‘Jodorowsky’s Dune’ is Coming to the Jubilee

On opening night, February 27th, the historic Missouri Theatre plays host to The Jubilee, our masquerade gala marking the beginning of a new True/False. This event is sponsored by our friends at LaBrunerie Financial and features six of Columbia’s best bartenders. After mingling with fellow fest-goers and partaking in plentiful libations, we’ll watch the festival’s first screening in this august setting. This year we feel we found a film perfect for the evening’s exuberant atmosphere.

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In 1975, cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky attempted to adapt the classic sci-fi novel Dune, along with a team of collaborators including Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali and Pink Floyd. Jodorowsky’s Dune uses phenomenal storyboards and concept sketches to tell the story of this unique project, which, despite its ultimate failure, serves as an inspiring example of uncompromising artistic ambition.

In the film’s trailer you can hear from Jodorowsky himself about the incredible goals that he set for himself in making Dune.

Frank Pavich, the director of Jodorowky’s Dune, will be on hand at both the Jubilee and other T/F screenings to share stories and answer your questions. We hope to see you there!

jodorwsky-dune

 

 

Posted February 3, 2014

The 2014 True Vision Award Goes to Amir Bar-Lev

We’re thrilled to announce that Amir Bar-Lev will receive this year’s True Vision Award in honor of his dedication to and advancement in the field of nonfiction filmmaking. This award, the only one at True/False, is given with the support of Timothy D. McGarity, MD. Bar-Lev is the eleventh recipient of the True Vision Award, which will be designed and cast in bronze by mid-Missouri sculptor Larry Young.

Amir

Bar-Lev is an American filmmaker, writer and producer, who has crafted countless innovative and award-winning documentaries. In Fighter, his 2000 directorial debut, he follows two Czech Holocaust survivors, Jan Weiner and Arnost Lustig, as they travel across Europe retracing Jan’s escape from the Nazis. Bar-Lev’s approach vividly captures the men’s unforgettable personalities and relationship.

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In 2007′s My Kid Could Paint That, Bar-Lev explores the pressing questions raised by the art world’s embrace of a four-year-old abstract painter and her work. Offering no easy answers, Bar-Lev doesn’t shy away from probing his own relationship with his subjects and the process of documentary storytelling itself.

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2010′s The Tillman Story takes on the death of Pat Tillman, the American football player who left a multi-million dollar contract to serve in the Army Rangers. The Tillman family’s quest to unearth the truth surrounding his death illuminates the way in which the military and media construct narratives, and the power of those narratives in shaping how we see the world.

the tillman story

This year True/False will show Bar-Lev’s new film Happy Valley. It tracks the destruction of the bucolic image of Penn State University and its surrounding community following the Jerry Sandusky child-abuse scandal. Shot in the wake of this revelation, it takes an unflinching look at the collective guilt and identity loss experienced in a football-first culture.  Happy Valley highlights Bar-Lev’s rare gift of finding the emotional depth within a widely reported story.

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Previous winners of the True Vision Award include Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel (2013), Victor Kossakovsky (2012), James Marsh (2011) and Laura Poitras (2010).

 

 

Posted January 30, 2014

Akiko Stehrenberger’s Artwork at Hittsville

Hittsville (the shared home of Ragtag Cinema, Uprise Bakery, 9th Street Video and Hitt Records) will be hosting the work of Los Angeles-based artist Akiko Stehrenberger beginning on February 23rd and running through T/F 2014. 10% of the sales are going to our True Life Fund.

Akiko created the gorgeous illustration for this year’s T/F poster. She began her career in New York doing spot illustrations for publications such as SPIN and New York Press. Upon moving back to Los Angeles in 2004, she became an art director/designer for movie posters while illustrating for various types of other freelance projects. She is a three time Key Art/CLIO Award winner and a two time SXSW Best Film Poster Award winner, in addition to a multitude of other awards and accolades.

Check out a few of her posters below and browse many more at akikomatic.com.

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Posted January 28, 2014

Announcing Our 2014 Buskers!

We are thrilled to announce the musical acts performing before each and every screening at True/False 2014! Check out the mosaic here!

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Posted January 24, 2014

Private Violence is Our 2014 True Life Fund Film

The True/False Film Fest is proud to recognize Cynthia Hill’s Private Violence as this year’s recipient of the True Life Fund.

Private Violence focuses on Kit Gruelle, an advocate for survivors of domestic violence, and Deanna Walters, who is battling for justice after surviving horrific abuse at the hands of her former partner. The film exposes the complex obstacles that stand between a survivor of abuse and freedom, as well as dispels destructive myths about domestic violence. Private Violence shows that for survivors, the answer is rarely as simple as just walking away from their abuser.

