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:
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!
If you are looking for an affordable way to see a few films and find out what True/False is all about, consider picking up our Gateway package. This offer allows you to reserve tickets to three films off of a select list of nine, which we’ll introduce below. You can then pick up your tickets at our box office beginning on Thursday, February 28th. But you’ll have to act soon. Gateway sales end tomorrow, February 22nd, at 6 p.m.
The first film, playing Thursday night at The Blue Note, is The Expedition to the End of the World. This travelogue follows a group of scientists and philosophers as they travel on a three-mast schooner through the unexplored inlets of Northeast Greenland. The crew’s meditations on matters great and small are punctuated by an excellent and unconventional score, ranging from opera to heavy metal. This film is sure to be a powerful experience on the big screen.
Next up is No, a interesting mix of historical fact and fiction, recounting the time an intrepid group of madmen took on a Chilean military dictatorship. This film blends archival material with fictional scenes shot on reconstructed 80s style cameras to create a unified retro aesthetic. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times discussed the film with its director Pablo Larraín at last summer’s Cannes film festival. No is also nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.
Crash Reel is the latest from Lucy Walker, director of the T/F 2010 hit Wasteland. It tells the story of Kevin Pearce, once arguably the world’s greatest snow boarder, who suffered a terrible crash. The film transforms seamlessly from a high-adrenaline sports movie into a poignant and inspiring tale of recovery and brotherly love. Walker discusses how she became interested in telling this story to fellow T/F filmmaker Ondi Timoner in the video below.
Gateway includes three films dealing with the fascinating and frequently morally hazy subject of intelligence and counter-terrorism. The first, Manhunt, talks with the CIA analysts and agents who spent over 20 years tracking down Osama bin Laden. The film turns the record of their frustrations, ethical conflicts and ultimate triumph into a compelling detective story. The Daily Beast spoke with three of these analysts about their reactions to seeing their story on the big screen.
The Gatekeepers is built around interviews with the six men who have headed the Israeli Shin Bet intelligence agency. The film revisits the history of the post-1967 Arab-Israeli conflict from this fascinating new perspective. Director Dror Moreh spoke with the Times of Israel about getting these secretive men to open up for his camera and the perplexing implications of what they said.
Dirty Wars follows journalist Jeremy Scahill on a noirish journey from dusty huts outside Abottabad to seedy D.C.-area motels to the halls of Congress as he uncovers the unpleasant facts about the activities of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the organization empowered by the Obama administration to oversee an expanded “kill list”. Scahill and director Rick Rowley talk in depth about the film in the clip below from Democracy Now.
Winter Go Away is a powerful survey of life in Russia during last winter’s presidential elections. Avoiding all talking heads, the film captures the rallies, protests and backroom meetings directly, creating an important document of the hope, frustration and confusion of the political moment.
Cutie and the Boxer, a breakout hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, observes the difficult relationship of an aging bohemian couple, the “action painter” Ushio Shinohara and wife of 40 years, Noriko. This intimate exploration of the problems of love and art is an impressive directorial debut for Zachary Heinzerling, who introduces his film in the clip below.
After Tiller follows the lives and work of the four doctors left in all of America who perform late term abortions. While clearly made with a point of view, the film avoids any lionizing or demonizing, instead providing a much needed human context for this most divisive of issues.
This diverse selection of films offers a real cross section of this year’s fest. And just a reminder, this package will only be available for another 24 hours.
True/False would not be True/False without our buskers. They infuse the entire weekend with a vital energy. And no one represents this energy better than Toughcats, favorites at T/F since 2008. The tireless indie-bluegrass trio is part of a loyal group of True/Falsers from Maine who make an annual journey to Columbia for the Fest.
Corey Ransberg captured Toughcats playing their song “Happy Day” in one of a series of videos shot in the music nook of our 2012 box office.
Also a must see for Toughcats fans is the beautiful music video for their song “Somebody Old”.
Check out Toughcats official website for much more music and info, and check back here soon for more T/F Box Office Sessions.
If anyone attending True/False ever stopped to consider where the Fest’s tickets were printed (and, let’s be honest, this elite group of daydreaming nerds and visionaries is surely very, very small), they probably imagine some sort of corporate-industrial fortress, belching smoke into the sky above Earth City, MO, a sad robot toiling away day and night in a sub-sub-basement, churning out the more than thirty thousand tickets that are distributed at the T/F Box Office each year.
Those visionary nerds would be wrong!
Every ticket is actually printed on a mini-thermal ticket printer sitting atop the ping-pong table in the basement of T/F materials coordinator and signage czar Glenn Rice’s basement. Rice has produced an impossibly entertaining, one-minute-long, lovingly annotated film that explains the process in loving detail.
There is no sad robot; there is only Glenn:
Get ‘em while they’re hot: the 2012 Gateway Packets are now on sale!
Gateway Packets allow attendees to reserve three tickets online (they can be used for one, two, or three films), selected from a list specially chosen by the T/F programmers. Visit Visit the online T/F Box Office to purchase! Gateway sales end at 6:00 pm on Friday, 2/24.
The 2012 True/False Film Fest program is now online!
Behold the giant grid of films!
Savor the detailed schedule of screenings!
Easily print out all the film descriptions!
Start planning your weekend!
Freak out completely!!!
Back for its second year, the Boone Dawdle brings together some of the best things in life — biking, music, food, nature, and film. It’s also a fun, outdoorsy way for you to show your support of True/False in the off-season. Can we call it a tradition yet? (read more »)
There’s still time to get your pass for True/False 2011. Super Circle, Silver Circle, Lux and Simple passes are now on sale (and only available here). There are only 8 of our Super Circle passes remaining, and these come with a special one-on-one consultation with veteran film programmer Chris Boeckmann.