CoMo Girls Rock! is a summer camp dedicated to empowering girls ages 12-18 through creative expression, musical exploration and performance. Camp founders Luci Cook, Leola Davis and Amanda Rainey were inspired by the documentary Girls Rock! (T/F 2008) to create a local chapter of the nationwide alliance. CoMo Girls Rock!’s first ever week-long session just wrapped up yesterday, and now the campers get to show off what they’ve learned. The Girls Rock! showcase begins at 7 tonight at Mojo’s. All proceeds from the show will go towards next year’s camp, so come on out and show your support!
The rollicking roots band Yes Ma’am took T/F 2013 by storm with their commanding performances before films and on Ninth Street. Led by guitarist/singer Matthew Brecken, these buskers from the streets of New Orleans are clearly going places. While Brecken’s voice may be the first thing you notice, this knockabout combo of banjo, washboard, standup bass and gypsy fiddle are as thick as thieves and as tight as a tick: the perfect band to accompany the sun going down over the river at the Boone Dawdle on August 17.
See for yourself in the video below, part of Folk to Folk’s coverage of music at T/F 2013.
Summer is back. As you map your plans to enjoy the sunshine, don’t forget about our modest contribution to the season. Saturday, August 17th is the fourth edition of The Boone Dawdle, a day long celebration of nature, biking, music, food and film. Tickets for the 2013 Boone Dawdle are on sale now. Not only is this curious little expedition a great time, it also helps raise money that keeps the True/False Film Fest cruising along through the off-season.
Things will get underway at Flat Branch Park, where some of us will meet up before peddling westward down the Katy Trail. The whimsical bike ride that follows will feature numerous trail-side surprises and musical interludes. Eventually, we’ll all get together at Les Bourgeois Winery in Rocheport (those who forgo the bike ride can drive or take a shuttle) where we’ll share cuisine and libations. As the sun begins to set, we’ll find seats on the beautiful limestone bluff overlooking the Missouri River and enjoy a concert and outdoor screening of a new documentary. The evening will end with a filmmaker Q and A before we all hop a shuttle back to CoMo.
photo by Andy Richmond
The film playing this summer’s Boone Dawdle has yet to be revealed. In the past three years, we’ve featured docs with stories both shockingly bizarre and unmistakably human.
In 2010 we watched Best Worst Movie. In it director and Boone Dawdle guest Michael Stephenson looks into both the making of and fandom surrounding Troll 2, the movie he starred in as a child and tried so very hard to forget. Widely regarded as one of the worst movies ever, the so-bad-it’s-good Troll 2 features no trolls, but is instead the story of a family vacation in Nilbog, a town whose residents are secretly militant vegetarian goblins plotting to feed the family special green food so that they can be transformed into plants and thus consumed. In Best Worst Movie, the show is stolen by our other guest, the eminently likeable small town dentist George Hardy. George always dreamed of being a star, and in Troll 2 he gives a performance for the ages as the family patriarch.
In its second year, the Boone Dawdle brought us Last Days Here. This film documents the moving resurrection of Bobby Liebling, front man of the underappreciated hard rock act Pentagram. Our guest that year was the film’s unlikely hero, metal enthusiast Sean Pelletier. Sean’s love of Pentagram‘s music led him to track down Bobby, and eventually help rescue him from the depths of drug addiction. With Sean’s help, Bobby triumphantly returned to the stage in 2011, as you can see below.
Last year we screened The Source (recently renamed The Source Family) the stranger-than-fiction story of an early 70s new age movement, led by health food guru and reformed armed robber Jim Baker, renamed in enlightenment as Father Yod. Moving into a communal home, the family attempted a radical restarting of human society, experimenting with meditation, drugs and plural marriage. The Source Family is just now scheduled to return to Mid-Missouri and will be playing at Ragtag Cinema beginning on June 17. Our Boone Dawdle guests that year were co-director Jodi Wille and family member/historian Isis Aquarian, who compiled the rich archival materials that made the film possible. Among the many other things, these include the far-out recordings of the family’s psych-rock band, the Yahowha 13.
Keep an eye out for the announcement of our 2013 film sometime soon. And we look forward to seeing you along the trail!
La Operación Jarocha hail from Veracruz, Mexico and appeared at T/F 2013 alongside the film Who is Dayani Cristal? which features their music. These energetic performers were also a part of our first ever at music showcase at Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream, a long time sponsor of the fest. Thankfully our friends from Folk to Folk were there to capture a stirring performance. See for yourself!
