True Vision Award

True/False is proud to partner with Dr. Timothy McGarity of Restoration Eye Care as the sponsor of the True Vision Award

IN HONOR OF HIS dedication to and advancement of nonfiction filmmaking, Mehrdad Oskouei is the thirteenth recipient of the True Vision Award. This is the only award given by the festival. Each year, the award is cast in bronze by mid-Missouri sculptor Larry Young. As an independent producer and film educator in his native city of Tehran, Oskouei is dedicated to unveiling the hidden aspects of long-isolated Iranian society. Using a unique method of storytelling, he crafts deeply moving film portraits that deal with sensitive and “shameful” issues. These include female suicide in traditional communities (The Other Side of Burka), child and teen drug addiction (The Last Days of Winter), and a young generation’s identity crisis (It’s Always Late for Freedom; Starless Dreams). Gaining hard-won access to locked-away places, the director and his small crew emerge with the raw material to craft robust cinematic stories around fragile communities.

Oskouei communes with his subjects in such a natural way that he is able to coax profoundly nuanced performances, ones that fluidly move from pathos to joy to deep sadness within a single shot. Gently prompted by a query from “Uncle Mehrdad,” his subjects open up their shells to the understanding and deep affection his off-camera presence conveys.

With the True Vision Award, we celebrate Oskouei’s dynamic films and the brave individuals contained within them. Within his singular body of work, we locate a hopeful, expansive future in which the ignored and marginalized find a true listener, one skilled enough to transform their stories into something beautiful. In his own bespoke way, Oskouei creates seismic shifts in our understanding of the world. (PC)