In keeping with this year’s theme, a quote from Those Who Jump: “The moment I touch the fence, I feel free.”

The first film of the fest kicked off at The Vimeo Theater at The Blue Note following an introduction by fest co-conspirator Paul Sturtz. He tantalized us by saying, “It is miraculous. We may have a very special guest later on Skype.” It turns out it’s director and star Abou Bakar Sidibé , in not-altogether-perfect True/False fashion: we get this guy video-feeding through the internet from a refugee camp, but we can’t hear his voice. We can only see him. We cheer when we see him. He looks almost as disappointed as us that we don’t have verbal contact. The sound isn’t coming through. Technicians Mike and Jon and Dylan scramble. Do we cancel the Q&A? We are about to cancel it when at the final moment his voice intercedes. “You say you exist when you film,” begins moderator Eric Hynes, and our interpreter translates. Abou nods, listening to the translation, has a drink of his refugee-camp coffee, and replies.

We aren’t following the lines here. See the day-one fest bumper: erase the lines. Encircle them. We will travel in reverse, to earlier today when we experienced Lost Letters, True/False’s newest, most mysterious experience. We aren’t allowed to talk about it, but we can indicate, using semaphore. Semaphore is part of Lost Letters. So are lab coats. So is a waiver. So is a guy telling you, in the waiting room, “Please do not chew on any live wires,” which at the time gave us some misgivings about embarking upon the experience, but fear not: Lost Letters is an immersive, cooperative experience that brings to mind and then surpasses the most wonderful games of youth.

Lost Letters is Missouri's first work of interactive, immersive theatre in which the audience must solve puzzles to navigate the narrative. (Photo by Stephanie Sidoti)

Lost Letters is Missouri’s first work of interactive, immersive theatre in which the audience must solve puzzles to navigate the narrative. (Photo by Stephanie Sidoti)

There are so many venues at our festival! Everywhere you look is a venue. If it’s not showing movies then it’s a venue for anthropology. Everywhere are people decompressing, people venting, people recently brought to tears of joy now expounding on their upcoming plans for life-change. We will not claim credit for this. We defer to our guests. There are so many venues, we even ventured into what we thought was a venue, and was actually not: My Sister’s Circus on Broadway. This is ostensibly not a venue but may be a venue. We will leave it up to you. 

We went into the volunteer headquarters on 9th street, aka The Nest. The place is beautiful and open, with a buffet of donuts and coffee for the volunteers, and plastic fold-out tables covered in paper where volunteers can graffiti their names. Our volunteer space is technology-enabled and slick. Our volunteers are happy. We have what we feel like is 3,977,987 volunteers but in fact we have 1004. When we went to The Nest, we found a space empty of people. More donuts were on the buffet table than people were in The Nest. One volunteer was asleep on the couch with a program over his head. Another volunteer was pouring herself coffee. Where are all the volunteers? we asked. Then it occurred to us.

We followed a guy holding an orange extension cord coiled up in his right hand through Alley A. The sunset was gorgeous looking west over Lucky’s. We were lucky to follow him. His radio chirped, “Someone’s run over our cones. It is already crazy,” and we recognized the voice over the radio as that of Glenn Rice, a long-time T/F magician, who we later caught up with at the Jubilee.

Festgoers at the opening Jubilee at the Missouri Theatre, March 3, 2016. (Photo by Parker Michels-Boyce)

Festgoers at the opening Jubilee at the Missouri Theatre, March 3, 2016. (Photo by Parker Michels-Boyce)

Everyone was having fun at the Jubilee. It was packed. Glenn Rice was trapped with us next to a plate of monkey bread. We asked Glenn, “Tell us something else crazy that happened besides the cones getting run over,” and he said, “Oh nothing. I almost got crushed by a lift falling off the back of a truck.”

We were worried about those lifts. Scissor lifts, jug lifts, crane lifts, all down Alley A. U-Hauls everywhere. Art coming out of all of them. At this point, nothing will surprise us. Our technicians stride deliberately to the edge of possibility, into the land of danger, and they thrive there. They are our big-wave surfers and this fest is their big wave. They are the cowboys and the tank-girls of this festival.

