Art and Design

True/False 2015 Fest Digest: Friday

On Friday True/False expanded into more and more venues, events, screenings, concerts, panels and parties. This makes our job in the Fest Digest even more of a fool’s errand, but we’ll try to provide a little bit of cohesion to the day that was. Below you’ll find descriptions, images and video of just a few of the things that happened yesterday.

Before each program on Friday, fest-goers saw Jarred Alterman’s second microfilm “The Clockmaker”, in which “Pendulum” Bob King considers time as something we think we grasp, but is ultimately mysterious.

 

 

In the august setting of the Missouri Theatre, Friday began with an extraordinary event in T/F history. For the first time, T/F partnered with Columbia high schools to bring each and every 10th grader from Columbia public high schools to a special showing of What Happened, Miss Simone at Missouri theater.

 

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photo by Sarah Hoffman

 

The film charts the life of the combustible, brilliant jazz singer Nina Simone. After the film, students asked questions to director Liz Garbus, who discussed Simone’s psychological afflictions and their complicated relationship with her ability to produce incredible art.

 

photo by Ryan Henriksen

photo by Ryan Henriksen

 

Afterward, students migrated to the greater Orr St. area for our DIY (Do It Yourself!) Day! Orr St. Studios housed a large parade preparation workshop, with glitter galore, and mask and banner creation for the March March. Smaller individual breakout sessions focused on filmmaking, music, screen-printing and advice from those with success in creating a life of artistic expression.

 

photo by Ryan Henriksen

photo by Ryan Henriksen

 

photo by Ryan Henriksen

photo by Ryan Henriksen

 

In an attempt to dig deeper into the minds of the many brilliant guests we bring to town, we put on a series of conversations at the Reynolds Journalism Institute. In our first, panelists Kevin B. Lee (Transformers: The Premake), Zhao Qi (producer of The Chinese Mayor) and Dean Ming Yang and Dr. Zhenzheng Wang discussed the state of documentary filmmaking in the People’s Republic of China and different models that filmmakers there have attempted to try to reach audiences.

 

photo by Corey Ransberg

photo by Corey Ransberg

 

True/False presents but a single award each year. Our True Vision Award honors the career of a working filmmaker who has made significant contributions to nonfiction cinema. This year that honor went to Adam Curtis, who for over twenty years at the BBC has reevaluated history through brilliant archival montages.

At noon Friday Curtis presented a unique program at our second home, Ragtag Cinema, titled Unstoryfiable: Where Journalism Fails and Modern Power Begins. Talking in-between short films, segments and clips, Curtis’ wide-ranging, audacious and frequently humorous presentation argued that new systems of power, grounded in predictive systems for risk management, hide in plain sight because they are impossible to capture with either narrative or imagery.

 

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photo by Jarred Gastreich

 

Immediately following Unstoryfiable, Adam was whisked away to the Missouri Theatre, where Paul presented him with the True Vision Award ahead of a screening of his new film Bitter Lake, which examines the tortured history of Afghanistan in light of a fateful agreement between the United States and the House of Saud.

 

photo by Billie Stock

photo by Billie Stock

 

When the bright and sunny afternoon Friday afternoon rolled around it was time for the March March, in which we usher in a new season with a joyous parade down the center of downtown Columbia, featuring music, costumes, puppets and more.

 

photo by Sarah Hoffman

photo by Sarah Hoffman

 

photos by Ryan Henriksen

photos by Ryan Henriksen

 

Meanwhile at the Picturehouse, it was the first screening of Spartacus & Cassandra, an artful blend of verite intimacy and lyrical interludes about the lives of two Roma children at a crossroads. Director Loanis Nuguent and subject Camille Brisson were on hand afterwards for a spirited Q and A.

photo by Corey Ransberg

photo by Corey Ransberg

 

And at Rhynsburger Theatre, Sam Green presented The Measure of All Things, a constantly evolving live-documentary featuring live musical accompaniment. As still images and video clips appeared on screen, Green narrated a interwoven series of tales inspired by entries in The Guinness Book of World Records, including the time the world’s second tallest man saved the life of a dolphin.

