She Does True/False

If one of your favorite parts of True/False is chatting with our visiting guests, you’re not alone. The festival environment is an auspicious one for fest-goers and filmmakers to connect – both groups energized by the weekend and excited to share ideas about their experiences.

Elaine Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburg have been working on a new podcast in the same spirit. She Does: Conversations with Creative Minds launched in January of this year, and has since been consistently connecting listeners with women artists of all stripes. These conversations are personal and professional – maybe the kind you’d have over coffee at Uprise right after watching a new film?

From their site:

“Whether up and coming or well-established, She Does features notable women of all generations, working at the intersection of media, film, journalism, art and technology. We bring you stories of what makes these women tick, their beginnings, their roadblocks, and the delightful bits in between”


It’s clear that the ladies of She Does have great taste, because they’ve featured tons of True/False makers, musicians, and guests:

Back in January, before she came to True/False with (T)ERROR, Lyric Cabral was featured. Polish filmmaker Hanna Polak talks about her 14-years in the making doc, Something Better to Come (T/F 2015). Linda Pan, of the SundanceNow Doc Club, and Emily Best of Seed and Spark both spoke on our Dollars & Donuts panel about distribution. Fans of T/F buskers will especially enjoy the She Does Music ep, and these featuring music by Dubb Nubb and Pearl and the Beard.

Once you’ve enjoyed those episodes, check out this week’s new ep, Finding Your Own Fun: Pamela Ribon.

by Arin Liberman

Posted August 27, 2015

True/False 2015 Fest Digest: Opening Night!

T/F Opening night brings with it adrenaline and jitters, followed by the sudden ecstasy of being once more in a crowd of fest-goers and a feeling of that excitement echoed back. No matter your preparation, True/False only truly exists in the present, right now.

Before all of the opening night films, the first of Jarred Alterman’s T/F 2015 microfilms examining our concept of time screened. “The Astrophysicist” introduces us to Angela Speck, who explains how, in her extra-intuitive domain of inquiry, time becomes a measurement of distance.



The promise of a new True/False weekend manifests in our annual fancy pants gala, The Jubilee. Costumed T/F fans packed the august Missouri Theatre, enjoying drinks, hors d’oeuvres, the joyful noise created by a menagerie of performing buskers.


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photo by Jarred Gastreich


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photo by Jarred Gastreich


Eventually, we all found our seats for a screening of Best of Enemies a film which offers fascinating context to the vital archival footage of William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal’s seminal televised debates of the late 60s. Afterwards co-director Morgan Neville tried to explain the feeling of finally sharing a film with an audience after being alone with it for so long. He also said he wants to provoke discussion about “civil and uncivil discourse.”


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photo by Megan Stilley


Later at the Vimeo Theater at The Blue Note, Morgan Knibbe’s impressive feature debut Those Who Feel the Fire Burning screened for the very first time in the United States. By forcing us into the perspective of a hovering ghost, the film aims to “throw the audience into the deep” of the difficult and often hopeless lives of recent immigrants to Europe. Afterwards, Knibbe talked with the crowd and T/F programmer Chris Boeckmann about wanting to find a poetic approach to this problem that went “further than the numbers and factual information.”


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photo by Taylor Blatchford


Opening night came to an end at Cafe Berlin with the Toast/False busker showcase, featuring the bittersweet music of Cindy Woolf & Mark Bilyeu, Jack Grelle & Ryan Koenig and The Strangled Darlings, seen below.



photo by Corey Ransberg


Thursday night was but a warm-up for what is in store for us today. But before we plunge ahead, let’s take one more look at the excitement of opening night via the T/F Video Team, whose work features Miss Jubilee & The Humdingers’ song “I Found A New Baby”.


Posted March 6, 2015

True/False 2015 Fest Digest: Beginnings

True/False 2015 is right now.

Welcome to our daily digest. Here we’ll be covering the Fest each day as it happens and trying to talk about True/False as a whole. Paradoxically, the only way to do this is to look closely at a few individual parts. In these daily updates, we’ll be covering just a fraction of the film screenings, Q and As, panel conversations, concerts, parties and art exhibits happening this weekend in coordination with the T/F photo and video teams.