Alley A is so beautiful in the sunset right now, more beautiful than ever, thanks to the artists who have come here this year to beautify our city. The array of multicolored tubes hanging between buildings, the Chain and Plate, established in 1970 but only today finally recognized as true art thanks to a placard installed by volunteers. We always knew that Chain and Plate was art. Go see it right outside the back door of Broadway Brewery.

Back on Mount Gurugu, a man was waking up inside a cactus patch, on the screen inside of The Vimeo Theater at The Blue Note. Those Who Jump’s photography is beautiful. It was dawn over Morocco. He would, that day, make a break for the fence. Simultaneously, a man on the screen in the Forrest Theater’s shorts program “Stand Beside Her and Guide Her” described removing a human brain from the cranium in vivid detail. He went on to say, “I held the human brain in my hands and it hit me: this is a thing that writes poetry.”

We aren’t sure, but the woman who appears at the end of the two-minute thirty-second 8mm film Walden Brooklyn which plays at request in Davey B. Gravey’s Tiny Cinema, holding a stick, might be a lost love of his. We are overwhelmed with emotion. Inside the Jubilee, we ask a guy who saw Those Who Jump how he liked it and he said it was, “Moving, but frightening,” and we do not think we can add anything to that.

Ringleader Eric Hynes asks Those Who Jump subject Abeu Bakar questions during a post-film Q&A session. (Photo by Noah Frick-Alofs)

Ringleader Eric Hynes asks Those Who Jump subject Abeu Bakar questions during a post-film Q&A session. (Photo by Noah Frick-Alofs)

“I feel that I exist when I film,” says Abou, piped through the internet. We feel like we exist when we see documentary. This is what makes our job the best job on earth.

True/False 2016 Daily Digest: Thursday, March 3, 2016


Posted March 4, 2016


We are as a buzzing hive. A city preparing for its annual carnival, its victory parade, its senior prom – we are feeling spoiled rotten that we get to have our once-in-a-lifetime blowout for the 13th time. The production lab is pumping out art. We realize that the whole is not more than the sum of its parts, and that each artist contains the whole genetic code of True/False. Same goes with the movies we’re screening.

Today’s exploits included an excursion to the True/False lab on the Business Loop. When we pulled up we saw a cluster of fluorescent arcade machines tied up together on the back of a trailer. Nearby, volunteers were loading what looked like a river made of wood into the back of a U-Haul. When asked what he was doing, T/F volunteer Matt Barnes said, “Movin’ s**t,” at which point we realized we might be getting in the way of the hundreds of moving pieces – and people – emptying the lab’s contents for destinations all over downtown.

Volunteers move artwork at the T/F design Lab. (Photo by Stephen Bybee)

Volunteers move artwork at the T/F design Lab. (Photo by Stephen Bybee)

We also went and looked at Jerry’s Map on the walls of Uprise Bakery. Jerry, we hear, has been collecting GIS data, in his own artistic way, since the summer of 1963. We hope Columbia now registers on his radar as a place he might include in a future map as good as the one on the Uprise Bakery wall. Then we realize, with certainty, that we at least have a pretty good shot since, after all, Jerry got here. We called Jerry to get a quote for this, our fest digest, but he was somewhere with very bad service. We can only imagine where Jerry was mapping that had the kind of bad service we heard through the phone when we called for the quote. “I can’t hear anything,” Jerry kept saying. We can only conclude that at that moment Jerry was mapping a wonderful land of mystery and thrills.

