Events

True Life Fund raises $36,760 for RISC and the Milton Margai School for the Blind

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.

Which Way is the Front Line From Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington premieres on HBO this Thursday, April 18th. A slideshow of Tim’s photography is available on their website.

 

Posted April 12, 2013

T/F 2013 Photo Team Favorites

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

Parker Michel-Boyce - HomepageT/F Facebook Album

Rebecca Allen – HomepageT/F Facebook Album

Roxana Pop - T/F Facebook Album

Sarah Hoffman – HomepageT/F Facebook Album

Scott Patrick Myers – HomepageT/F Facebook Album

Stephen Bybee – HomepageT/F Facebook Album

Taylor Glascock - HomepageT/F Facebook Album

Posted March 14, 2013

Fest Digest #5: Such Sweet Sorrow

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
-Alex @amc112

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.
-Em. @EmilyRackers

Again, our deepest thanks to everyone who made this festival happen. Here’s to the next ten years!

Posted March 4, 2013

Fest Digest #4: Super Saturday

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.

photo by Andrew Richmond

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.

photo by Catherine Meagher

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!

photo by Scott Patrick Myers

Posted March 3, 2013

Fest Digest #1: Here We Go!

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.

photo by Sarah Hoffman

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!

photo by Catherine Meagher

We’ll have more to report real soon. In the meantime, check out our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more images and updates.

Posted February 28, 2013

Panels Preview

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.

Picture from the "Off the Screen and Into the Streets" Panel at T/F 2011

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.

 

Posted

Art and Design Preview

This year we are celebrating ten years of True/False with “The Collective Architecture of the Impossible”. Artist Erik Buckham’s fanciful favela is the perfect visual representation of our shared achievement, the result of the hard work and joyful energy thousands of volunteers, musicians, staff members, artists, filmmakers, sponsors and attendees have contributed to the festival over the course of a decade.

This idea of Collective Architecture speaks forcefully to the work of our design team. Every year the combined efforts of visiting artists, production staff and assisting volunteers transform downtown Columbia for four magical days, creating a utopia where new discoveries lie around every corner. The Art and Design page has a complete a venue by venue, installation by installation run down of everything happening around town. You also shouldn’t miss Rebecca Allen’s stunning photo essay of our production team hard at work.

Downtown’s main artery is Alley A, running from the Tiger Hotel over to Ragtag Cinema, and cutting right behind our box office. “Stilted”, California-based artist Yulia Pinkusevich’s ambitious take on The Collective Architecture of the Impossible, will cover the length of this passageway. You should visit Yulia’s homepage for numerous pictures and videos of her extensive body of work. Here’s a picture of small piece of “Stilted”.

The Mud Stencils, Jesse Graves and Morgan Herum, will be returning for their third True/False, decorating Columbia’s sidewalks and walls with their environmentally friendly street art. Last year they created this excellent bee mural next to Willie’s.

Moveable Type is setting up shop in the parking lot of the Picturehouse, our theater at the Missouri United Methodist Church. Kyle Durrie and her letterpressing 1982 Chevy van will be making custom prints using methods that have been around since the 1500s. Here’s a poster they made last year.

Right around the corner on the Picturehouse lawn members of St. Louis’s SPORE Collective are building “Migratory Hive Project” entirely out of reclaimed materials. This project will be massive when finished, but be sure to note the details.

For the Oddfellows Lounge Chicago based artist Theresa Vishnevetskaya created a piece called “Organ No. 2″, a hypnotic aggregation of ambient light, animatronics and interactive sound. See for yourself in this brief demonstration.

At the Southeast corner of Ninth and Cherry Gabe Meyer and Brian Doss are presenting “From Here To Home”, their dumpster-turned-work-of-art. This piece challenges traditional notions of what makes a house a home while tempting passers-by to curl up and take a nap beneath the warm glow of discarded plastic bags.

Artist Greg Orloff, the man responsible for both Ragtag’s digital conversion robot Lumen (hanging out at The Missouri Theater) and T/F 2010′s Time Machine, is turning a mishmash of gadgets and light into a film reel in the lobby of Jesse Hall. Meanwhile designers Gabrielle Parish, Audrey Keiffer, Madeline Carl and Dan Bugnitz are transforming our box office into an interactive playground of the miniature and the gargantuan.

photo by Stephen Bybee

At The Blue Note Glenn Rice’s returning sea creatures will be joined by coral incrusted TVs featuring video from the Chicago Film Archives. And Camellia Cosgray’s beautiful lighted megamap continues to adorn the wall of The Globe.

All of this just scratched the surface, as each and every venue at T/F has its own character and design. Be sure to refer back to the Art and Design page of your program all weekend to help navigate the art of True/False.

 

 

Posted February 26, 2013

T/F 2013 Concerts Preview

Attending True/False, it is easy to get caught up in the mad scramble to see as many films as possible. But T/F is about more than just films, and sometimes its good to take a break and diversify your festival experience. One excellent way is our music showcases, your chance to get the most out of the amazing collection of buskers the fest brings to town.

This year’s concerts take place at classic T/F venues such as Mojo’s, the Blue Fugue, Cafe Berlin and Eastside Tavern. But we’ve also added afternoon shows at two of downtown Columbia’s hippest hangouts, Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream and Maude Vintage.

Things kick-off one night early on Wednesday, February 27 at Eastside Tavern. The rockin’ late-night bill features Cloud Dog, Rip Rap and the psychedelic Wooden Indian Burial Ground from Portland, Oregon.

