We’ve extended the deadline for True/False 2015 art installation proposals. You now have until September 8 to give us your take on “The Long Now”. Check out our Call to Artists page for more info.
Art and Design
This year for the first time, we featured a panel with the visual artists who transformed our city, turning the mundane into the fantastic through their own interpretations of “Magic/Realism”. The Odd Fellows Lodge hosted 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. Artist and writer Anne Thompson led the group on a discussion of ideas and inspiration, which you can watch below thanks to our friends at Columbia Access Television.
You can take also take this conversation with you as a mp3 here.
If this chat sparked your own creativity, you should know that we are now accepting art installation proposals for T/F 2015 when our theme will be “The Long Now”.
Check out the complete series of True/False 2014 videos, created by Chelsea Myers and Paul Mossine of Tiny Attic Productions. There’s one documenting each day of the festival.
The first captures the excitement of opening night and our gala the Jubilee, featuring thoughts from filmmaker Joe Callander (Life After Death), music from Bruiser Queen and gravity-defying performances by Les Trois Coups.
Friday’s video explores the March March parade and the @CTION! Party, with music from Jerusalem and the Starbaskets.
Saturday’s entry collects thoughts from filmmakers Sherief Elkatsha (Cairo Drive), Jesse Moss (The Overnighters) and Andrew Droz Palermo (Rich Hill) while utilizing music from Paul Rucker and Lone Piñon.
The final video focuses on the many invisible hands that build the fantastical world of the Fest. We go on a short tour of Neon Treehouse and Taylor Ross constructions, with music provided by Prahlad, MNDR and James Cathcart’s SPACE IS THE PLACE.
The True/False 2014 Fest Digest provides a day by day recap of this year’s Fest. Written in the midst of the excitement, each digest entry recalls a handful of the previous day’s events with commentary, pictures and videos. Look back at the Magic/Realism:
True/False 2014 has come and gone. The four days always seem to fly by like a heady whirlwind, leaving us dizzy and happy with too many experiences. We hope that you too left T/F 2014 with a wealth of ideas and impressions, enough to unpack and reinterpret throughout the months until we all come together again.
Sunday was yet another day stuffed to the brim with True/False. We brushed off a bit of snow and ice and pressed ahead with a plethora of screenings and events. Below we’ll recap just a few of the amazing things that happened on the final day of True/False 2014.
For us in the middle of the Fest, aiming a year’s worth of brainstorming, planning and production at just four days makes for an unusual feeling. It may be similar to what filmmakers experience while screening their films at T/F, watching as years of their life and work are condensed into mere minutes of images projected on a screen. For this reason, it’s more than fitting that the final installment of Jarred Alterman’s Magic/Realism focuses the role of hard-earned craft in the art of stage magic. “You may spend ten hours on something that takes thirty seconds”, magician Steve Ferris remarks. “But for those thirty seconds, you’re doing the impossible.”
At the Odd Fellows Lodge, Sunday began with the Weird Wake-Up, a breakfast where Fest-goers wipe the sleep from their eyes and refuel their bodies for the home stretch.
After chowing down, the crowd headed into the theater for Dusty Stacks of Mom, experimental animator Jodie Mack’s journey through the clutter left in her mom’s out-of-business poster shop. Mack sang her reimagined and relyriced version of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon live from the back of the theater as a cascade of images danced across the screen. When the performance ended, the crowd expressed their appreciation with a roaring ovation. A giddy Mack explained how she sees the piece as being in part about culture’s continual reappropriation of ubiquitous images, making the pairing with Floyd’s iconic album apropos.
At the Missouri Theatre, Sunday afternoon featured a screening of Happy Valley, the new film from this year’s True Vision Award honoree, Amir Bar-Lev. This work is a thoughtful examination of the culture surrounding Penn State football in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. On stage after the film, Bar-Lev talked about how we all use narratives to construct an identity and what happens when a whole town is forced to reexamine how it sees itself.