In 2015 we want to talk about time. Among the arts, cinema’s relationship with time is unique. A film only truly exists inside of its brief run-time, yet inside of that sacred set of minutes, great cinema dominates time, underlining it or erasing it, chopping it to pieces or stretching it out before us. Likewise, our festival is a mere four days, but we aim to offer an experience which opens temporally both backwards and forwards, outward into the years.

To look at T/F we need to start not at the beginning, but at many beginnings, conceptual, temporal, geographical of the threads which have gathered together into our festival.

To help explore the daunting theme of time, we once more called upon the services of filmmaker Jarred Alterman, who crafted the microfilms you’ll see before each and every screening. Here’s an enigmatic preview of what he has in store for us.



True/False exists to investigate the contradiction at the heart of cinema, a medium which can faithfully capture slivers of reality while constantly manipulating our experience. A couple years ago we began an important new part of this inquiry thanks to the generous support of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Neither/Nor is an annual partnership with a visiting film critic to map a history of chimeric cinema, films which aggressively embrace cinema’s central paradox. This year in our third Neither/Nor program critic Ela Bittencourt is presenting a series of shamefully under seen work from Poland, covering the last two decades of that nation’s Communist rule. Ela created a beautiful monograph featuring essays and interviews on all six programs in the series, available right now at the Ragtag Box office.

Months of preparation and research for Neither/Nor culminated last night in a kickoff for the series at Ragtag Cinema, downtown CoMo’s 365-day a year cinema born of the same parent organization and inseparable from the Fest in innumerable ways. In the Hittsville gallery space hosted a photography show of the work of filmmaker Bogdan Dziworski, one of the Polish masters we’re honoring this year.


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photo by Taylor Blatchford


Inside Ragtag’s big theater we held a reception for Ela with authentic Polish food from Columbia’s Cafe Poland. We then settled in for a presentation of Arena of Life, a program of unforgettable short films by Bogdan. Afterwards Bogdan spoke excitedly as Ela translated about his desire to blend the surreal and the real through aggressive sound design and told an unbelievable story about a planned prison break.


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photo by Rebecca Allen


Meanwhile, our annual fundraising effort for a documentary subject, the True Life Fund, is already well underway. Filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer, the man responsible for The Act of Killing and it’s companion film The Look of Silence has made appearances at all four Columbia high schools, discussing with students how Adi Rukun, The Look’s protagonist, heroically confronted the still powerful men who killed his brother along with hundreds of thousands of others in Indonesia’s anti-communist purges of 1965-66.



photo by Allison Coffelt


At our venues around town and on the University of Missouri campus, our army of volunteers has once more sprung into action, transforming spaces into temporary, yet glorious cinemas. Below you can see the ball room of the Tiger Hotel in the process of becoming The Forrest Theater once more.


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photo by Morgan Lieberman


Our production team has already spent months and months in T/F’s secret lab, constructing the numerous art installations which will reveal a hidden utopia inside of our city. Here Glenn Rice installs his “light cone” piece in downtown’s central artery, Alley A.



photo by Rebecca Allen


And our central hub of operations, the T/F Box Office, has settled into its new home in Imago Gallery at Hitt and Broadway. The bustling crowds picked up their tickets and passes and scooped out the merch underneath chandeliers and murals dedicated to a creature with extraordinary longevity.


Beautiful artwork overlooking the box office. Photo by Billie Stock

photo by Billie Stock


Finally, last night T/F eve came to an end at Eastside Tavern, where Relevant Hairstyles where part of a weird and wild start to our 2015 music program. Buskers will be playing before each and every screening this weekend.



photo by Jon Asher


It’s about time. The preparation is finally at an end. Let’s get started.

-Dan Steffen
Minister of Propaganda

Posted March 5, 2015

An Interview with Shilpa Ray

Shilpa Ray is as raucous a harmonium player as you will find and possibly the first in the history of True/False buskers. The Brooklyn musician is coming to True/False with her backing band to play the Saturday Showcase at Rose Music Hall and even sneak in a few busking gigs throughout the Fest. She’s a documentary film fan and sandwich lover. So, she’ll fit in just fine.



