The indomitable Rainey family, featured in the new film Quest, have been selected as 2017’s True Life Fund recipients. The fund, True/False’s yearly philanthropic initiative, serves as a tangible way of thanking documentary subjects.

“The True Life Fund represents us completing a circuit,” T/F co-director David Wilson says. “The film subjects share their stories, and this is a small way to repay that gift.”

The Raineys’ home studio acts as a creative space and community refuge in North Philadelphia. Christopher “Quest” Rainey hosts Friday night recording sessions and mentors artists in the community. His wife, Christine’a, a.k.a. “Ma Quest,” works at a local homeless shelter.

Quest was shot by director Jon Olshefski over the course of a decade, bookended by the elections of Barack Obama and Donald Trump. We witness the Raineys raise their children, PJ and William, while working to transform their community.


What starts as a tender portrait of an American family undergoes a slow-burn transformation into a stunning look at race, class, and community. With the country’s turmoil ever-present but muted, Quest is a testament to love, healing, and hope.

Last summer, the film was fine-tuned at the Rough Cut Retreat, organized by T/F and the Catapult Film Fund. Now, Quest is set to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival before coming to True/False. The film is Olshefski’s stunning nonfiction feature debut.

The Rainey family and Olshefski will attend all of the screenings at True/False. Before the fest, Olshefski will visit all of Columbia’s four public high schools. At each school, students will watch clips of the film and engage in discussion with the director.

True/False 2017 marks the 10th year of The Crossing church’s sponsorship of the True Life Fund. The Crossing has committed to continuing to sponsor the fund for the next five years. The True Life Fund itself comprises thousands of individual gifts, matched through a generous grant from the Bertha Foundation. In 2017, True/False aims to raise more than $25,000 for the Rainey family. To give, visit www.truelifefund.org, text any amount to (573) 818-2151, or donate at the True/False screenings.

In 2016, Sonita Alizadeh, the star of the film Sonita, was the recipient of the True Life Fund, which raised $43,500 to underwrite her music aspirations and ongoing campaign against child marriage.

The True/False Film Fest will take place March 2-5 in downtown Columbia, Missouri.