 

photo by Whitney Buckner

photo by Whitney Buckner

 

A little later filmmakers and festgoers come into close contact at the Oddfellows Lodge during Campfire Stories, an intimate event where filmmakers tell stories of “the scene that got away.” In one of this year’s entries, Khalik Allah of Field Niggas described gaining and then losing a subject, and a friend. Our friends at CAT TV captured his tale on video.

 

 

The night ended at Tonic with the @CTION Party. By the time midnight rolled around, the dance floor was crammed with bodies in motion to the sounds provided by DJs Gold E Mouf and Cousin Cole.

 

photo by Jarred Gastreich

photo by Jarred Gastreich

 

Friday’s gone, but there’s so much more T/F to come. Time to head out back into the festival. But before we do, let’s take one last look at Friday through a video recap, amazingly created overnight by the diligent T/F Video Team.

 

 

Onwards to Saturday!

Posted March 7, 2015

True/False 2015 Fest Digest: Opening Night!

T/F Opening night brings with it adrenaline and jitters, followed by the sudden ecstasy of being once more in a crowd of fest-goers and a feeling of that excitement echoed back. No matter your preparation, True/False only truly exists in the present, right now.

Before all of the opening night films, the first of Jarred Alterman’s T/F 2015 microfilms examining our concept of time screened. “The Astrophysicist” introduces us to Angela Speck, who explains how, in her extra-intuitive domain of inquiry, time becomes a measurement of distance.

 

 

The promise of a new True/False weekend manifests in our annual fancy pants gala, The Jubilee. Costumed T/F fans packed the august Missouri Theatre, enjoying drinks, hors d’oeuvres, the joyful noise created by a menagerie of performing buskers.

 

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photo by Jarred Gastreich

 

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photo by Jarred Gastreich

 

Eventually, we all found our seats for a screening of Best of Enemies a film which offers fascinating context to the vital archival footage of William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal’s seminal televised debates of the late 60s. Afterwards co-director Morgan Neville tried to explain the feeling of finally sharing a film with an audience after being alone with it for so long. He also said he wants to provoke discussion about “civil and uncivil discourse.”

 

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photo by Megan Stilley

 

Later at the Vimeo Theater at The Blue Note, Morgan Knibbe’s impressive feature debut Those Who Feel the Fire Burning screened for the very first time in the United States. By forcing us into the perspective of a hovering ghost, the film aims to “throw the audience into the deep” of the difficult and often hopeless lives of recent immigrants to Europe. Afterwards, Knibbe talked with the crowd and T/F programmer Chris Boeckmann about wanting to find a poetic approach to this problem that went “further than the numbers and factual information.”

 

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photo by Taylor Blatchford

 

Opening night came to an end at Cafe Berlin with the Toast/False busker showcase, featuring the bittersweet music of Cindy Woolf & Mark Bilyeu, Jack Grelle & Ryan Koenig and The Strangled Darlings, seen below.

 

Toast/False

photo by Corey Ransberg

 

Thursday night was but a warm-up for what is in store for us today. But before we plunge ahead, let’s take one more look at the excitement of opening night via the T/F Video Team, whose work features Miss Jubilee & The Humdingers’ song “I Found A New Baby”.

 

Posted March 6, 2015

True/False 2015 Fest Digest: Beginnings

True/False 2015 is right now.

Welcome to our daily digest. Here we’ll be covering the Fest each day as it happens and trying to talk about True/False as a whole. Paradoxically, the only way to do this is to look closely at a few individual parts. In these daily updates, we’ll be covering just a fraction of the film screenings, Q and As, panel conversations, concerts, parties and art exhibits happening this weekend in coordination with the T/F photo and video teams.