Early in the afternoon, Samuel James and Les Trois Coups played a raucous free show before a packed house at Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream, one of downtown CoMo’s hippest hang-outs.
The Fest concluded with a variety of events at our three biggest venues. At the Missouri Theatre, a crowd gathered to watch The Overnighters, which chronicles the startling consequences when a North Dakota pastor allows homeless men to sleep in his church. After the film, director Jesse Moss talked about adding a surprising final revelation to a work he thought was already near completion.
photo by Roxi Pop
At the Vimeo Theater at The Blue Note, the Racso Party gave T/F attendees a chance to check-in on a very prestigious ceremony where movie types give each other small, but surprisingly heavy statues.
And at Jesse Auditorium, our official closing night film was a one time only screening of a truly singular work. Director Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is a work of fiction, depicting an adolescence in 21st century Texas from age 5 to 17. The film’s remarkable 12-year production allows you to see the actors grow and change along with their characters. After a rapturous 162-minutes of cinema, Fest co-director David Wilson was joined on stage by producer Cathleen Sutherland and star Ellar Coltrane, who spent his own boyhood playing the film’s main character, Mason. Coltrane spoke about collaborating each year with Linklater on the screenplay, a process which caused him to grow closer to closer to Mason. He also talked about his real relationship with his on-screen father Ethan Hawke.
Back at the Missouri Theatre we all huddled together in the lobby for the always bittersweet Busker’s Last Stand. The Schlafly flowed as the music opened with supergroup Chimney Choir/Les Trois Coups/Raya Brass Band along with rotating, quickfire performances by Toughcats and Yes Ma’am.
For those of us who stayed up way too late, comedian Dave Hill hosted the first ever edition of Toasted at Cafe Berlin. This late-night talk show featuring buzzed conversations with T/F filmmakers alongside musical performances. In the appropriately raw excerpt below, Dave chats with Kitty Green of Ukraine is Not a Brothel and Maxim Pozdorovkin of The Notorious Mr. Bout ahead of a performance by Yes Ma’am.
The final video from Tiny Attic focuses on the many invisible hands that build the fantastical world of the Fest. We go on a short tour of Neon Treehouse and Taylor Ross constructions, with music provided by Prahlad, MNDR and James Cathcart’s SPACE IS THE PLACE.
Try as we might, there’s just no way to express the gratitude we feel for the dedicated staff, volunteers, sponsors, guests and patrons who continue to make this whole thing possible. What do you say we do it all again next year? True/False returns March 5-8, 2015!
Saturday is the busiest day of True/False, with so much to see and to do, and even to feel. It’s an idea that was discussed by director Joe Callander after the screening of the tonally complex Life After Death at The Globe. Contrast makes the funny parts hilarious, and the sad parts even sadder. At True/False, sometimes it seems like we’re feeling everything all at once.
The inadequacy of any summary is inevitable, but we’ll try our best in this post to give a small taste of the T/F Saturday.
In a cinema, the sense of wonder can come on in a flash, often when you least expect it, when a detail that was previously mundane suddenly becomes profound. True/False also aims to create this effect all weekend long, locating it in a re-imagined utopian Columbia. Wonder is the essence of the art of stage magic, as you can see in the third installment of Jarred Alterman’s Magic/Realism intro films. David Klachko provides the explanation and Steve Ferris the demonstration.
The day kicked-off bright and early with the True Life Run, a surprise filled walk/run through the streets of Columbia, made possible by the support of the Columbia Orthopedic Group, and benefiting our True Life Fund. Runners had to take on challenges on course including ultimate hopscotch, Newspaper Labyrinth, Foam Noodle Freeze Tag, Catch the Rabbit (seen below) and the Mayor’s Council obstacle course. The winners were were Ian Chillag and Sara Spoede, but congratulations are due to everyone who participated.