I got the chance to chat with Shilpa via email a few weeks back while New York was facing down a possible blizzard.

-Zac Early


True/False: As you know, True/False is a film festival primarily focusing on documentary film. The films at the fest play with ideas of fact and fiction and what lies in between. Considering this, what would the synopsis of a film about your life and career be?

Shilpa Ray: A woman dreaming of a life like Bonnie and Clyde becomes Dillinger instead.

T/F: Are you a documentary fan? Do you have a favorite documentary film and why is it a favorite?

SR: I do love me some documentaries. I enjoy a lot of music ones but I also draw a lot of inspiration from non-musicals as well. I’m a huge Ken Burns fan. Jazz and The West are my favorites. I also love Ric Burns’ New York, Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man, Robert J. Flaherty’s Nanook of the North, and Martin Scorcese’s The Blues. I suppose the documentary series that had the greatest impact on me was the PBS Rock and Roll mini series. I recorded it on to VHS when I was a teenager. My parents were incredibly strict when I was growing up, so for fun I read a lot of books, listened to tons of music and watch this series on repeat. I got my mind blown watching footage of the VU, The Doors, the Stooges, David Bowie, the Animals, The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, Janis and Big Brother Holding Company, The Jefferson Airplane, The Byrds, Sly and the Family Stone, P-Funk, Television, Patti Smith, Blondie, Grand Master Flash, Afrika Bambaatta and Kraftwerk . I watched it so religiously. I’d jump around in my bedroom miming all the parts. It was my world.

T/F: The theme for this year’s fest is ‘The Long Now’. How do you and your band fit into this idea of the long now? What does ‘The Long Now’ mean to you?

SR: Isn’t that just defining reality? I suppose documentaries are feeding into a certain kind of fantasy. Condensing one’s subject into highlights, climaxes and rock bottoms. In the meantime we’re all making sandwiches, sleeping, working, getting high and paying bills– lots and lots of bills.

T/F: You will be performing both as a busker and with your band at the Saturday night showcase. How will your busker and showcase performances contrast for fest attendees looking to catch you in both settings?

SR: Whoa! Busking? Really? I had no idea. Sounds like fun though. From what people tell me I’m “really intense” so we’ll see how that works out in-between making sandwiches.

T/F: Sandwiches?  What made you bring up sandwiches?

SR: I was so hungry. We are going through “Snowmaggedon” right now and everyone got hysterical. There’s no food left at my grocery store. It’s crazy out here, with not enough snow.

T/F: Last year, 20,000 Days on Earth, the film about a day in Nick Cave’s life, showed at T/F. You have toured with Cave and released a solo record on his label. What has that been like to work with someone of his stature?

SR: He’s a lot of fun. One of the funniest and real people I’ve ever met. He used to make me sandwiches on the tour bus. They were pretty damn good.

T/F: Other than Nick Cave, who are some other musicians you have worked with who influence your music?

SR: Steven Bernstein. He’s more than a stalwart in the New York jazz scene. He’s worked with John Zorn, Lou Reed, John Lurie, tons and tons of rad people. I got to work with him for the Sly Stone and Shell Silverstein tributes held in NYC a few years ago. What a fierce arranger! I was floored by how he can command a large jazz ensemble. Such a magical presence. He’s my favorite.

T/F: Often times, musicians who aren’t white, heterosexual males get pigeonholed based on their identity. Somehow, all they sing about is this perceived identity while white, heterosexual males sing about themes and topics that are more universal – or so the thinking goes.

SR: That’s not true. Musicians play and sing about whatever they want regardless of color and gender. We’re all universally self absorbed hedonists. Sure my life has not been lived the same as a white man, but I don’t feel that what I’m doing is marked by my race or gender. I actually feel that white male culture doesn’t take enough risks and modern music has become incredibly boring. If the music industry is constantly looking for another Kurt Cobain it is and it has been fucking itself over. Everyone knows that.

Posted February 14, 2015

5% for T/F Day at Lucky’s on Thursday !

