Tonight! One night only! Fake It So Real (T/F 2011) is playing online for free! Enter the lives of the dedicated men of the Millennium Wrestling Federation as they spend a week preparing for a big show. You can watch Fake It between 7:30-9:30 Eastern/6:30-8:30 Central tonight on the UStream link you’ll find embedded here. Following the film, it’s your chance to probe the unhinged mind of filmmaker Robert Greene during an online Q and A. Be warned though, things may become disturbing. Last year Michael Tully of Hammer to Nail attempted to interview Greene before the film’s VOD release, and the results weren’t pretty.
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.
Downtown Columbia’s main artery, Alley A, was adorned during True/False 2013 by “Stilted”. This strange threshold was California-based artist Yulia Pinkusevich’s take on our year ten theme, “the Collective Architecture of the Impossible”. Our T/F video team talks with Yulia about her art’s use of perspective and shares images of her finished product in this video.
You can find more photos of the “Stilted” installation below. Also, be sure to check out Yulia Pinkusevich’s homepage for many more pictures and videos documenting her impressive body of work.
The multi-media music project Folk to Folk shot a series of videos at True/False 2013, capturing stirring performances from the T/F busking army. In the second entry, the Brooklyn-based duo Mountain Animation jam on the banjo and violin during a showcase at Cafe Berlin.
If you want to hear more, check out Mountain Animation‘s new album, Lava Letter, in it’s entirety on the group’s bandcamp page. And don’t miss the first Folk to Folk video featuring a boisterous street performance by Yes, Ma’am.
Mark your calendars now, the True/False Film Fest returns in 2014 February 27th-March 2nd!
Over the past few weeks, many people have written kind words about their True/False experiences. Here are a few of our favorites.
Film critic Nick Pinkerton and Nicolas Rapold had an amusing conversation in SundanceNOW about their first trip to our small mid-western town.
Nicolas Rapold: I too was suspicious, especially when I heard the verb “experience” applied to True/False in lieu of “attend.” But fortunately the high quality of the programming never put me in the awkward position of praising the hospitality for want of anything else to say. Some of my increased feeling of well-being came from seeing theaters packed for the likes of a Chilean film featuring old folks in a nursing home waiting to die. It made me vaguely ashamed of the single-digit audience turnouts not infrequent at challenging programs back home in bonnie New York. Obviously the festival is a special event, but where are these curious moviegoers of many ages when I sit nearly alone at something awesome at Anthology Film Archives, wiping last-minute-samosa grease off my hands? Are my eating habits perhaps driving away potential waves of repertory enthusiasts?
Nick Pinkerton: The movie you are referring to, of course, is Cristian Soto and Catalina Vergara’s The Last Station, which, with its highly composed images—a face perfectly framed in a small mirror at the bottom of a drawer comes to mind—and lack of the instructive graphics and contextualizing voiceover that mark the infotainment documentary, is fairly representative of True/False’s programming. As for the cinema savvy of the average Columbian (Columbianite?), I must agree—the only time anything like “Oh my stars” prudery emerged was in a screening of Peter Whitehead’s The Fall, when a Destructionist theater group pummeled a live chicken to pieces against the wires of a piano they’d already chopped into kindling with an axe, after which half of the crowd walked out to protest the senseless death of some poultry in 1968. This played as part of a sidebar called Neither/Nor hosted by Columbia’s one FULL-TIME cinema, The Ragtag. The bill-of-fare was made of historical precedents to the festival’s signature dish, neither-fish-nor-fowl documentaries that blur the boundary between… well, you know the rest. Jim McBride was there with David Holzman’s Diary, while the Neither/Nor series was curated by some New York critic called Eric Hynes, who sort of looks like the Hip, Concerned Teacher in an after-school special from 1981. Where did they get that guy?
Critic Eric Hynes, who curated our first ever Neither/Nor chimera series, described True/False as “some kind of monster” in an excellent piece for Cinemascope. Among many other things, Eric wrote on what he sees as our unique critical slant.
With these films as a kind of standard for docu-cinematic delirium, it becomes tempting to judge all of True/False programming according to that standard. While this may be a somewhat reductive or misguided impulse (the implications of which I’ll explore shortly), it nevertheless speaks to True/False’s unique place within the festival landscape. Not just another doc survey, industry marketplace, or act of small-town self-promotion, T/F has a genuinely critical slant—and one that, by now bringing critics into the curation process, implies an ongoing interrogation of the art (and act) of documentary filmmaking rather than just a showcasing of the year’s more appealing fare. At least potentially, it’s programming as scrutinizing rather than cheerleading, inviting critical engagement not just with the chosen films but also with the choosing of those films.
Ben Kenigsburg at Time Out Chicago said of his weekend:
I wanted to write about T/F almost immediately after I arrived, because it’s clearly one of the best-managed and enjoyable film festivals within extended driving distance of Chicago. (The trip takes about seven hours, though various permutations of flying and busing are also available.) Compressing a heady mix of filmgoing and socializing into a long weekend—this year’s edition ran February 28 through March 3—the event seems both intensely curatorial and casually eccentric. Or to put it another way: Never did I dream that one day I could order borscht from a Missouri cinema concession stand and then take it into a screening of Jim McBride’s landmark docu-fiction David Holzman’s Diary (1967).
Vadim Rizov crafted two excellent dispatches for Filmmaker Magazine, briefly reviewing films he saw here in Columbia. The first reflects on These Birds Walk, The Garden of Eden and The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear, while the second ponders Sleepless Nights and Computer Chess. Vadim also gave us a shout out in the Onion AV Club’s best festival experiences.
Other outstanding responses included Kevin B. Lee’s “Funner Than Fiction” Video at the British Film Institute, Tim Grierson’s report at Paste Magazine, Brian Brooks’s coverage for The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Basil Tsiokos’s post at What (Not) To Doc, Tom Roston’s capsule reviews at PBS’s Doc Soup blog and IndieWire‘s list of 8 things we are doing right. Locally, The Columbia Daily Tribune and Vox Magazine expanded their coverage further than ever before, digging deep into every nook and cranny of the festival.
On the audio side, Adam Schartoff of Brooklyn’s Filmwax Radio recorded a series of dispatches from Columbia featuring conversations with Gabriela Cowperthwaite of Blackfish, film producer Esther Robinson, T/F co-conspirator David Wilson, Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq of These Birds Walk, Maxim Pozdorovkin of Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer and Judith Helfand about our SWAMI program. KBIA also created an eleven-part series titled True/False Conversations which offers both audio and transcripts of brief interviews with filmmakers and fest-goers.
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
Folk to Folk, a multi-media documentary project exploring the inclusive, community building spirit of folk music, was in Columbia for True/False 2013. The group captured a series of videos, the first of which is this vital street performance by the New Orleans based Yes, Ma’am.
Yes, Ma’am‘s new album Stirrin’ da Mudd is available in its entirety to stream or purchase on the group’s bandcamp. Swing on by and give it a listen.
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!
Here are pics of the accessories and apparel available right now in our box office at the corner of Broadway and Hitt. You’ll also find posters and our new book Rarely Has Reality Needed So Much to Be Re-imagined: A Mostly True History of the True/False Film Fest. True/False merchandise is available year round at our online store.