Over at the Odd Fellows Lodge, Omar Mullick of These Birds Walk oversaw Linda Västrik (Forest of the Dancing Spirits), Ewan McNicol (Uncertain), and Victor Kossakovsky (Demonstration) in the Beyond Pretty Pictures panel. The conversation explored the evolving technology of nonfiction filmmaking, and its promise and peril for doc makers.
The Missouri Theatre, The Unknown Known examined the career of Donald Rumsfeld through a series of interviews and readings by Rumsfeld of his “snowflakes”, the thousands and thousands of memos issued by Rummy as Secretary of Defense. After the film, editor Steven Hathaway talked about building the film out of 35 hours of interviews, before director Errol Morris appeared on screen via Skype. Morris noted with a laugh “I’m a talking head!” and reflected on the element of performance in everything Rumsfeld does.
Gabriel Viles gathered a crowd at our box office for the Art Ramble, a free guided tour of our many wonderous art installations. Viles reflected on the transitory nature of all True/False’s art, which only adds to its poignancy. The tour covered Leland Drexler-Russell’s glowing nest-egg-polyps “TransPlant”, Duncan Bindbeutel’s “Camera Obscure” on The Picturehouse Lawn and Yulia Pinkusevich’s imagined two-dimensional city scape “Stilted” in Alley A (seen below).
Later in the afternoon at Jesse Auditorium, the screening of the True Life Fund film Private Violence, was one of the most powerful events of the whole weekend. Before the lights went down, pastor Dave Cover of The Crossing explained his church’s sponsorship of the TLF, and the issue of domestic violence that the film addresses. Afterwards, T/F co-founder David Wilson was joined on stage by director Cynthia Hill and subjects Kit Gruelle and Deanna Walters, the recipients of this year’s Fund. The Q and A was interrupted by frequent bursts of applause from the crowd. Kit noted, ”We just don’t have this crime worked out yet. This is the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, but we still aren’t addressing this crime in ways which I think we should, which is seeing it as the petri dish, the root crime, for almost all the other criminal behavior that we end up reacting to.”
Back at the Missouri Theatre, Ukraine is Not a Brothel depicted the complex and oftentimes paradoxical world of radical activism. It examined the case of the Ukrainian feminist group Femen, famous for staging topless demonstrations to protest the treatment of women. Following the showing, director Kitty Green and Femen leader Inna Shevchenko spoke with the crowd. Talking about the group’s controversial use of nudity, Shevchenko argued “this peaceful but provocative action is at some level more effective than stones or guns”.
Inna Shevchenko went from the Ukraine screening to The Vimeo Theater at The Blue Note. There she served alongside Actress star Brandy Burre and Particle Fever physicist David Kaplan as judges in our signature game show, Gimme Truth! hosted by the always witty Johnny St. John. The three judges evaluated the veracity of 11 2-minute films, taking breaks laughter and drinks in-between.
Finally, late at Mojo’s it was time for Saturday’s installment of Mojo’s-a-Go-Go. SpaceIsThePlace, Née, and MNDR created an emotive trance for the synth-pop dance party.
Check out even more of day three and hear a few thoughts from T/F 2014 filmmakers Sherief Elkatsha (Cairo Drive), Jesse Moss (The Overnighters) and Andrew Droz Palermo (Rich Hill) alongside music from Paul Rucker and Lone Piñon in video three from Chelsea and Paul at Tiny Attic Productions.
Saturday rolled into Sunday, the weather here in CoMo took a turn for the worse. But we aren’t letting that slow us down one bit. Only one day of T/F 2014 remains. Lets make some magic!
There’s nothing quite like the beginning of new True/False. Even for those of us who spend a large part of the year directing efforts towards these four days, opening night still feels like a revelation. The sense of collective curiosity around the streets of Columbia is truly singular, and even the strongest memory pales alongside the present. In this digest we’ll highlight just a fraction of the events that made opening night magical.