This Thursday, February 12 is 5% for T/F day at Lucky’s Market. We’ll receive 5% of everything you purchase all day from 7am-10pm, so come on in, get some healthy food and help support the Fest.

In addition in between 4-7 PM in the Lucky’s Cafe, there will be music from T/F buskers The Flood Brothers playing, a Chocolate sampling fair, give-aways of 4 Gateway Packets and 4 Busker bands and T/F Merch for sale, including the new 2015 designs. We hope to see you there!

Posted February 9, 2015

Over 120 T/F Films Available to Watch for Free

Get into the T/F state of mind with over 120 films from True/False past available to stream for free on our newly revised and expanded video page. Films now feature descriptions along with links to essays and filmmaker interviews to further inform your viewing. You can use the categories function on the left of the screen to sort by the year the film played the Fest or by shorts or features. These films are gathered from a variety of sites which legally stream docs, including Vimeo, YouTube, Hulu, SnagFilms, Crackle, P.O.V. and The National Film Board of Canada’s online archive. If you are outside the US, access will vary based on the hosting site, but you should still be able to find plenty of interesting docs to explore.




We’ve also collected videos of classic documentaries, other work from T/F alumnimusical performances captured at the Fest, T/F Panel discussions, Campfire Stories and more. Come take a look around and find something to watch!

Posted January 27, 2015

Three More Bands Headed to T/F 2015

Music is the life blood of our festival, providing the vital energy that keeps the whole organism in motion. We’re excited to announce three more of the musical acts who will be performing at T/F 2015.

Making their first ever appearance at T/F is Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers, a Brooklyn-based band fusing blues and punk rock behind the searing, charismatic vocals of their front woman. Below you can see a live music video for their song “Erotolepsy”.


From closer by in St. Joseph Missouri, this unusual, dreamy pop group Dreamgirl will also be making their first trip to T/F. Check out their track “Stranger Feelings” for a sample of their sound.


Returning to T/F is Anonymous Choir, the Minneapolis group which performs choral versions of popular songs. For example give a listen to their beautiful version of Neil Young’s classic album After the Gold Rush.


If you want to make music a central part of your True/False, consider picking up our $30 busker band. It gets you access to all of our concerts plus more. It works well either on its own or as a compliment to a Simple Pass.

Posted January 14, 2015

Announcing Three Bands Coming to T/F 2015!

Music plays an essential role at T/F. Our buskers perform before each and every screening, at 15 music showcases and throughout the streets and sidewalks of downtown Como, cordoning off the experiential space in which the Fest exists. We’re excited to make out first announcement of just a handful of the acts that will be transforming our town March 5-8.

Strangled Darlings, a self-described Americana Doom Pop duo featuring cello and mandolin, will be making their first trip to CoMo from their home base of Portland, Oregon. Check out their music video “Snake and the Girl.”

Returning to T/F is the Raya Brass Band, a five-man group hailing from Brooklyn who draw from the sounds of both the Balkans and New Orleans. You can catch them performing in the video link below.

Also joining us for their first T/F are El-Haru Kuroi, an East Los Angeles trio with roots in Mexican, South American and African melodies and rhythms. Below you’ll find them playing their song “Sin Saber.”

If you want to make music the central part of your T/F 2015, consider picking up our Busker Band, which allows access to all of our showcases plus more. It makes sense on its own or as a compliment to a Simple Pass. Find out more here.

Posted December 15, 2014

Thank You Boone Dawdlers!

The 2014 Boone Dawdle has come and gone, and we are happy to report another unforgettable day. Hundreds were undeterred by the threat of storms and joined us for a fun-filled bike ride, a scrumptious meal, a delightful concert and a fascinating film. As always, we’d be utterly lost with out the good will and hard work of an entire community of people. We want to take a moment to look back at the day and thank some of the people that made it happen. Along the way we’ll share some of our favorite images captured by photographers Stephen Bybee and Vivian Abagui.

