Neither/Nor 2019 Receives Funding from The Academy!

Good news! The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has awarded True/False $10,000 for the continuation of its Neither/Nor Series. Now entering its sixth year, Neither/Nor is True/False’s ongoing survey of groundbreaking film movements that—through their imaginative approaches to sound, image, and reality—altered the course of nonfiction cinema. In keeping with its name, Neither/Nor draws attention to film movements that have traditionally been neglected by the documentary world (for not being ‘documentary enough’) and the fiction world (for being ‘too-documentary’).

For each edition of Neither/Nor, True/False selects a film programmer-writer, who researches that year’s focus and selects a handful of works to present throughout the True/False weekend (February 28 – March 3, 2019). During True/False, guests will participate in at least six free festival screenings, alongside classroom visits. The guest programmer also contextualizes the series in a monograph, which consists of essays and interviews with the filmmakers. This monograph is available for free in various venues throughout downtown Columbia and is also posted in its entirety on the True/False website.

Past subjects of Neither/Nor include a selection of Polish filmmakers who used documentary in subversive ways during the Communist era and ‘shockumentary’ filmmakers who relied on the exploitation home video market to fund provocative, political cinema about gun control and colonialism. Last year, Ashley Clark, senior programmer of cinema at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), presented four films from the Black Audio Film Collective, a group of multidisciplinary and multimedia artists whose work reckons with history and memory—particularly as it pertains to colonialist societies and the African diaspora—in ways that are intellectually rigorous, inventive, and expressive.


The Academy is supporting this series through a FilmWatch Grant, which also supports the Big Sky Film Institute, Milwaukee Film, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and many others. “This year the Grants are proud to support 51 organizations whose innovative programs reach broad audiences, underserved high school and college students, support mid-career and emerging filmmakers, and engage and enrich their local communities. The Grants also reached out to support several film archives devastated by recent climate events. It is the Grants’ privilege and responsibility to fund organizations, rising and established, that reflect both The Academy’s values and its leadership role in the arts,” said Buffy Shutt, chair of the Academy’s grants committee.

Since its start in 2004, True/False has increasingly investigated the vast, vital slash between True and False by spotlighting documentaries that transcend mere reportage and incorporate the cinematic qualities of fiction filmmaking. True/False will announce more details about Neither/Nor’s 2019 edition in late 2018.

For more information on Neither/Nor, and downloads of previous years’ monographs visit, head here!

Posted May 24, 2018

Sustainability Report 2018

True/False believes in our responsibility to future generations to do what is environmentally and socially just for our local and global community. Our mid-Missouri home is a beautiful place, and we’re adopting practices that keep our shared space a sublime place to discover beauty and art.  We have a Green Team, supported by Hy-Vee and led by sustainability coordinator Patricia Hayles-Weisenfelder, that worked all weekend to help us be as eco-friendly as possible. The reports are in and we’re proud to say we exceeded last year’s diversion numbers.

  • We collected 2,580.91 lbs of food waste (that’s over 1.25 tons! It’s also 378.31 lbs MORE than last year, but it’s also 50.5 lbs LESS food wasted from events!)
  • We collected 1,777.99 lbs of recyclables (1040.95 lbs from events and 737.04 lbs reported from non-event volunteers!).
  • We diverted 87.94% of event waste from the landfill (that’s 2.5% MORE than last year!) Also note that 90% is considered “Zero-Waste”
    • 92.11% at Jubilee (84.2% last year)
    • 77.08% at Reality Bites (82.46% last year)
    • 91.35% at Fete (91.57& last year)
    • 91.22% at Closing Reception (83.58% last year) *thanks to Addison’s compostable serveware.
  • We reduced our overall (trash+recycle+food) event waste by 157.17 lbs.  (1845.9 in 2017 & 1688.73 in 2018).
  • We reduced our event landfill contribution (trash) by 78.52 lbs (291.3 in 2017 & 212.78 in 2018).


For more about this year’s sustainability efforts head here.

Posted March 8, 2018

2018 Films Announced


True/False Film Fest is proud to announce its 2018 slate of 40 new feature films that expand the boundaries of nonfiction and invite audiences to be challenged, inspired, and entertained.