In 2015 we want to talk about time. Among the arts, cinema’s relationship with time is unique. A film only truly exists inside of its brief run-time, yet inside of that sacred set of minutes, great cinema dominates time, underlining it or erasing it, chopping it to pieces or stretching it out before us. Likewise, our festival is a mere four days, but we aim to offer an experience which opens temporally both backwards and forwards, outward into the years.

To look at T/F we need to start not at the beginning, but at many beginnings, conceptual, temporal, geographical of the threads which have gathered together into our festival.

To help explore the daunting theme of time, we once more called upon the services of filmmaker Jarred Alterman, who crafted the microfilms you’ll see before each and every screening. Here’s an enigmatic preview of what he has in store for us.

 

 

True/False exists to investigate the contradiction at the heart of cinema, a medium which can faithfully capture slivers of reality while constantly manipulating our experience. A couple years ago we began an important new part of this inquiry thanks to the generous support of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Neither/Nor is an annual partnership with a visiting film critic to map a history of chimeric cinema, films which aggressively embrace cinema’s central paradox. This year in our third Neither/Nor program critic Ela Bittencourt is presenting a series of shamefully under seen work from Poland, covering the last two decades of that nation’s Communist rule. Ela created a beautiful monograph featuring essays and interviews on all six programs in the series, available right now at the Ragtag Box office.

Months of preparation and research for Neither/Nor culminated last night in a kickoff for the series at Ragtag Cinema, downtown CoMo’s 365-day a year cinema born of the same parent organization and inseparable from the Fest in innumerable ways. In the Hittsville gallery space hosted a photography show of the work of filmmaker Bogdan Dziworski, one of the Polish masters we’re honoring this year.

 

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photo by Taylor Blatchford

 

Inside Ragtag’s big theater we held a reception for Ela with authentic Polish food from Columbia’s Cafe Poland. We then settled in for a presentation of Arena of Life, a program of unforgettable short films by Bogdan. Afterwards Bogdan spoke excitedly as Ela translated about his desire to blend the surreal and the real through aggressive sound design and told an unbelievable story about a planned prison break.

 

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photo by Rebecca Allen

 

Meanwhile, our annual fundraising effort for a documentary subject, the True Life Fund, is already well underway. Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer, the man responsible for The Act of Killing and it’s companion film The Look of Silence has made appearances at all four Columbia high schools, discussing with students how Adi Rukun, The Look’s protagonist, heroically confronted the still powerful men who killed his brother along with hundreds of thousands of others in Indonesia’s anti-communist purges of 1965-66.

 

DIGEST

photo by Allison Coffelt

 

At our venues around town and on the University of Missouri campus, our army of volunteers has once more sprung into action, transforming spaces into temporary, yet glorious cinemas. Below you can see the ball room of the Tiger Hotel in the process of becoming The Forrest Theater once more.

 

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photo by Morgan Lieberman

 

Our production team has already spent months and months in T/F’s secret lab, constructing the numerous art installations which will reveal a hidden utopia inside of our city. Here Glenn Rice installs his “light cone” piece in downtown’s central artery, Alley A.

 

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photo by Rebecca Allen

 

And our central hub of operations, the T/F Box Office, has settled into its new home in Imago Gallery at Hitt and Broadway. The bustling crowds picked up their tickets and passes and scooped out the merch underneath chandeliers and murals dedicated to a creature with extraordinary longevity.

 

Beautiful artwork overlooking the box office. Photo by Billie Stock

photo by Billie Stock

 

Finally, last night T/F eve came to an end at Eastside Tavern, where Relevant Hairstyles where part of a weird and wild start to our 2015 music program. Buskers will be playing before each and every screening this weekend.

 

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photo by Jon Asher

 

It’s about time. The preparation is finally at an end. Let’s get started.

-Dan Steffen
Minister of Propaganda

Posted March 5, 2015

The New Merch is Here!