Joel Sager places the final of tile of Jerry Gretzinger's famous map. (Photo by Jon Asher)

Joel Sager places the final of tile of Jerry Gretzinger’s famous map. (Photo by Jon Asher)

We caught up with Ygor (VJ SUAVE), who just came in from Brazil. For the curious, no, he did not bring his Suaveciclo on the plane. “I cannot bring my tricycle to other countries,” he said, which made sense given the size of this tricycle. He did, however, bring bicycle components which will enable him to turn the bike Karl Klunk gave him into a cargo-tricycle on-the-fly. He also brought a high-powered video projector. What kind of art does VJ SUAVE do? If your grandfather owned a cinema and your mother brought you to Disneyland every year for several years when you were a very small boy, and years later you returned to America as an adult because you were brought by a highly esteemed film festival to do art, what kind of art would you do? Join him for two rides this weekend: one starting 6pm Friday at The Picturehouse Lawn. And 10pm Saturday from The Great Wall at the southwest corner of Ninth & Broadway.

People tell us every year that we’re doing too many good things at once. To which we reply: If we got a call right now from the Barnum and Bailey circus, and they told us they wanted to set up and give a brief show in the lobby of the Broadway Hotel, would you advise us to deny them? Would you tell us that dancing horses would be too much, given all that we already have? What if it was a lone ventriloquist who called us on the phone and asked, last minute, if he could perform? These are the types of questions we think about all year.

Some simple advice going into your fest: Be adventurous eaters. And drink the right amount of 360 Vodka. Thank you, 360 Vodka, for partnering with the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, Columbia’s strapping urban farmers, toward the goal of making True/False a sustainable enterprise. “We are excited to partner with the festival to make more compost than ever,” said Carrie Hargrove of CCUA, and she would know. CCUA has made a lot of compost.

A representative from 360 Vodka unloads one of the new food scrap recycling bins at Uprise Bakery. (Photo by Stephen Bybee)

A representative from 360 Vodka unloads one of the new food scrap recycling bins at Uprise Bakery. (Photo by Stephen Bybee)

Tonight we’re going rollerskating with old and new friends. We’re going to wear a strawberry-colored suit and we’re going to look alluring when we skate by you. We will plug in the earbuds and groove to Prahlad, the talented finger-piano guru who busks for us every year. We will make three or four quick laps, completely lost in our own world, enjoying some much-needed alone time before downtown erupts. When you see us on our skates, knees bent, butt up, arms swinging, you’ll start to get the picture.

True/False 2016 Daily Digest: Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Posted March 2, 2016


We are collaborating with the the visual journalism film unit Field of Vision to present a free screening of “Concerned Student 1950,” a short film by Varun Bajaj, Adam Dietrich, and Kellan Marvin. The film, an up-close look at Concerned Student 1950 during its November protests, screens at 11:30pm this Saturday, March 5 at the Missouri Theatre.

This past fall, Concerned Student 1950, a collective of Black student activists at Mizzou, rekindled a conversation about racism on campus. Their protests, which involved a homecoming parade demonstration and a hunger strike, resulted in the resignation of the university’s system president, Tim Wolfe — one of the group’s eight demands.

The protests attracted a deluge of press and made national news. Much of the action happened on the campus’ Carnahan Quad, where Concerned Student 1950 representatives camped on a nightly basis. The students declared the campsite a safe space and requested privacy from the media. But Varun Bajaj, Adam Dietrich, and Kellan Marvin, students at the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism, were given special access to film the group throughout the entire process.

Bajaj, Dietrich, and Marvin have created two short-form pieces out of the material. Both will be screening at the festival. The first is a silent piece called “#ConcernedStudent1950,”  which screens from 8-11 p.m. Saturday, March 5 as part of the festival’s Great Wall installation, at the southwest corner of Ninth & Broadway. The second piece is a 30-minute film commissioned by Field of Vision called “Concerned Student 1950.”

“Concerned Student 1950” will be shown only one time during the course of the festival in a special debut presentation. “Concerned Student 1950” screens at Missouri Theatre following the 9:45pm screening of Secret Screening Navy. Those attending that screening are welcome to stay for the short. For those not attending, True/False will be passing out a separate, free, Q starting at 10:30pm for the 11:30pm show.