For something a little more laid back, swing by the Blue Fugue on Thursday for “Tree/Folk”. This show boasts an impressive collection of singer-songwriters: Jack Grelle and the Johnson Family, James Miska & Lake Mary and Ruth Acuff whose beautiful voice you can hear below performing “Wind Chime”.

Meanwhile over at Cafe Berlin you can enjoy an experimental line-up: Flux Bikes, Paul Rucker,  Dark Blue Dark Green and the enigmatic Syna So Pro.

Friday, things really get hoppin’. At two in the afternoon you can pick up a scoop at Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream and catch Meeyoo and La Operación Jarocha performing traditional Mexican and American folk tunes. That night at Cafe Berlin The Flood Brothers, Yva Las Vegass, Jerusalem and the Starbaskets and The Hooten Hallers are going to bring down the house, while over at Mojo’s you can see Hawk and a Hacksaw and returning T/F favorites David Wax Museum.

Late that night, the eclectic thirty-plus-piece marching band Mucca Pazza will perform a show free for all passholders at The Blue Note. They’re sure to be riding high after leading our rambunctious March March parade earlier that day.

On Saturday things get underway early again. This time the two p.m. show is at Maude Vintage. It’s an instrumental world music showcase featuring Hema, Prahlad and Nathaniel Braddock. That night the Blue Fugue has another folky bill, bringing together Cindy Woolf & Mark Bilyeu, Les Trois Coups and the soaring melodies of Lizzie Wright Super Spaceship.

Over at Cafe Berlin you can catch Mountain Animation, Yes Ma’am, Run On Sentence and T/F mainstays from Portland, Maine, Toughcats.

True/False Saturday always comes to a fitting end at Mojo’s A-Go-Go, and 2013 is no exception. This year’s edition features Husk, (the side project of the Powell brother’s of The Believers), local psychedelic rockers Hott Lunch and So Many Dynamos. The later are St. Louis based indie rockers who recently celebrated ten years as a band.

Finally, on Sunday, T/F 2013 comes to a bittersweet end with Buskers Last Stand. If you happen to be attending the closing night film at Jesse Hall, there’ll be a procession of buskers leading fest-goers back downtown, so we can all meet up in the lobby of the Missouri Theater and bring the festival to a close together.

Be sure to head on over to the concerts page for a complete listing with start times and ticket information and the musicians page to read up on the bands and listen to more music. And we’ll see you at the shows!

 

Posted February 12, 2013

Rodriguez at Roots N Blues N BBQ

Forty two years after the release of his unappreciated masterpiece Cold Fact, Sixto Rodriguez finally arrived in Columbia, MO last weekend on Friday September 21st.  The Detroit based singer-songwriter performed for thousands in Peace Park as part of the 6th Annual Roots N Blues N BBQ Festival, which also featured performances by Marty Stuart, John Mayal, Al Green, and dozens more.

The strange and wonderful story of Rodriguez’s resurrection is the subject of Malik Bendjelloul’s documentary Searching for Sugar Man (T/F 2012). It will be playing at our sister theater Ragtag Cinema for another week. It’s hero, South African fan Stephen “Sugar” Segerman, still operates the official Rodriguez website at Sugarman.org. You can listen film’s official soundtrack on Spotify.

Last Friday’s set was divided in two. Rodriguez took the stage backed by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, allowing him to perform full, soaring compositions of songs like “Sugar Man” and “Crucify Your Mind”. The second half featured Rodriguez onstage alone with his guitar. This section mixed a healthy dose of covers, such as the Little Willie John Blues classic “Fever”, with stripped down renditions of Rodriguez’s original material, like the always moving “I Think of You”.

Rodriguez’s lyrics have the effortless complexity of all great poetry, and his music feels imminently relevant in its personal and political resonance, despite being written decades ago. Between songs, Sixto appeared on stage much as he does in Sugar Man: sincere, decent, and unassuming. He kidded around with the audience, telling stories and silly jokes, always with a smile. “Want to know the secret of life?” he asked the audience early on. “All you got to do is keep breathing in and breathing out.”

-Dan Steffen

Posted September 28, 2012

Sugar Man and Rodriguez coming to Columbia

True/False 2012 came to superb finish at the historic Missouri Theater with Searching for Sugar Man, Swedish director Malik Bendjelloul’s telling of the stranger than fiction story of Detroit based singer-songwriter Rodriguez. Releasing a mere two records in the early 70s, Rodriguez attracted only a cult following in the States, but improbably inspired the anti-apartheid movement half a world away through his haunting, soul searching music. Then he disappeared, leaving in his wake a host of rumors and myths.

Now, both the film and Rodriguez himself are coming to Columbia. Searching for Sugar Man opens on Friday, September 14th at Ragtag Cinema and Rodriguez himself will be headlining the opening night of Roots N Blues N BBQ one week later on September 21st.

In the six months since the fest, this remarkable story has reverberated throughout the world. The doc has received rave reviews from the critics, including Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-TimesElla Taylor of NPR, and Mark Kermode of the BBC, seen below.

Bendjelloul and Rodriguez have given a number of interviews, including one with Little White Lies magazine where they explain how the film came to be. Sugar Man’s soundtrack is available streaming on Spotify or for purchase on Amazon. And just a few weeks back Rodriguez performed “Crucify Your Mind” on the Late Show with David Lettermen.

Our friends at the Columbia Daily Tribune are offering a chance to win tickets to both the film and concert. We hope to see you there!

Posted September 8, 2012
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