Events

The Great Wall Honors the Career of Filmmaker Les Blank

The Great Wall is True/False’s outdoor movie screen: the massive, Shakespeare’s-facing wall of the Picturehouse Theater (aka the Missouri United Methodist Church). Join us for this free walk-up cinema on Friday and Saturday nights of the Fest from 7 – 11 pm.

This year, we will be celebrating the life and work of the renegade filmmaker Les Blank who passed away in April of 2013.

For more than 50 years Les Blank’s films preserved American subcultures that otherwise might have been forgotten. With a signature idiosyncratic style all his own, Blank captures the essence of a moment and brings it to life. Instead of the fly-on-the-wall method of his contemporaries (Wiseman & Pennebaker) Blank immersed himself in the communities of the people he turned his lens upon. It’s no surprise that Les Blank was only the second white man Lightnin’ Hopkins trusted.

His most well-known film Burden of Dreams is a fantastical look at Werner Herzog’s epic struggle to make his masterpiece Fitzcarraldo in the Amazon. Herzog once said of Blank “He has his own little universe that he creates with Burden of Dreams. If Burden of Dreams was only the making of Fitzcarraldo it would have been lousy. He was beyond my comprehension. I only knew the man was a very, very good filmmaker.” Blank had a particular knack in establishing a strong sense of place: everything in the frame relates back to the environment in which it occurs.

Burden of Dreams

Blank’s films serve as an important anthropological preservation while pushing the cinematic form of documentary forward. True/False has decided to feature four of his earlier works which would go on to establish him as a force. Dry Wood (1973, 37 min.) and Hot Pepper (1973, 54 min.) capture the daily life of French-speaking blacks in southwestern Louisiana’s Cajun country. A Well Spent Life (1972, 44 min.) and The Blues Accordin’ To Lightnin’ Hopkins (1970, 31 min.) are two great ethno-musicological films lit by Blank’s fascination in the cultures, history and music of the now well-known blues musicians Mance Lipscomb and Lightnin’ Hopkins.

lightninhopkins.19709

At 7:10 on Friday, Jim Bogan, a writer, filmmaker and professor who is also an old friend of Blank’s, will kick-off The Great Wall by leading a toast in honor of Blank’s life and work.

Posted February 21, 2014

Calling All Students! Get a Free Taste of the Fest with T.G.I.T/F!

Introducing Thank Goodness It’s True/False! This is our new program for all High School and College students statewide. We invite you to try a taste of the fest on us!

The day starts with a free film and refreshments at the Missouri Theater, followed by art, music, and film workshops and events, and is topped off by a raucous downtown parade. All free. All just for you.

The Friday of the festival (February 28) is a Columbia Public High School teacher work day and students have the day off, so we’ve created a Friday full of free fun for students! We are even providing free bus transportation for all local CPS high schoolers (just fill out this form, and take it to your high school by the 25th). We also welcome all other students from high schools and colleges in our fair state. Grab your student ID and come on down!

10am: Doors open at the Missouri Theater. Come early for coffee, snacks, and live music.

11am: Particle Fever screens, followed by a conversation with our special guests: Mark Levinson, the film’s director, and David Kaplan, star of the film. (Film synopsis: Some of the world’s most savvy scientists guide us through the largest experiment in history, the Large Hadron Collider, which seeks to unlock the secrets of the cosmos).

1 – 5pm: Then, all afternoon, we have free music, art and film events just for students: workshops with local and visiting artists (make costumes and puppets for the parade, get a special public art tour, and meet with internationally acclaimed artists), meet and hear local and national musicians, and talk with filmmakers from around the world.

5:30pm: The day will end with the always fabulous March March parade.

For more info and to reserve your spot, sign up here: http://truefalse.org/educate/attend

We also offer informational presentations about the fest, classroom visits with festival guests, free and discounted tickets, field trips, year-round film education programs, work with the True Life Fund, and other meaningful volunteer work.

FUNDING PROVIDED BY THE BERTHA FOUNDATION

Posted February 20, 2014

True/False Film Fest 2014: Magic/Realism

The histories of magic and cinema are both steeped in questions of authenticity and fantasy, and the transformation of the commonplace into the fantastic. With this year’s theme “Magic/Realism” we aim to highlight the affinities between prestidigitation and filmmaking, arts which utilize artifice on the way to discovering a new reality.