The film is part of a larger media project focused on ending domestic violence against women through awareness and education.

The True Life Fund exists to support people who bravely and selflessly share their stories in documentary films. This year, the funds raised will be awarded to both Kit Gruelle and Deanna Walters, who represent ideal recipients. We’ll be working extensively director Cynthia Hill to raise money and conduct outreach.

Private Violence is the eighth True Life film since the fund began in 2007. The U.K.-based Bertha Foundation provides a matching grant for the grassroots fundraising effort. We’re also grateful for the continued partnership with The Crossing, who will be sponsoring the True Life Fund this year for the seventh time.

 

 

Posted January 23, 2014

True/False 2014 ‘Magic Realism’ Poster

Behold, the True/False 2014 poster has arrived! This image is designed to convey this year’s theme, “Magic Realism”.

It quotes “The Marvelous Orange Tree” illusion invented by Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin, the father of modern magic. In it, a small barren tree is coaxed to produce first flowers and then fruit by a persuasive magician. The intricate cogs and gears of the mechanism, though in many ways every bit as wondrous a feat as the suggested illusion, are hidden from sight. This is the magic of all filmmaking, the careful cloaking of the watchworks to produce passion, marvel and delight!

The poster was created by artist Akiko Stehrenberger with art direction by veteran T/F collaborator Erik Buckham. More of Akiko’s work will be on display at the Uprise during the festival, with 10% of the sales going towards the True Life Fund.

final poster

Posted

HOTTEA is coming to True/False

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Minneapolis-based artist Eric Rieger, aka HOTTEA, will be collaborating with the T/F production team this year to create a massive yarn sculpture at Jesse Hall. We estimate that this piece will use over 12 miles of yarn!

Eric already came through town to share his craft with the students at Lee Elementary School. Check out HOTTEA’s work on Instagram and learn about the origins of his nondestructive street art in this introductory video.

Posted January 22, 2014

‘Paraíso’ and a Chat with Director Nadav Kurtz

Brothers Sergio and Jaime Polanco and their cousin Cruz Guzman are immigrants from Mexico who work cleaning windows on Chicago’s tallest buildings. In Paraíso (T/F 2012) director Nadaz Kurtz pairs stunning images of the Polancos’ dangerous and fascinating work with their reflections on life’s meaning and what lies beyond. The result is a compelling look at something extraordinary hidden in plain sight.

Paraíso has received awards at Silverdocs, Tribeca, The Chicago International Film Festival, Cine Las Americas and The Seattle International Film Festival. Now this celebrated short film is available to watch online as part of the New York Times Op-Docs series.

I recently got a chance to talk with Nadav Kurtz via phone about his film and its inspiration.
-Dan Steffen

T/F: Could you tell me about the original inspiration for Paraiso?

NK: I was working as an editor in Chicago. One day I saw this guy pop up by my window, clean it and then disappear. That was the first time I thought about “Who are these guys?” and “What kind of a person does this job?”

T/F: How did you first meet the Polanco brothers?

NK: When I started working on the film, I went to different buildings all over Chicago and talked to people who did this work. When I met the Polanco brothers, I was just waiting at the bottom of these ropes where they were working, and they just came down and chatted. I was struck right away by how open they were. They were very friendly and basically invited me to their house that evening for a birthday party for one of their nieces. There was clearly something special about them.

T/F: What’s True/False about your film?

NK: To me the juxtaposition of the two words is about the influence that we have as filmmakers on the situations and people we make films about. Once we are in a situation we influence it. This is against the old-school idea that you could be in a situation and not influence it, that this would somehow be a “true” documentary.

I was interested in how making this doc would be illuminating for myself as well as for them. So I was very open with them about my own thoughts about their work. I asked them questions about topics that they didn’t bring up. Other people have come and done stories on them, from the Chicago Tribune and other news sources. And usually most people ask them things like “How much do you guys make?” and “Are you scared of the job?”, these pretty standard journalistic questions. I was interested in their spiritual beliefs and their relationship to the afterlife, their thoughts about the danger of their job and death. Those were things that I was curious about.

In the process of doing these interviews I think they started thinking about these things in a different way than when we first started. The falseness is that the process itself changed the reality, and even changed how their families viewed their work. Before their wives didn’t really know much about their work and didn’t really think about it. Their home lives and work lives were very separate.

T/F: This focus on the afterlife, is that something that occurred to you right away when you started making this film?

NK: Yeah, it’s something that I was personally interested in, especially around the time I was making the film. It was something that I was thinking about a lot. And then, of course, when you’re up filming on these high rises, it’s a different reality up there. You’re standing there and there’s no guard rail. You have the feeling . . . if a gust of wind came and knocked me over all the things that I think about, all the different problems and joys, can be instantaneously erased.