“Nonfiction filmmaking and journalism do not always have the same goals” says fest Co-Conspirator David Wilson. “But when extraordinary craft meets meticulous reporting as history gets made, this is as good as documentary gets.  It is the festival’s good fortune to partner with both the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism and Field of Vision to showcase young people on both sides of the camera lens.”


Neither/Nor Kick-Off Event

To start your fest a bit early, join us for the Neither/Nor kick-off reception on Wednesday evening (March 2) at Ragtag Cinema! Come meet and share a drink with our critic-in-residence, Nick Pinkerton at 8pm. Then at 8:30pm, Nick will introduce us to Mondo Cane, the 1962 classic that inspired this year’s series. Refreshments courtesy of Schlafly beer and MO Wines.

To snag a free ticket to Mondo Cane, stop by the Ragtag box office starting at 10am on Wednesday. To secure your seat, please arrive at Ragtag fifteen minutes prior to the screening. If you would like to attend any of the remaining screenings in the Neither/Nor series, T/F festival ticketing admission does apply. If you don’t have a reserved ticket, you can use the Q for free!  Read descriptions of all four Neither/Nor films HERE.

The Neither/Nor series is presented with support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

Posted February 28, 2016

No Pass? No Tickets? No Problem.

In case you haven’t heard of the True/False Film Fest before now, here’s a quick primer:

  • Thursday–Sunday, March 3-6, 2016
  • Downtown Columbia, Missouri
  • 36 of the newest creative non-fiction feature films from around the world (+ 20 shorts)
  • 40 bands and 13 concerts
  • 4 parties
  • 1 parade

While the best way to opt into this weekend of fun may be to purchase a festival pass, we definitely embrace the festival first-timer and make it easy to get a taste of True/False on the fly. Below, you’ll find a whole list of things you can do to enjoy the fest this year without a pass.


Option #1 – Come Get Tickets at the Box Office. 

T/F 2014, Box Office, Pass Opening,

The box office opens for ticket sales on Thursday, March 3 at 9am. We will have over 5,000 film tickets to sell to about 20 different screenings. We will also have tickets available for several LOST LETTERS time slots, as well as free tickets to our late night Field Session game show, Clicking and Streaming. To anticipate what tickets will be available on Thursday, visit our schedule grid and/or our films pages. If you see the little red NRT flag next to a screening time, that means we won’t have tickets for sale. Those two pages will also be updated in real time – so as box office ticket sales get underway, you can keep track online and via the mobile app of what screenings have gone NRT.

The box office is located at the corner of Broadway and Hitt Streets in downtown Columbia, inside the Imago Gallery and Cultural Center (and you can’t miss the sign).


Option #2 – Use the Q for Anything Else You Want to See.

A Q Queen hands out number at The Picturehouse on Friday, February 28, 2014 in Columbia, Mo. (Photo by Sarah Hoffman)

If you DO see that NRT flag next to a screening you’re interested in attending…the Q will be your friend! It works. We have a buffer at every venue specifically for Q-goers. On top of that, we have a lot of passholders with reserved tickets who change their plans and free up even more seats for the Q-goers. That means that you have a very good chance of getting in just by using the Q.

To use the Q: go to the venue directly (not the box office) at least 1 hour before the film starts. At one hour out, the ebullient Q Queens will hand out Q numbers – one per person. With your Q-number in hand, you can leave (cut back on that waiting in line time!). Be sure to return to the venue 15 minutes prior to the film start, at which point the venue staff will let in as many people from the Q line as there are seats available. There has never been a screening in T/F history where no one has gotten in from the Q. You will only pay for your ticket at the door if there is for sure a seat for you. Tickets at the door are $12.


Even more options!

March March participants provide a grand finish for spectators in front of the Missouri Theater. © Clint Alwahab 2012

On top of the films, here is a list of festival events and programs that are FREE and open to the public – no ticket required! Click the links to read more about each one:

the March March

-the Field Sessions at the Reynolds Journalism Institute

The Good Wizard Transmedia Arcade

-the Neither/Nor critic series festival sidebar (you’ll need to use the Q, but admission is free!)