Each year, the True/False Film Fest selects one film as its True Life Fund recipient. This is a way for us to give back to that film’s subject who has made a significant achievement in selfless social impact. When documentary subjects share their stories with us they not only reveal painful details about their lives, they frequently incur a financial burden or even put themselves in danger. This year’s True Life Fund film, Which Way is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington, tells the story of someone who has already given his life. Tim worked as a photojournalist in war torn countries, documenting the true life stories of the people he found there. He died on the way to the hospital from complications due to shrapnel wounds while photographing the civil war in Libya. Columbia has a rich history of producing great journalists, so we felt our home town would be especially responsive to Tim’s story. That has proven to be so, with the 2013 True Life Fund reaching a new record in donations, totaling $36,760.
This number was reached through a combination of audience donations made during the two screenings of the film during the fest, entry fees for the True Life Run, a generous matching donation from the Bertha Foundation, support from the official True Life Fund sponsor The Crossing and the incredible efforts of the students of Hickman High School. $20,000 of the funds will go to RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues), an organization founded by the film’s director Sebastian Junger in honor of his fallen colleague and Restrepo co-director, Tim Hetherington. In a phone conversation Wednesday between RISC’s Deputy Director, Lily Hindy, and True Life Fund director, Tracy Lane, Hindy was overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of Columbia, “We are so grateful. Thanks to you, we can fund an entire training session.” Each training session provides 24 combat journalists with a medical kit and the medical skills needed to save each other’s lives on the battlefield. Junger visited The Crossing during T/F, to share his experiences alongside his former colleague on the battle field and to explain the life-saving opportunities that RISC provides. Hindy visited Columbia’s three public high schools as well as the photojournalism department at MU during T/F week, to share information about RISC with young journalists. $16,760 will go to the Milton Margai School for the Blind in Sierra Leone, where Tim took many photographs.
True/False 2013 has come and gone, a heady whirlwind of art, conversation and celebration. We’re still swapping stories and laughs and trying to come to terms with it all.
Fortunately, a team of talented, professional photographers contributed their services and captured dazzling images all for us all weekend long. We asked the members of this team to share their favorites from their own pics. You’ll find these pictures below, organized by photographer. You can also check out the day by day galleries on our photo page and even more photos in our Facebook albums. We’ve included links to the photographers’ homepages so that you can explore their other work or hire them to document an event of your own.
Josh Hailey- Homepage
Kevin Dingman - T/F Facebook Album
Roxana Pop - T/F Facebook Album
Alas, another True/False is behind us, and we must all part ways. The gratitude we are feeling towards our town, our volunteers, our guests and everyone else who came out to support the fest can not be put into words. Thank you, together we built something special.
If you’re looking to bask in the afterglow of T/F 2013, we can point you in a few directions. Our friends at the Columbia Daily Tribune really outdid themselves with their coverage this year. The crowd-sourced POYi photo project offers a random tour of the weekend that was. And KBIA created an audio postcard from the fest. We’ll have much more coverage on our blog as it begins to roll in over the next few days.
We’d like to thank the good people at Encyclopedia Pictura for creating the video series that played before our screenings this year. This was the first time our bumpers were themselves documentaries, recording the creation of strange and wonderful structures. You can revisit the Adventure Fort, Camping Rafts, Driftwood Cabin and Subterranean Breakfast Nook on Vimeo.
Sunday was another day crammed full of films and events. To name just a few, at The Blue Note the La Operación Jarocha of Veracruz played a fiery set before a showing of Who is Dayani Cristal?, the film they created the soundtrack for. Later, co-director David Wilson presented Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel with our True Vision Award before a screening of their powerfully immersive Leviathan. David noted their work is “changing the way other filmmakers think about film”.
Following a packed screening of Cutie and the Boxer at the historic Missouri Theater, 81-year old action-painter Ushio Shinohara jabbed at a canvas in the parking lot of Tiger Cleaners.
Our big closing night films at Jesse and the Missouri Theater were Twenty Feet From Stardom and No. Afterwards everyone huddled together in the Missouri Theater’s lobby for the bittersweet Busker’s Last Stand. They assembled musicians brought True/False 2013 to a fitting conclusion.
One last look at some of the reactions on our #truefalse hashtag.
Driving home, trying to pick a favorite film of the fest. Have to say The Gatekeepers. Loved the transparency of the sujects. #truefalse
Can’t stop thinking about “The Crash Reel”– an incredible, inspiring documentary @lucyjwalker @KevinPearce #truefalse
-Candice Aviles @CandiceAviles
I am so proud of the so many people from The Crossing I see volunteering this weekend at true/false. #truefalse
-Dave Cover @davecover
#TheInstitute was the perfect cap for #truefalse this year. Best Q&A of the festival.