T/F: Can you tell me how you went about shooting the film, how you got all the amazing shots in the film?

NK: There’s a couple of really wonderful cinematographers Drew Wehde and Chris Markos. Those two did a lot of the filming with me.

Going in I had a plan of doing some of it off the cuff and some of it planned, in terms of lens choices and things like that. But the main thing was a lot of waiting. We got really lucky. I think there was one morning where we got a lot of the shots, particularly the part where they are talking about the afterlife and light is shining into the lens, bouncing off of the building. That was the fifth morning we tried to shoot there. They kept cancelling the work because the wind is too strong. So we kept coming back and eventually we got really lucky. They just happened to be on that side of the building when the angle of the sun was hitting the building in a particular way.

I’ve heard other doc people talk about this, there’s a phenomenon where you keep coming back over and over and over, and then in one hour you wind up getting 90% of what you’re going to use. There’s some weird synergy that happens. You have to put in that time and keep coming back or keep filming, then there are these weird moments where everything just kind of lines up.

T/F: It’s interesting, this sort of crazy dangerous work these guys are doing is sort of hidden in plain sight, we see this amazing work these guys are doing and don’t really even pay any attention to it . . .

NK: Yeah, it’s funny now I always get texts from friends with pictures of window washers working. It seems like once you tell people about the project or once they’ve seen it, they start to notice these people more.

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Explore more streaming films from T/F past on our new video page.

Posted January 16, 2014

Create a Film for Gimme Truth!

Gimme Truth!, the T/F game show, returns Saturday, March 1 at The Vimeo Theater at The Blue Note in downtown Columbia. It’s the festival’s most unique event. It’s also the best opportunity for Missourians to get their name out there and have high-profile filmmakers see their work. In recent years our judges included Derek Waters of Comedy Central’s Drunk History and Oscar winner Malik Bendjelloul.

Gimme Truth game show at The Blue Note, March 2. Photo by Parker Michels-Boyce

Gimme Truth! is made up of 10 two-minute films that are either 100% true or 100% false. The goal for each contestant is to make an intriguing, short  movie that fools three “celebrity” judges, each of whom are filmmakers appearing at the festival.

The top three films will win prizes!

1st place: Lux Pass to the 2015 fest, a weekend RED rental package and four-hour color grading session from Chimaeric and additional prizes that have yet to be announced!

2nd place: Lux Pass to the 2015 fest

3rd place: Simple Pass to the 2015 fest

Submissions are free before the early-bird deadline of January 24, 2014. After that there will be a $20 submission fee. Final deadline is February 17, 2013. All filmmakers who submit a film get a complimentary ticket to the event, while the 10 finalists get four tickets.

You can read all the rules and qualifications for Gimme Truth! here.

To spark your creativity, here are a few segment from last year’s show!

 

Posted January 14, 2014

T/F 2014 Buskers!

We strive to make the four days of True/False feel unlike any other. Essential to achieving this effect is the legion of buskers who fill our town with music for the entire extended weekend. They perform at our showcases, in the streets and before each and every T/F screening.

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Our 2014 lineup is coming together nicely, a mix of returning favorites and exciting rookies. Here are a few of the acts you’ll be hearing in just over 6 weeks!

First off, we’re very excited about bringing Yva Las Vegass to Columbia. Yva combines Venezuelan folk traditions and a punk rock attitude into a unique, passionate style perfect for T/F. See for yourself in this short concert below recorded at NPR.

Walt McClements was at True/False in 2012 as part of Why Are We Building Such a Big Ship? He returns in 2014 as Lonesome Leash, this time playing all of the instruments himself. Check him out below performing a soulful tune.

Speaking of one-person-powerhouses, look out for Molly Gene One Whoaman Band tearing it up around town. Her no-nonsense blues is on full display in this music video for “Waitin’”, a scorching ballad about her man stumbling home at 3 AM.

The blues-based singer/songwriter Samuel James will be coming in from Portland, ME. His guitar playing prowess is on full display in this performance of his song “Camus”.

It won’t all be new faces around town this Fest. Our friends at music blog Folk to Folk will be returning to document the music of T/F. They created an outstanding collection of videos last year, so we’re looking forward to seeing what they capture this time around. And it just so happens that three of the bands they filmed in 2013 will also be returning: Yes Ma’am from the streets of New Orleans, Mountain Animation from Brooklyn and La Operación Jarocha from Veracruz, Mexico!

Check back for more T/F 2014 buskers real soon!

Posted January 13, 2014
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