The Great Wall screenings

-the Sparky’s afternoon showcases, and the Landmark Fired Up showcases

The Art Ramble

-the VJ Suave Animation Ride

Toasted at Cafe Berlin

Have any questions? Call our friendly box office staff at 573.442.TRUE (8783) and they’ll be happy to help.

Posted February 26, 2016


We’re excited to introduce SYNAPSES, a new pillar of the Fest elevating dialogue and ideas to the foreground of True/False weekend.

Thanks to a grant from the Ford Foundation, this year a mini-Ideas Fest has been built within True/False. Under the banner of SYNAPSES, T/F presents “FIELD SESSIONS” (conversations reimagined), the “TRANSMEDIA ARCADE” (VR and interactive work) and “PROVOCATIONS” (short pre-film rants & raves).

FIELD SESSIONS, presented in partnership with Field of Vision, offer an unprecedented (and totally free)  entry point into the most relevant issues in contemporary nonfiction film. The sessions jettison traditional festival panels, in some cases remaking them as intense, intimate one-on-one dialogues such as Heidi Ewing (Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You) mixing it up with Jeff Feuerzeig (Author: The JT LeRoy Story) about biographic filmmaking. Field Sessions also offers the fest an opportunity to experiment with ideas through a game show format: AJ Schnack (Speaking is Difficult) hosts the freewheeling Clicking & Streaming, devoted to exploring archival video.  

PROVOCATIONS, sponsored by the Ford Foundation, spotlights six hand-picked agitators from outside the film world to the Fest, all with challenging ideas and provocative presentation styles. These micro-presentations will range from sharing  the perfect way to craft a paper airplane to making a low-impact burial. Each Provocateur will present before a feature film and then, en masse, at our Sunday morning Chautauqua.  

At the CHAUTAUQUA, also sponsored by the Ford Foundation, host Kaitlin Prest (from the podcast The Heart) presides over a variety show featuring provocations, music, and storytelling. Immediately following, continue the conversation one-on-one in the Bingham Gallery with a high tea featuring Fire Pot teas from Kaldi’s Coffee.

Also new in 2016 is THE GOOD WIZARD ARCADE, home to our growing Transmedia programming. Located in the Picturehouse lobby and open anytime the Picturehouse is open, THE GOOD WIZARD ARCADE will offer fest-goers a carefully curated selection of the very best new interactive and Virtual Reality projects, all presented in an art-designed and blacklit 80s video arcade environment. The first 450 visitors will get to take home their own Cardboard Virtual Reality viewer, donated by the VR team at Google.

Finally, the previously announced LOST LETTERS offers fest-goers a live immersive and interactive theater experience. Taking cues from both the worlds of non-traditional theater, Virtual Reality and videogame design, and the rapidly spreading puzzle rooms, this hour-long performance transforms typical storytelling and challenges fest-goers to take an active role in the unfolding narrative. Designed for  T/F 2016 by a team that includes the Greenhouse Theatre Project, Neon Treehouse and Breakout CoMo, LOST LETTERS is a unique T/F experience made possible in part through a new partnership with Kickstarter.

See more details about who/what/when and where HERE.



Get your Gateway packet now!

On sale 10am on Tuesday, Feb 23 through 6pm on Friday, Feb 26.

Here’s the lineup:

34a / Thy Father’s Chair / Thursday, 7pm / The Vimeo Theater at the Blue Note
14a / Kate Plays Christine / Thursday, 9:45pm / Missouri Theatre

20a / Norman Lear / Friday, 7pm / Jesse
04a / Author: The JT LeRoy Story / Friday, 10pm / Missouri Theatre
09b / The Fear of 13 / Friday, 10pm / Jesse