-Mike Sickels @SocioMike
COMPUTER CHESS is a weird ass TERMINATOR prequel #truefalse
-Robert Greene @prewarcinema
Favorite #truefalse discoveries: CUTIE AND THE BOXER and THESE BIRDS WALK. LEVIATHAN was a delightfully dark trance.
-Brent Thorsen @brentthorsen
Went to #truefalse thinking I’d just see some films. Ended up with an emotional, life-changing weekend that added perspective to my life.
Again, our deepest thanks to everyone who made this festival happen. Here’s to the next ten years!
Saturday is the biggest and craziest day of True/False. Today featured 42 screenings on 8 screens in addition to concerts, panels, a fete, a stroll, a race and a game show!
Things started off at 9:00 AM with an extra chilly edition of our True Life Run. Seventy or so brave souls faced down the cold and competed, with Mike Burden finishing victorious.
The True Life Run is a benefit for our True Life Fund. Which Way is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington, this year’s True Life Fund film, played to a near capacity crowd at the 1,700 seat Jesse Hall in an especially moving screening. Before the film pastor Dave Cover of sponsor The Crossing explained his church’s interest in “film as a window into the human condition”. Afterwards Sebastian Junger received a standing ovation for his film about his fallen comrade.
As David mentioned at the show, this is the first time the subject of the True Life Film is no longer with us. The Fund will be benefiting two causes, The Milton Margais School for the Blind, an institution that played an important role in Tim’s life and work, and Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues, a charity created by Junger to offer freelance war reporters free medical training. Junger explained why started RISC, “I realized that if I had been with him, I couldn’t have saved his life, cause I didn’t know what to do either”. You can donate to the True Life Fund online.
Saturday’s events included our annual soiree at PS Gallery, the Filmmaker Fete.
And Speed Levitch’s whimsical tour of the town, The Speculative Stroll.
The 2013 edition of Gimme Truth!, the world’s only (known) documentary game show, was the first to feature a panel of all returning judges, reigning champion Heidi Ewing (Detropia, Jesus Camp), Bill Ross (Tchoupitoulas, 45365) and Sergio Oksman (Notes on the Other, A Story for the Modlins). Between tequila shots, the trio watched ten 2-minute shorts and tried determine if they were 100% True or 100% False. Hosted by Johnny St. John, Gimme Truth! is big part of what makes True/False True/False.
T/F’s Chelsea Myers interviewed Lucy Walker, the director of one of Saturday’s big hits, The Crash Reel, for this short video. In it Walker discusses the multi-source documentary.
As always, our secret weapon, the T/F busking army, was out in full force. The day concluded the So Many Dynamos headlining our Mojo’s A-Go-Go showcase. Earlier, Snya So Pro warmed up a crowd at The Blue Note.
Our #truefalse hashtag continues to collect outbursts of enthusiasm. Here are a few examples:
Crash Reel had me tearing up so many times. Such a great film. Congrats to Lucy Walker and team! #truefalse
-Dan Lindsay @dan_lindsay
Wow! The Last Station. Intimate look at the last days of life with fantastic cinematography. And the sounds too, so wonderful. #truefalse
-Brandon Hoops @courtsidehoops
I’ve got that cold clammy hand feeling of just having seen one of the best docs in years; THE ACT OF KILLING. #truefalse
-Tom Roston @DocSoupMan
“Cutie and the Boxer” is a revelation. A near-perfect film. #truefalse
-Aarik Danielsen @aarikdanielsen
“Which Way Is the Front Line from Here?”: The life of a journalist who successfully humanized war and people involved. #truefalse
-Katie Yaeger @KatieYaeger
When Jeremy Scahill spoke after Dirty Wars, I just wanted to get up and shout “AMEN” to everything he said. #truefalse
-Beatriz Costa-Lima ?@Bcostalima
Cutie and the Boxer was a unique love story, romantic but also painfully messy. And to meet the protagonists! What a day. #truefalse
-Luke Damiani @lukeandrewd
Can you believe it? Only one day left. We’ll see you tomorrow!
Welcome to the T/F 2013 Fest digest, a running report of everything (well, at least some things) going on around town during these four crazy days. For more coverage of T/F 2013 we highly recommend the Columbia Daily Tribune’s excellent True/False hub.
As Paul and David point out in this year’s welcome, True/False wouldn’t and couldn’t exist without our army of volunteers. We received a convincing reminder earlier this week when a winter storm dumped several inches of snow on Columbia. Our volunteers answered the call and armed with shovels cleared sidewalks and alleyways.