Each day at T/F you’ll be getting a different take on our 2014 theme, Magic/Realism. Director Jarred Alterman’s micro-films each introduce an important idea from the world of stage magic. In the first, Gary Oxenhandler explains the mechanics of misdirection, a tactic critical to magicians and filmmakers alike.
With the opening of this year’s Fest, our smallest (and by some accounts best) venue, the little theater at Ragtag Cinema, has been renamed the Willy Wilson Theater. This is in honor of a recently departed friend, whose years of support made both Ragtag and True/False possible. Artist Jesse Starbuck recently painted the cinder block wall with one of Willy’s favorite quotes, “Nothing is impossible. Impossible just takes a wee bit longer.”
At 5 pm, the first film played in the Willy Wilson Theater. This was Approaching the Elephant, a stunning black and white observation of an anarchist “free school” for young children, where all classes are voluntary and students and teachers have equal authority.
The film inspired a spirited Q and A, led by T/F programmer Chris Boeckmann and featuring director Amanda Rose Wilder and subject Alex Khost. The conversation ran for a solid half an hour, and could have easily kept right on going. Amanda expressed gratitude that she got to see a narrative unfold right before her eyes, while noting that children are both “complex” and “scary”. Of the kids in the film, Alex remarked “Each day every one of these children has to go to school and say ‘What am I going to do today?’ Most of us that doesn’t happen until we’re 18, 21 years old.”
Meanwhile, in the august setting of the historic Missouri Theatre, True/False began in style with our opening night Jubilee, a celebratory masquerade. Weaving your way through the crowd, buskers and bartenders seemed to be lurking around every corner. Joyous music rang out over the hum of excited conversation.
The Jubilee led into an appropriately jubilant film. Jodorowsky’s Dune tells the story of how cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky assembled a dream team of “spiritual warriors”, dedicated to carrying out his radical adaptation of the classic science-fiction novel Dune. As T/F co-director Paul Sturtz noted in his pre-film introduction, this film is particularly resonant for True/False, which also involves a remarkable group of people coming together to attempt to a seemingly impossible task.
After the film director Frank Pavish and editor Alex Ricciardi discussed the process of working with Jodorowsky, who they found both charismatic and terrifying. They also recalled how Jodorowsky was moved to tears when he saw Jodorowsky’s Dune for the first time at Cannes.
Back over at Ragtag, the big theater hosted the first screening of Robert Greene’s new film Actress. A unique collaboration, this film follows The Wire actress Brandy Burre’s return to acting after getting out of the profession to start a family. In a post-screening Q and A, Greene and Burre talked about the film’s use of music to create an impression of “theatricality”.
Out in the lobby and over at the T/F box office, the gorgeous new poster for Actress went on display. It was designed by T/F graphic artist Theresa Berens and painted by artist Laura Baran.
At Cafe Berlin, the first of our “Toast/False” showcases featured intricate soundscapes from Eric Rich, Ruth Acuff, Nevada Greene and the amazing Paul Rucker, seen below in the video captured by our friends at Folk to Folk.
Later on at the Vimeo Theater at The Blue Note, it was time for a journey inside the psyche of singer-songwriter Nick Cave with the chimeric 20,000 Days on Earth. When the lights came up, directors Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard discussed how they utilized psychoanalytic sessions to find a new way of asking questions. They also recalled how they stole Cave’s song books and found inspiration in his unwritten lyrics.
Finally, long after the sun went down, opening night ended at Mojo’s with garage rock, blues and everything in-between from Molly Gene One Whoaman Band, Coward, and Jerusalem and the Starbaskets.
For one more look back at the magical atmosphere of opening night, check out this video from Chelsea Myers and Paul Mossine of Tiny Attic Productions, featuring thoughts from filmmaker Joe Callander (Life After Death), music from Bruiser Queen and gravity-defying performances by Les Trois Coups.
So much True/False still lies ahead of us. See you at the movies!
Artist Taylor Ross has constructed Juniper and Fyn, an interactive mechanical sculpture of a larger-than-life fox, complete with a music box mechanism built from recycled piano parts and wooden gears. This creation resides in the lobby of the historic Missouri Theatre.