New T/F 2015 Merch is now in stock and on sale, both in our online store and in the T/F pop-up shop in Makes Scents at 19 S. 9th Street in downtown CoMo. If you want to browse in person, Makes Scents is open seven days a week, Monday-Saturday 10-6, Friday 10-8 and Sunday Noon-5.

Take a gander at some of our new wares!

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Posted February 12, 2015

A Look Inside the Lab by Photographer Stephen Bybee

For months now, the True/False production team has labored tirelessly in their secret lab, engineering the strange alternate universe we’ll all soon inhabit. Photographer Stephen Bybee recently gained access to their lair and brought back these mysterious images of the team at work and the weird objects they are creating. Take your first peek into the world of True/False 2015 as it comes into being.

 

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Posted February 4, 2015

Presenting the True/False 2015 Poster!

Presenting the True/False 2015 Poster! It’s designed by long-time T/F collaborator Erik Buckham with a drawing by artist Akiko Stehrenberger. As part of this year’s exploration of time, we decided to feature a creature known for its longevity. Check it out!

 

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Posted January 23, 2015

It’s Time: True/False 2015

It’s Time: True/False 2015 is coming March 5-8!

See a short teaser for this year’s prefilm intros, directed by Jarred Alterman.

And check out the T/F 2015 poster, designed by artist Erik Buckham with an illustration by Akiko Stehrenberger.

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We’ve announced the complete lineup of T/F 2015 Films, as well as our Art and Music programs.

The 2015 True Vision Award Winner is filmmaker Adam Curtis.

The 2015 True Life Fund Film is The Look of Silence.

And our retrospective sidebar Neither/Nor will investigate Polish chimeras from the 70s, 80s and 90s with critic Ela Bittencourt.

Posted January 15, 2015

‘The Long Now’ Art Exhibit at Imago

2015 has arrived and with the new year T/F is ready to begin exploring a new idea, “The Long Now”!

This Thursday, January 8 is the opening reception for the new “The Long Now” art exhibit, featuring 14 works exploring our relationship with time selected through a jury process in partnership with Imago Gallery and Cultural Center. Imago will be hosting the show at their gallery at 1020 E. Broadway in downtown CoMo, also the future home of the T/F 2015 box office. At 7 pm Thursday, T/F’s Art Installation Coordinator and all-around production guru Camellia Cosgray will give a talk introducing the show. Refreshments will be provided.

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The selected pieces are:

“Aquatic Dance” by Lampo Leong
“The Light” by Li Lin
“Window on the World” by Amy Meyer
“Icosahedron on Blue Plane” by Clint McMillen
“Avoidable collision nearing from behind.” by Ian Shelly
“Cernunnos Arabeque” by Madeleine LeMieux
“Pastpresentfuture” by Yourself
“Sketch of Scarlatti Sonata K34 (as Argo Navis)” by Kerry Hirth
“Expansion Loop with Flare” by Matt Moyer
“The” “Long” “Now” by Gabe Meyer
“Response Time” by Scott McMahon and Ahmed Salvador
“Epiphany” by Shannon Soldner
“St. Mary’s Flood Album – page 44? by Scott Patrick Myers
“Breath” by Natalie Shelly

10% of all sales will go towards the 2015 True Life Fund. Please come consider The Long Now with us.

Posted January 5, 2015

We’re Still Accepting Proposals For Artistic Interpretations of ‘The Long Now’

As we round the bend into 2015, we’re still looking for proposals exploring our new theme, “The Long Now”.

First, True/False is partnering with Imago Gallery & Cultural Center for a “The Long Now” juried exhibit to run January 6 – 30. We are looking for both 2D and 3D work, but you’ll need to act soon; the submission deadline is coming up on December 1. You can find all of the submission guidelines here. 10% of sales made during this exhibit will go to the True Life Fund, our annual fundraiser to benefit the subjects of a new nonfiction film.

Also, we’re looking for T-Shirt design proposals for the 2015 Fest. Find all of the details here. You’ll have a little longer as proposals are due January 6, 2015, but don’t wait too long. The new year will be here before you know it.