A small sample of what we have in store can be found in our 2014 commercial, itself a teaser for the short films you’ll be seeing before each of this year’s screenings. It was created by Jarred Alterman, director of Convento and co-director of Dear Valued Guests (T/F 2013). In it, magician Gary Oxenhandler proposes the idea misdirection, an important skill for magicians and filmmakers alike.

You may also have caught a glimpse of Steve Ferris, who you’ll be seeing much more of during the Fest.

“Magic/Realism” also inspired our 2014 poster, created by artist Akiko Stehrenberger under the direction of veteran T/F collaborator Erik Buckham. The poster quotes “The Marvelous Orange Tree” illusion invented by Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, the father of modern magic. You can view more of Akiko’s work at Hittsville beginning February 23rd.

final poster

The magic is almost here and we’re ready to share the complete True/False 2014 program. The artistic talent converging in our town for four crazy days is truly humbling. Check out the schedule and explore the complete lineup of features, shorts, musicians, artists and concerts. You can also browse through trailers for this year’s films and music videos from T/F 2014 performers.

We’ve also announced the 2014 True Vision Award Honoree, Amir Bar-Lev, who’ll be presenting his new film Happy Valley. And we’ve selected Kit Gruelle and Deanna Walters of Private Violence for the True Life Fund, our annual fundraiser for the subjects of a documentary. This film courageously and intelligently takes on the hidden epidemic of domestic violence.

Finally, we’ve announced the films in our second annual Neither/Nor series, an ongoing project to map the history of “chimeric” cinema thanks to the generous support of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This year’s program examines the self-reflexive Iranian cinema of the 1990s and will be presented by critic Godfrey Cheshire.

Let the transformation begin!

 

Posted February 11, 2014

The Academy Presents the Second Annual Neither/Nor Series

The Neither/Nor series is an ongoing project to map the history (and present) of “chimeric” cinema, adventurous filmmaking that defies classification as either fiction or nonfiction. Every year True/False will partner with a visiting film critic who will present four films and produce a limited-edition monograph featuring essays and interviews. In the 2014 edition, esteemed film critic Godfrey Cheshire will introduce us to the self-reflexive Iranian cinema of the 1990s. Neither/Nor is underwritten by a generous grant from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

We’re holding a Neither/Nor kick-off reception on Tuesday, February 25th at 6 pm at Ragtag Cinema. There you can meet critic Godfrey Cheshire before he introduces a screening of his own 2007 film Moving Midway, a look at the relocating of his family’s antebellum home to escape Raleigh, North Carolina’s sprawl. The series begins in earnest at Ragtag on True/False eve, Wednesday, February 26th, with Close-Up, Abbas Kiarostami’s 1990 masterpiece. The rest of Neither/Nor will take place during T/F 2014 at Big Ragtag. A Moment of Innocence plays Thursday at 5:30 PM, The Mirror Friday at 12:30 PM, The Apple Saturday at 10:30 AM and Close-Up screens again Saturday at 8:30 PM. All of the screenings in this series will be free.

Here’s a short introduction to this year’s selections.

Close-Up (dir. Abbas Kiarostami, 1990, 98 min.) In this 1990 landmark, director Abbas Kiarostami takes a bizarre case of identity theft and convinces its real-life subjects to participate in a creative reenactment. Hossain Sabzian is a young, underemployed lover of cinema. One day while riding a bus, he meets a woman and convinces her that he is film director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. When she is confused why such a famous man would be riding public transit, Sabzian explains that it’s important to draw inspiration from the real world. Under this pretense, he worms his way into her family’s home and bank account. When the family starts to become suspicious, they invite an ambitious journalist to come investigate.
- Chris Boeckmann