On Friday at 10 am, the Missouri Theatre’s lobby will host a one-time-only thirty minute musical performance, featuring the members of Chimney Choir. This piece was written especially to accompany the creatures Juniper and Flynn. Don’t miss it!
Afterwards, high school and college students can stick around for the free 11 am T.G.I.T/F screening of Particle Fever.
Welcome to the True/False Film Fest 2014 Fest Digest! Here we’ll be gleefully taking on the impossible task of recapping the Fest, collecting stories, photos, videos along the way. Don’t forget to check back in, we’ll have a post each morning to help you relive the day that was.
It’s both marvelous and tragic that there’s just too much True/False to go around, and no way for any one consciousness to process it all. This digest, like all of you, will be plotting its own idiosyncratic course through the maze of music, art, panels, parties and cinema stretched out before us.
The theme of True/False 2014 is “Magic/Realism”. This alignment of words and symbols is perhaps a bit cryptic. One way we like to read it is as Magic sitting atop Realism, the fantastic’s victory over the mundane. Central to this conquest is the transformation of downtown Columbia, a place familiar to many of us, into somewhere very different for these four weird days. This was affected by the Herculean efforts of the T/F production team, numerous visiting and local artists and hundreds upon hundreds of T/F volunteers. Films will be playing at nine different locations, all within walking distance of one another downtown. All around and in-between you’ll find numerous art installations and surprises.
Our box office is always a central hub of True/False, where you’ll find tickets, merch and much more. This year it’s located at the corner of Hitt and Broadway. Artists Sabrina Braden and Sasha Goodnow reimagined this space as a Victorian-era parlor, cozy yet off kilter. As it opened for hustle and bustle of pass holder pick up, you could feel in the air that the T/F is finally here.
Most of our theaters are ephemeral, sliding in and out of existence with the Fest. For example, the ballroom of Columbia’s most prominent building, the Tiger Hotel, once-more became the metallic woodland of the Forrest Theater, so named for Forrest Rose, a well-loved Columbia columnist and stand-up bass player who we lost much too soon.
The major exception is Ragtag Cinema, downtown CoMo’s 365-day-a-year movie theater. Ragtag is our other half, a conjoined twin sharing numerous vital organs, including its dedicated staff and loyal patrons. Its two screens are located in the building now known as “Hittsville”, the home it shares with Uprise Bakery, Ninth Street Video and Hitt Records.
It was here our Neither/Nor series got underway for its second year. This program, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, is an ongoing collaboration with a visiting film critic to map a history of “chimeric” cinema, films which defy classification as either fiction or documentary. This year Godfrey Cheshire is introducing four meta-cinematic Iranian films from the 1990s. He wrote an excellent limited edition monograph, available for free at the Ragtag box office, which skillfully situates these works within the broader history of Iran and its cinema.
The first film in the series to screen was Close-Up, Abbas Kiarostami’s 1990 masterpiece built around the true story of a man arrested for impersonating filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf.
After the film, Godfrey told the incredible story of how he was instrumental in getting the Iranian government to allow Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry to screen at Cannes, where it went on to win the Palme d’Or. He also talked about his visits to Iran, where conversations with Kiarostami and Makhmalbaf led him to see Close-Up‘s reconstructed reality as a “series of bamboozlements” by Kiarostami.
Later on, our music program began with a blast of punk rock at the hip downtown hangout Eastside Tavern. The first of 13 T/F music showcases featured performances from Fliight, Bruiser Queen, Comfort Zone and New Tongues.
Now the real excitement begins and we can’t wait to share it all with you. See you downtown and let the Magic/Realism commence!
Hidden away somewhere in their secret lab, the T/F production team toils away night and day, crafting the mysterious objects that will soon transform our city. Recently, photographer Rebecca Allen gained access to this strange place, bringing back beautiful images of the myriad projects underway.