34c / Thy Father’s Chair / Saturday, 10am / Missouri Theatre
26b / Presenting Princess Shaw / Saturday, 3:45pm / Jesse
04b / Author: The JT LeRoy Story / Saturday, 6:45pm / Jesse
35b / Tickled / Saturday, 9:45pm / Jesse
20c / Norman Lear / Sunday, 9:30am / Jesse
26c / Presenting Princess Shaw / Sunday, 9:30am / Missouri Theatre
01c / Sonita / Sunday, 12:30pm / Jesse
35c / Tickled / Sunday, 3:30pm / Missouri Theatre
37c / Weiner / Sunday, 3:45pm / Jesse
17c / Life, Animated / Sunday, 7:30pm / Jesse
40c / Stand Beside Her and Guide Her (shorts) / Sunday, 9pm / The Picturehouse
Posted February 23, 2016

Get Lost in at Least 10 Films with a Simple Pass

In case you haven’t heard of the True/False Film Fest before now, here’s a quick primer:

  • Thursday–Sunday, March 2-5, 2017
  • Downtown Columbia, Missouri
  • ~37 of the newest creative non-fiction feature films from around the world (+ 20 shorts)
  • ~40 bands and 13 concerts
  • 4 parties
  • 1 parade


Thinking about coming to True/False and want an affordable way to catch at least 10 screenings? Say hello to the Simple Pass.

To cover the basics: the Simple is our “films only” pass that allows you to reserve up to 10 screenings (Friday-Sunday) on-line before the festival begins. Plus, you can gain admission to additional screenings for free on any day of the Fest by using our last-minute line, affectionately called “the Q.” During the festival, if you change your mind about something you want to see, it gives you the freedom to swap out tickets (if we have tickets) at the box office, OR use the Q at any screening (if we don’t), for no additional charge.

A Q Queen hands out number at The Picturehouse on Friday, February 28, 2014 in Columbia, Mo. (Photo by Sarah Hoffman)

The Q gives you the chance to see a movie that you don’t have a reserved ticket for.

The Q may sound tricky to explain, but it’s actually easy once you’ve done it. If it’s your first time, just find the most flamboyantly dressed person at the venue – that’s the Q Queen! These colorful folks are mobile information stations, and they’ll tell you exactly how to Q. Be sure to arrive at the screening at least 1 hour early to get your Q number.

Derek Jenkins, T/F Film Fest 2014, Jesse Auditorium, Raya, Buskers

Every screening is preceded by live music . . .


. . . . and followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker(s).

The major benefit (with all of our pass types), is that because with your pass purchase you are opting into the whole festival weekend, we want to make it easy for you to get what you want. We don’t sell individual tickets to the general public online, nor at all, in advance of the festival. Your pass opens that door to let you reserve your tickets in advance and plan out your weekend.

Simple ticket reservations begin at 6:00 pm on Sunday, February 19. Detailed instructions HERE. We strongly recommend purchasing a pass before then.

Ready to buy your Simple Pass? GO FOR IT.

Have questions? Call our friendly box office staff at 573.442.8783 and they’ll be happy to help.

Still not convinced? Don’t take our word for it:

We look forward to seeing you in downtown Columbia March 2-5!

PS: Need travel and lodging tips?

Posted February 20, 2016


For the 2016 edition of our Neither/Nor sidebar, we are collaborating with film critic Nick Pinkerton on a series exploring Mondo (or so-called “shockumentary”) cinema and its offshoots. This is the fourth edition of Neither/Nor, an archival program of films that muddles the borders between fiction and nonfiction. For the third year in a row, Neither/Nor is presented with the generous support of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Mondo cinema began in 1962, when the Italian directors Gualtiero Jacopetti, Paolo Cavara and Franco Prosperi released their groundbreaking Mondo Cane, which captures shocking cultural traditions from both the ‘civilized’ and ‘uncivilized’ world. In its opening minutes, Mondo Cane claims that “all the scenes in this film are true and are taken only from life,” adding that “the duty of the chronicler is not to sweeten the truth but to report it objectively.” But it’s clear that most, if not all, of the footage in Mondo Cane has been choreographed by its directors. This in-between work played in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, received an Oscar nomination and was an international box office hit.