This enigmatic expression is yours to interpret, but here are a few prompts about what “The Long Now” could mean:

  • How do you tell time without a clock?
  • Time is on our side.
  • How do you communicate with people 10,000 years in the future?  10,000 years in the past?
  • The pyramids are to today, as _____ is to tomorrow.
  • All documentaries are historical documentaries.
  • What is the future of the timepiece?
  • Ouroboros
  • The number 12.
  • Retrofuturism. Where is my flying car?
  • A stitch in time saves nine.
  • Geologic time v homo sapien time
  • Time and tide will wait for no man.
Posted November 17, 2014

T/F 2014 Panels Now Available as Videos or MP3s

T/F’s panel discussions bring together film directors, visual artists and film critics for candid conversation on the hows and whys of their crafts. Sometimes overlooked in the whirlwind of T/F weekend, we’ve now made the complete set of T/F 2014 conversations available to watch on our video page. Or if you’d like to take a panel with you on a jog or to the grocery store, click on any of the titles below to find an audio mp3 you can stream or download. All of these discussions were preserved thanks to the hard work of our media partners at Columbia Access Television.

The Critical Takedown

Nonfiction films entering the world are still plagued by two types of criticism. There’s “be nice, this topic is worthy” damnation by faint praise for films with “important” issues, and the “Where’s the context?!” stigma faced too often by more personal or artful films. How to strike a balance and what DOES creative nonfiction need from critics? Sam Adams, the editor of Criticwire engages three cranky malcontents (i.e. critics), Nick Pinkerton, Ela Bittencourt and Adam Nayman, who have all the answers.

Making Magic/Realism

T/F 2014′s visual theme of magic/realism suggested an intersection between the mundane and the fantastic. But it wasn’t until visual artists from all over the country offered their creative sparks did the theme come alive. Artist and writer Anne Thompson coaxes magic from T/F bumper director Jarred Alterman, T/F 2014 poster artist Akiko Stehrenberger, sculptor Taylor Ross, who made the interactive mechanical sculptor in the Missouri Theatre lobby, and “TransPlant” pod installation artist, Leland Drexler-Russell.

Lies My Subject Told Me

Present tense films are crafted through an agreement between filmmaker and subject, but sometimes the bond is broken. During these fragile moments, the foundation of the relationship is questioned and a new trajectory takes hold. Hot Docs director Charlotte Cook hosts Robert Greene (Actress), Maxim Pozdorovkin (The Notorious Mr. Bout), Jesse Moss (The Overnighters) for a discussion on deception.

Beyond Pretty Pictures

What was previously off limits is now possible through affordable, lightweight equipment, and low-cost DIY hacking. Increasingly light-sensitive cameras liberate filmmakers to capture nighttime scenes; miniature, waterproof cameras are cheap; skeleton crews allow subjects to feel more comfortable revealing themselves. T/F alumni Omar Mullick quizzes Linda Västrik (Forest of the Dancing Spirits), Ewan McNicol (Uncertain), and Victor Kossakovsky (Demonstration) on how they harness technology to tell better stories.

Place is the Space

Nonfiction filmmakers locate vivid places and people whose stories jump off the screen – then they sift and winnow to find the soul of the place. True/False mascot Beadie Finzi chats with Tracy Droz Tragos (Rich Hill), Sherief Elkatsha (Cairo Drive), and Mark Levinson (Particle Fever) who reveal how they cast films where settings don’t act as backdrops but as stars in their own right.

Africa is Not a Country

To a Western mind, Africa may appear as a slideshow of slums, safaris, refugees, and marathon runners. In a clutch of T/F 2014 films, though, outsider filmmakers avoid shopworn stereotypes to tell distinctive stories from a diverse continent. T/F ringleader Ingrid Kopp asks Tobias Janson (Concerning Violence), Rachel Boynton (Big Men), and Joe Callander (Life After Death) how they circumvented the pitfalls.

Posted October 7, 2014
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