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.
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.
My love for True/False runs deep - from the smart programming, passionate audiences, inspired buskers, and fabulous venues. Screening at the Missouri after the Free Agent Brass Band performed was one of my great joys of 2010.
For any documentarian, True/False is nirvana. You walk down the street and you are stopped by students and secretaries, college professors and construction workers, and they all want to talk to you about your film, the intricacies of its subject and the aesthetic choices made! When I went to True/False, I remembered what I sometimes forget: the unalloyed joy of making and watching docs.
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 exemplary True/False festival...An advocate and a beacon for good filmmaking, period.
True/False feels handmade, curated. This is a warm, inviting festival... one-stop shopping for the most noteworthy nonfiction filmmaking happening in the world.
Compressing a heady mix of filmgoing and socializing into a long weekend, the event seems both intensely curatorial and casually eccentric.
What is IT anyway? I suppose IT is the intangible. To be surrounded by real story-tellers is definitely part of IT. And IT is community. IT is our voices as filmmakers being heard and shouted in the streets or cinemas or basement parties... IT is our second home but our first love... IT blurs the line that is already blurry from so much love, pain, passion and truth of the moving image... IT is True/False. IT is Columbia. IT is a celebration-explosion of LOVE and SWEAT and TEARS. And IT is why I want to make more films.
The true love and passion to documentary cinema was inspiring...you’ve created something very rare and special, a combination between community and art with so much energy.
It is a great work of collective art, belief, hope, fun-and a reminder of what this filmmaking malarkey is all about...It was the ideal home for our film and couldn't have imagined a better launch in the States. It's about connecting with audiences and this happened in a really magical way.
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...
An atmosphere of communal enthusiasm that verges on the utopian. Such universal popularity as True/False presently enjoys must inevitably lead to talk of Jonestown Kool-Aid—but the fact of the festival’s fun should not overshadow that it is programmed with discernment.
Being part of the community that creates extraordinary places out of everyday Columbia is an experience I look forward to each year.
An incredible festival experience. True/False really is one of the best festivals I have ever been to. You guys put on such a great show.
T/F surpassed all hype and expectations -- amazing how you guys have managed to retain a genuine diy/punk rock vibe, and keep everything running smoothly with the utmost professionalism.
I never thought I was creative, or could be, until I had a conversation with Jason Tibbet and Elizabeth Mims, who directed Only The Young. I just feel like the whole experience of T/F was empowering for me.
The last fifteen minutes of The Island President moved me more than I have ever been while watching a movie. It made me aware of possibilities I wouldn't have known about otherwise, as did the whole festival's group of international directors, most of whom I got to talk to.
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.
True/False was without question the best film festival experience I have had in recent memory. You have restored my faith in the cause. It was unforgettable, joyous and inspiring.
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.
A brilliant festival. You rounded up an exceptional program and lured a very fine group of people to hang out with. It was all low-key and unpretentious, which is how it ought to be.
My friends in SF couldn't believe I saw movies before they did (Lost Boys of Sudan, The Yes Men). That was a first. Even more important, of course, is that each film made an impact. I've even signed up to volunteer as a tutor for refugees because of Lost Boys.
Making any film is a loving, grueling and often lonely adventure... But it's experiences like being surrounded by hundreds of hungry film lovers in the grand, classic Missouri Theatre or sitting around a pizza till two in the morning with a group of fellow nutjobs who also put everything they had (and a little they didn't) on the line to tell a story they believed in, that makes it all worthwhile.
What best defines True/False is the generosity and enthusiasm of the audience and their appetite for good films. I especially liked the theme of True/False which acknowledges the evolution and transitions taking place in documentary. The festival does not seek to define or restrict documentaries -- but rather celebrate them in all their form and finery.
This is the smallest town, the biggest theater and the most raucous audience I've seen.
A true cultural treasure for the city that brings creative people from around the globe to Columbia. Educationally, culturally, and as a source of entertainment, it is the brightest star on the bright cultural landscape of Columbia, Missouri.
It would be hard to find a college town with a more enthusiastic festival audience. Every film at True/False is presented personally by the filmmakers. Along with the quality of the programming, this is one of the reasons T/F is emerging as a destination festival.
Filmmakers have gotten the word that T/F is an important and truly communal experience -- so many films were here straight from Sundance.
When a friend called and said, "You want to go to Missouri with me?" I was like, "Uh...I don't know...do I?" But who knew that such a cool, fun, artistic and intelligent place existed? I loved Columbia, I loved the festival, I fully intend on finding my way back there next year.
A filmmaker utopia! I am sad I've had to leave the Midwestern love behind.
So much care went into the True/False Film Festival. Every detail was thoughtfully crafted and there was a camaraderie to the festival that really stood out to me -- people were comparing it to the early days of Telluride. This camaraderie fostered great conversations, many with filmmakers whose work I admired. It was quite an intimate experience.
The magical festival and T/F weekend will feed forever the desire to keep going in my quixotic film-creation-way-of-life.
I loved every minute of True/False -- the laidback and funky atmosphere, the eclectic films and filmmakers, the intelligent and genuine audiences, the energetic volunteers, and the imaginative freebies that I'm still enjoying many months afterwards. All I want to do now is make another film that gets me invited back.
I have now returned to Denmark from what I would consider the best film festival ever.... I have to get back to True/False!
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 a doubt True/False is my favorite film festival ever anywhere. The high quality of the films, the sold out shows -- screening after screening filled with an audience that is hungry for intelligent work, the high quality of musicians performing before each screening, and busking on the street. You kind of swear they put ecstasy in the town water or something.
We figured out that you are secretly brainwashing us, in preparation for your tenth anniversary whereupon you will send out the balloon signal and wherever your past attendees are, the chip will kick in and we will do whatever you have programmed us to.
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.
I cannot express how much fun, inspiration, astonishment and joy I experienced in Columbia. I can honestly say it was one of the most positively powerful and potent weeks I have had in a long time.
Definitely my best festival experience ever. Keep in mind that we Swedes are famous for not using big words.
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.
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.
What sums up the festival was that unforgettable line from Big River Man: 'Now I have crossed over into the 4th dimension.' An overwhelming weekend -- filled with intensely passionate views and impeccable taste -- that left me in emotional shambles... and totally recharged.
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.
Just a damn gem. A little utopia. You have made something fantastic. 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.
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.