The success of Mondo Cane inspired dozens of startling globetrotting documentaries, which were often referred to as ‘Mondo films.’ At their worst, Mondo films could be thoughtless parades of misery and debauchery (see the Faces of Death series). But within this system, several conscientious directors created urgent, transgressive cinema. High on that list are Jacopetti and Prosperi, whose next collaboration, Africa Addio (1966), was a scathing indictment of the European nations who spent centuries plundering the African continent only to recklessly abandon it during decolonization.

In his 20,000-word monograph, Pinkerton persuasively defends the frequently maligned Mondo tradition and analyzes several of its greatest works, including The Killing of America (1982), a chilling film that uses disturbing footage to call attention to America’s increased gun violence, and Des Morts (1979), a sensitive meditation on how people worldwide process grief.


“When Nick first proposed this series, our instant response was to recoil,” True/False programmer Chris Boeckmann said. “Why would we ask our audiences to sit through such appalling material? But we were stunned by the movies he recommended and quickly realized that the ‘Mondo’ label (or even worse, the ‘shockumentary’ label) is often reductive and misapplied. The films in this series tackle important topics with an intensity and bluntness that’s sorely missing in so many of today’s ‘issue documentaries.'”

All Neither/Nor screenings will be free and accompanied by post-screening conversations, which will be moderated by Pinkerton. Special guests include Belgian director Thierry Zéno (director, Des Morts) and the U.S.-based Sheldon Renan (director, The Killing of America).

Nick Pinkerton is a freelance journalist and film programmer. His writing has appeared in Sight & Sound, ArtForum, Film Comment, Moving Image Source and Reverse Shot, among other publications. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, lives in Queens, NY, and has programmed at a variety of venues throughout the NYC area.

For more information about past edition of Neither/Nor and links to their monographs, visit the Neither/Nor page HERE. 

Posted February 4, 2016


The True/False Film Fest announces Sonita, a film by Rokhsareh Ghaem, as this year’s recipient of the True Life Fund. Sonita marks a decade of powerful films and deserving subjects sponsored by the Fund.

Sonita Alizadeh is a young, Afghan rapper living undocumented in Tehran, Iran. She shares a home with her older sister and niece and spends her days at an NGO for refugees. There, she goes to class, helps with chores, and performs impromptu rap concerts for her friends.

When Sonita’s mother comes to Iran for a visit after years of only having phone contact, we learn of her plan to take Sonita back to Afghanistan and sell her into marriage. Sonita’s brother has found someone to marry, and the family needs money to pay the mahr (similar to a dowry), for his bride. Selling Sonita as a wife will make her brother’s marriage affordable. Sonita has watched this happen with so many of her friends; she uses their experiences and her own as fuel for her lyrics.  

What follows is a tumultuous struggle– a daughter who seeks independence, a filmmaker who questions whether to intercede, and a developing musician who longs for her voice to be heard. 


Sonita will come to True/False from the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury and Audience awards for World Documentary. Both Sonita Alizadeh and Director Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami will attend all of the screenings at True/False.  

The True Life Fund offers support to a film’s subjects in appreciation of their choice to share their stories with audiences. Funds raised through the True Life Fund will assist Sonita in day-to-day survival and achieving her musical aspirations.

True/False thanks The Crossing, a local Columbia church, for their continued partnership. The Crossing will be sponsoring the True Life Fund for the ninth year in a row.

The True Life Fund is comprised of thousands of individual gifts, matched through a generous grant from the Bertha Foundation. In 2016, True/False hopes to raise more than $25,000 for Sonita. To give, visit www.truelifefund.org, text (573) 818-2151, or donate at the True/False screening.

Last year, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence received the True Life Fund. The fund went to support the film’s subject Adi Rukun and his family in their relocation process.

The True/False Film Fest will take place March 3 – 6 in downtown Columbia, Missouri. 

Posted February 1, 2016
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