Thanks to their valiant efforts, we are now officially underway. Our box office at the corner of Hitt and Broadway is buzzing with excitement.
And our first official screening, Village At the End of the World, has begun at the Forrest Theater!
Every year True/False attracts an amazing collection of the sharpest minds in nonfiction film. Q and As are great, but to get the most out of this assembly of intellects you’ll need to check out our panels. This series of eight conversations runs Friday through Sunday at The Odd Fellows Lodge at the southwest corner of Tenth and Walnut. All of these discussions are free and open to the public. Don’t miss your chance to hear in depth from filmmakers and other guests as they bounce ideas off of one another and probe deeper into the science and art of documentary filmmaking.
Things get underway on Friday at 10:30 AM with “The Revolution Will Be Criticized: Do Critics Miss the Boat on Nonfiction Filmmaking?” Robert Greene, director of Kati with an I and Fake It So Real, moderates this discussion on the state of documentary criticism with critics Eric Hynes, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Miriam Bale and Vadim Rizov. This panel is inspired in part by Greene’s recent Hammer to Nail piece on cinematic nonfiction, in which he wrote of film critics:
What are they missing? Well, almost no one is talking seriously about the collapsing walls between fiction, nonfiction and art cinema. Nonfiction cinema would best be described as a way of seeing and less a rigid and prescriptive “genre.” The most interesting documentaries push narrative bounds, re-shoot situations (as opposed to the somewhat tired practice of reenactment), play with the idea of performance, etc. They break the rules. Most interesting fiction, to me, is rooted in the observational camera, staging the action with the soul of cinema verité. How do so-called fiction and nonfiction films speak to each other? How do the stories being told or the situations being captured change according to approach? No one is asking these questions.
This idea of fiction and nonfiction films speaking to one another will be taken up again at 12:30 with the “Revolving Doors” panel. Sarah Gavron, director of the documentary Village at the End of the World and Josh Marston, director of the fictional films The Forgiveness of Blood and Maria Full of Grace will attempt to elucidate what their disciplines can teach each other.
Friday’s panels conclude at 2:30 with “Military Secrets: Filming in the Armed Forces” moderated by Steve James of Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters and most relevantly The War Tapes. Participates Rick Rowley and Sebastian Junger both have war related films in this year’s festival (Dirty Wars and Which Way is the Front Line From Here respectively) while the third panelist Kirby Dick recently captured an Independent Spirit Award for best documentary for his film Invisible War. Despite their shared interest in military matters, these are all very different films and the contrasts should make for an interesting exchange.
Saturday things get started again at 10:30 with “Docs in the Land of the Short Attention Span”. Panelists Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar are documentary veterans with impressive filmographies. Their latest collaboration is Reinvention Stories, a just launched web-based interactive film about Dayton, Ohio. In this panel they’ll share what they learned from this project and ponder the promise and peril the internet represents for documentary film.
Next, at 1:00 it’s “Strongmen and Dissidents: Filming in the Former Soviet Union” moderated by Dana O’Keefe of Vladimir Putin in Deep Concentration. This discussion will explore the difficulties of documentary filmmaking in the face of creeping authoritarianism. The panelists are Tinatin Gurchiani of The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear, Maxim Pozdorovkin of Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, Askold Kurov of Winter, Go Away! and the director of Secret Screening Red.
Saturday wraps up at 3:00 with “DIY or DIE! Do-It-Yourself as a Way of Life”, a panel especially relevant to this year’s theme, “The Collective Architecture of the Impossible”. Panelists will discuss the importance of the DIY ethos both inside and outside of the film world. They are Emma Dessau of the Folk to Folk music project, Emily Hemeyer of the St.Louis based art collective Spore, Thomas Sallings of Columbia’s newest music venue, the Hair Hole and the director of Secret Screening Green. Moderated by Julie Shapiro of the Third Coast Film Festival.
Our final two panels take place on Sunday. First at 1 it’s “The Future of What? Staring at the Horizon of Nonfiction Filmmaking.” Ben Fowlie of the Camden International Film Festival will interrogate three filmmakers, each with a singular approach to the creative treatment of actuality. They are Signe Byrge Sørensen of The Act of Killing, Josh Fox of Gasland and Zachary Heinzlinger of Cutie and the Boxer.
Finally, things come to an end at 3:30 with “Every Cut is a Lie: Editing the Truth”. Moderated by David France, director of last year’s Oscar-nominated T/F hit How to Survive a Plague and recent New York Times interviewee, this panel explores the editor’s manipulative art of reassembling reality. Panelists are Robin Schwartz of America’s Parking Lot, Bill Ross of Tchoupitoulas and the editor of Secret Screening Orange.