close-up

A Moment of Innocence (dir. Mohsen Makhmalbaf, 1996, 78 min.) In 1974, when Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf was a 17-year-old anti-Shah militant, he stabbed a policeman at a rally. Makhmalbaf found himself in prison for six years, while the police officer suffered serious injuries. Many years later, after Makhmalbaf had found fame as a director, he ran into the same police officer during a film shoot, and they agreed to collaborate on a film. In the brilliantly structured A Moment of Innocence, we witness the two men as they work together to recreate this incident. As they go about this process, we discover that the men have very different memories of what transpired on that pivotal day.
- Chris Boeckmann

momentofinnocence

The Mirror (dir. Jafar Panahi, 1997, 93 min.) In the center of Tehran, as the day comes to a close, a young first-grader named Mina (played by Mina Mohammad-Khani) walks out of her school and discovers that her mother is nowhere to be found. Impatient, and with one arm in a sling, she decides to find her own way home. Mina boards a bus and listens in on the various conversations unfolding around her. That bus, it turns out, is heading the wrong direction. Eventually, all of a sudden, a frustrated Mina does something surprising. Jafar Panahi, then a protégé of Close-Up director Abbas Kiarostami, directed this playfully reflexive 1997 film.
- Chris Boeckmann

themirror

The Apple (dir. Samira Makhmalbaf, 1999, 86 min.) Directed by a then 17-year-old Samira Makhmalbaf (daughter of Mohsen Makhmalbaf, who co-wrote the screenplay), this 1998 film recreates a scandalous news story using the real life participants. In an Iranian neighborhood, a strict, unemployed father and his blind wife keep their 11-year-old twin daughters, Massoumeh and Zahra, locked in their house. After neighbors complain to the welfare ministry, a social worker comes to release them. Makhmalbaf’s quasi-documentary follows Massoumeh and Zahra as they receive their first taste of freedom and observes their father as he sits behind bars, reflecting on his actions. Makhmalbaf’s auspicious debut is a profoundly unsettling exploration of patriarchy. Screens with “The House Is Black” (Forough Farrokhzad, 1963, 22 min.).
- Chris Boeckmann

theapple

 

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Posted February 10, 2014

‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ is Coming to the Jubilee

On opening night, February 27th, the historic Missouri Theatre plays host to The Jubilee, our masquerade gala marking the beginning of a new True/False. This event is sponsored by our friends at LaBrunerie Financial and features six of Columbia’s best bartenders. After mingling with fellow fest-goers and partaking in plentiful libations, we’ll watch the festival’s first screening in this august setting. This year we feel we found a film perfect for the evening’s exuberant atmosphere.

jodorwsky

In 1975, cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky attempted to adapt the classic sci-fi novel Dune, along with a team of collaborators including Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali and Pink Floyd. Jodorowsky’s Dune uses phenomenal storyboards and concept sketches to tell the story of this unique project, which, despite its ultimate failure, serves as an inspiring example of uncompromising artistic ambition.

In the film’s trailer you can hear from Jodorowsky himself about the incredible goals that he set for himself in making Dune.

Frank Pavich, the director of Jodorowky’s Dune, will be on hand at both the Jubilee and other T/F screenings to share stories and answer your questions. We hope to see you there!

jodorwsky-dune

 

 

Posted February 3, 2014

True/False 2014 ‘Magic Realism’ Poster

Behold, the True/False 2014 poster has arrived! This image is designed to convey this year’s theme, “Magic Realism”.

It quotes “The Marvelous Orange Tree” illusion invented by Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, the father of modern magic. In it, a small barren tree is coaxed to produce first flowers and then fruit by a persuasive magician. The intricate cogs and gears of the mechanism, though in many ways every bit as wondrous a feat as the suggested illusion, are hidden from sight. This is the magic of all filmmaking, the careful cloaking of the watchworks to produce passion, marvel and delight!

The poster was created by artist Akiko Stehrenberger with art direction by veteran T/F collaborator Erik Buckham. More of Akiko’s work will be on display at the Uprise during the festival, with 10% of the sales going towards the True Life Fund.

final poster

Posted January 23, 2014

Create a Film for Gimme Truth!

Gimme Truth!, the T/F game show, returns Saturday, March 1 at The Vimeo Theater at The Blue Note in downtown Columbia. It’s the festival’s most unique event. It’s also the best opportunity for Missourians to get their name out there and have high-profile filmmakers see their work. In recent years our judges included Derek Waters of Comedy Central’s Drunk History and Oscar winner Malik Bendjelloul.

