I've jetted from Cannes to Sundance to Toronto, but my favorite film festival is just down the road in Columbia, Mo. In just nine years, True/False has become not only the premier documentary showcase in America but the most purely enjoyable film event in the world.
I love all of the quirks that make it really feel like a FESTIVAL rather than just a group of screenings -- the music and the involvement of the town and the photo booth at the secret party, and ... You have found a way to inject that spirit into the DNA of the entire festival, so that, it seemed like (everything) had the same spirit of quality and whimsy and just unpretentious appreciation of people and stories and life.
The exemplary True/False festival...An advocate and a beacon for good filmmaking, period.
True/False has the energy and excitement that Telluride and TED had in their early days.
The more festivals I attend, the more my (already) intense love and appreciation of True/False grows. When people ask why I love it so much, I say 'because it's a festival, in the truest sense of the word. It's a celebration... of filmmaking, of music, of let's-get-togetherness. It's full of revelry, feasting, merrymaking, good conversation, provocation, significance and fun.
A real achievement -- and judging by the turn out at the films, one which the town embraced with open arms. It was an honour to be associated with T/F.
Your festival was a revelation. Thank you from the bottom of my normally skeptical docmaker's dark heart for showing me that docs remain inspirational, fun and something people will go and watch in a theater.
Without concern for premiere status or awards, True/False allows attendees to truly focus on the art and craft of documentary filmmaking. A deeply democratic spirit prevails - there is a reason why filmmakers make the trek to Columbia, leave glowing after the experience, and keep coming back. For myself, I went to True/False as a first -time filmmaker, but returned home as part of a much wider community.
Thanks for inviting me to utopia. I was moved to tears on many occasions, no lie, and I honestly felt like my internal emotional barometer just got re-calibrated. The people and the place are brilliant. The details were sparkling. This whole thing is worth fighting for!
Three things that make True/False the best US documentary festival. First, the perfect number of films. Second, a collegial, egalitarian, non-competitive environment for all the filmmakers. Third, the most stylish hooded sweatshirt.
True/False is one of the smartest and most original festivals in the U.S. More curated than programmed, it reminds me of a young Rotterdam Film Festival.
True/False feels handmade, curated. This is a warm, inviting festival... one-stop shopping for the most noteworthy nonfiction filmmaking happening in the world.
A little utopia. It has a great spirit, inspired and eclectic programming, audiences that are super excited to see movies and an all-star cast of out-of-town filmmakers.
Compressing a heady mix of filmgoing and socializing into a long weekend, the event seems both intensely curatorial and casually eccentric.
For all of us True/False was a real revelation: knowledgeable, appreciative audiences and an almost instant sense of community among the filmmakers.... The whole festival was marked by a thoughtful, hand-crafted feeling that cut right to the genuine.