Things got underway that Saturday morning with a tune up from Sarah Ashman and the rest of the crew at Walt’s Bike Shop, who generously provided support for our 15-mile westward journey down the MKT and Katy trails linking Columbia and Rocheport.

photo by Stephen Bybee

photo by Stephen Bybee


It certainly wouldn’t be True/False without music vibrating through the air. As we set off westward, tunes were here and there from Max Rubio, Dubb Nubb, SaP, Meeyoo, Step Daughter, Rae Fitzgerald, Ben Bushman, Nevada Greene, Sunshine Mamas and Ruth Acuff, who accompanied her beautiful, soaring melodies with a harp.

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photo by Vivian Abagui


Folks looking for a burst of energy or perhaps just a simple treat were in luck, thanks to the delicious trailside snacks provided by Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream, Kaldi’s Coffee and Harold’s Doughnuts. For those that imbibe, there was a local beer pour featuring samples from Schlafly, Flat Branch, Broadway, Logboat and Bur Oak breweries.


photo by Vivian Abagui


The Dawdle is defined by delightful and instructive digressions. This year we entertained by the folks from by Mid-Missouri Traditional Dancers, Moon Valley Massage, Missouri Contemporary Ballet and the folks from the Greenhouse Theater Project, who gave short improvised performances.


photo by Vivian Abagui


Dawdlers also found themselves seeking advice from the Interpretation Station manned by John Reid and in the midst of a mini carnival at Hindman Junction featuring jugglers Phil and Melanie Knocke.


photo by Vivian Abagui


In addition, Jeff Barrow and the Missouri River Relief volunteers offered Dawdlers a new treat, a short voyage on a scenic stretch of the Missouri River.


photo by Vivian Abagui


The final bit of trail before Les Bourgeois is especially taxing, coming at the end of our trek. Thankfully, cheerleaders from Hickman and Battle High Schools were kind enough to provide some inspiration. Meanwhile, the legendary T/F Sherpa team kicked it into gear, hauling more than 143 bikes up the hill and the bike loading volunteers began loading the hundreds of bikes into trucks for their return journey to Columbia.


photo by Vivian Abagui


We’d arrived at our destination, Les Bourgeois Winery. Here our gracious hosts Curtis, Chelsea and Matt had a delicious meal waiting for us, featuring food from numerous local culinary contributors, more Schlafly beer and Les Bourgeois’ own wine. Then we stretched out and relaxed on the beautiful limestone bluffs overlooking the Missouri River.


photo by Stephen Bybee


This summer’s delightful sunset concert was performed by the duo Drakkar Sauna, who combine classic country themes with inventive word play to create a unique style all their own.

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photo by Vivian Abagui


Throughout the day, Doug, Steve, Justin and the rest of T/F tech crew once more rose to the challenge and worked around inopportune weather. They waited until just before showtime to setup the screen for this year’s film, An Honest Liar, explores the career and life of James “the Amazing” Randi, a world-class magician who became an important debunker of purported psychics and healers. Afterwards, co-director Justin Weinstein was kind enough to join us for a discussion of this provocative film.

photo by Vivian Abigui

photo by Vivian Abigui


Then, alas, the 2014 Boone Dawdle was at an end. Thanks again to everyone who made the journey with us, and a special thanks to the T/F Volunteers and Core Staff who worked a 15-hour day to make it possible. Let’s all hang our again in just six short months, March 5-8, at T/F 2015! And in less than a year it will be time to Dawdle again, on August 15, 2015.



Posted August 27, 2014

Announcing the Boone Dawdle Band: Drakkar Sauna

The Boone Dawdle always features a sunset concert on the limestone bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. After exiting the trail at Les Bourgeois Winery in Rocheport, we’ll all grab a bite, a libation or two and kick back. This year we believe we’ve found a fitting accompaniment for your post-ride buzz.

The duo Drakkar Sauna, multi-instrumentalist Jeff Stolz and guitarist Wallace Cochran, channel an assortment of musical influences, soaring vocal harmonies and a love of World Championship Wrestling into an upbeat and infectious brand of folk. Their lyrics subject classic country themes to inventive word-play, creating a stream of ideas both humorous and poignant.

See for yourself in the short Drakkar Sauna concert  below.

We hope that you’ll join us for this fun concert. Tickets for the Boone Dawdle are on sale now.

Posted July 26, 2014
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