Gimme Truth game show at The Blue Note, March 2. Photo by Parker Michels-Boyce

Gimme Truth! is made up of 10 two-minute films that are either 100% true or 100% false. The goal for each contestant is to make an intriguing, short  movie that fools three “celebrity” judges, each of whom are filmmakers appearing at the festival.

The top three films will win prizes!

1st place: Lux Pass to the 2015 fest, a weekend RED rental package and four-hour color grading session from Chimaeric and additional prizes that have yet to be announced!

2nd place: Lux Pass to the 2015 fest

3rd place: Simple Pass to the 2015 fest

Submissions are free before the early-bird deadline of January 24, 2014. After that there will be a $20 submission fee. Final deadline is February 17, 2013. All filmmakers who submit a film get a complimentary ticket to the event, while the 10 finalists get four tickets.

You can read all the rules and qualifications for Gimme Truth! here.

To spark your creativity, here are a few segment from last year’s show!

 

Posted January 14, 2014

T/F Awarded Three Year Grant by AMPAS for the Neither/Nor Series

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has awarded a three-year, $75,000 grant to the True/False. The funds will help produce our Neither/Nor series, which celebrates “chimeric” works that straddle the line between fiction and nonfiction.

Being recognized by the Academy in such a significant way is one of the greatest milestones in our history. Because of their support, we’ll be able to delve deeper into the exhilarating work suggested by our name.

Begun earlier this year with a survey of films shot in New York during the ‘60s, the Neither/Nor series is an ongoing project. Each Fest, T/F will collaborate with a visiting film critic to map the history (and present) of chimeric cinema. We believe that by championing a more permeable line between forms, both the non-fiction and fiction film can be reimagined in fresh and provocative ways.

For its second Neither/Nor edition, we plan to highlight Iranian chimeras, a rich tradition of unclassifiable, self-reflexive cinema that received international attention in the 1990s. Critic Godfrey Cheshire, who has written extensively on Iranian cinema, will produce a limited-edition monograph and present four films at the festival.

Posted November 18, 2013

‘Revolving Doors’ Panel

The T/F 2013 “Revolving Doors” panel brought together two filmmakers with work traversing the fuzzy boundary between fiction and documentary. Sarah Gavron spent a year in a remote Greenland community creating her doc Village at the End of the World (T/F 2013) and is currently developing Suffragette, a fictional film staring Carey Mulligan as an early feminist foot solider. Joshua Marston is responsible for the grounded, reality-infused films Maria Full of Grace and The Forgiveness of Blood. In conversation with moderator Eugene Hernandez, the pair tried to discover just what the two branches of cinema have to say to one another. How do fictional films capture the documentary “sense of discovery”? How does a documentary “honestly” utilize fictional elements? Do “based on a true story” movies cheat?

Our T/F 2013 panels were recorded by our partners at Columbia Access Television. If you’d like to take “Revolving Doors” with you as a podcast, you can download an mp3 here.

Posted November 12, 2013

‘The Revolution Will Be Criticized’ Panel

Do film critics approach documentaries differently than fiction? Should they? When evaluating nonfiction, do critics mistakenly elevate “importance” over form, story over storytelling? Is it fair to always expect documentaries to be art?

These are just a few of the questions taken up by moderator Robert Greene and critics Eric Hynes, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Miriam Bale and Vadim Rizov in our panel “The Revolution Will Be Criticized: Do Critics Miss the Boat on Nonfiction Filmmaking?” which took place at the Odd Fellows Lodge during T/F 2013.

This panel was occasioned Robert Greene’s Cinematic Nonfiction 2012 piece for Hammer to Nail. In this article, Greene expressed frustration over Manohla Dargis’s New York Times review of Only the Young (T/F 2012), a review he considered symptomatic of critical culture’s failure to understand documentary not as a rigid genre but as a “way of seeing”.

The entire panel is available in the video embedded below thanks to the work of our friends at Columbia Access Television. You can also take this entire conversation with you as an audio podcast by downloading an mp3 here.

Posted October 29, 2013
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