These films were selected from roughly 1,300 submissions plus hundreds more scouted at festivals around the world. The festival seeks to highlight work that exhibits the highest levels of craft, tells untold stories and creatively advances the documentary form.


A half-dozen films will mark their festival debut at True/False. América, from filmmaking team Chase Whiteside and Erick Stoll, tenderly portrays a playful trio of brothers who step up to take care of their grandmother in Colima, Mexico. In Black Mother, Khalik Allah takes audiences on a spiritual journey through Jamaica. Miles Lagoze’s Combat Obscura is the ultimate insider’s view of Marines in Afghanistan. Lovers of the Night, from Anna Frances Ewert, introduces Irish monks, holding on faithfully to their fragile monastery, as they confide their most profound secrets. Kim Hopkins’ Voices of the Sea takes viewers to a Cuban seaside where a couple must wrestle with whether to stay or go. The Task is Leigh Ledare’s provocation in which a confounding group of strangers cross-examine their tangled group dynamic.



Twelve other films are launching their stateside tours at True/False. Leilah Weinraub’s Shakedown is already being described as a “lo-fi Magic Mike XXL,” a raucous celebration of a black lesbian strip club. Flight of a Bullet is a revelatory, singular take on the war movie embedded within a controversial pro-Ukrainian group. Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami features the iconic singer as she magically dances between down-to-earth moments with her Jamaican family and pure transcendence on stage. Makala is an epic journey film set in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Four countries are represented for the first time within the True/False selection. From Uruguay, directors Adriana Loeff and Claudia Abend observe a prickly marriage in La Flor de la Vida. Both The Family, Rok Bi?ek’s intimate decade-long study of a young father, and Playing Men, Matjaž Ivanišin’s lush survey of regional games and sports, hail from Slovenia. Dieudo Hamadi’s Kinshasa Makambo follows the efforts of a group of young activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Next Guardian, co-directed by Dorottya Zurbó and Arun Bhattarai, delivers a charming story of two siblings in Bhutan.



2018 continues with the fest’s most internationally diverse lineup ever. This includes a far-ranging group of films from Argentina (Primas), Chile (Adriana’s Pact), Brazil (Gabriel and the Mountain), Mexico (Artemio), Romania (António e Catarina), France (Makala), Germany (Lovers of the Night), the UK (American Animals, Voices of the Sea, Three Identical Strangers, Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, and Westwood), Syria (Of Fathers and Sons), China (Taming the Horse and Self-Portrait: Birth in 47KM), and Russia (Flight of a Bullet).


As in past editions, this year’s True/False lineup features a selection of fiction films in conversation with their nonfiction brethren. American Animals is a white-knuckled heist film from director Bart Layton (The Imposter). In The Rider, a breathtaking new film from Chloé Zhao, a young cowboy’s family and friends portray versions of themselves as Zhao traces a script around the experiences of her non-professional actors. Gabriel and the Mountain, from Brazilian director Fellipe Barbosa, retraces his adventurous friend’s last days in East Africa with the help of the real people who met him.


And last, but certainly not least, the latest edition of the festival features films from two frequent visitors – Robert Greene returns for a record fifth time with Bisbee ‘17, a wildly creative look at labor history in Arizona. And Morgan Neville (Oscar-winner with 20 Feet From Stardom) presents his fourth T/F feature, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (presented by Veterans United), a cultural history of Fred Rogers. And True/False will feature first-time feature director Tim Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers as the post-parade Reality Bites screening.


Additional announcements to come include the release of our shorts slate tomorrow, Thursday, February 8; and the full schedule on Saturday, February 10.





Posted February 7, 2018


True/False presents the third year of Provocations: a curated selection of incendiary thinkers. These whip-smart presenters will appear before feature films, injecting a mini “ideas-fest” into True/False, offering challenging ideas in five-minute blasts. These five individuals stand ready to rearrange worldviews with the power of their words.

Aja Romano: Drawing upon her background in fandom, Aja writes about internet culture for Vox. Her reporting provides insights into geek culture from fanfiction enclaves to the dark recesses of Reddit.

Danny Giles: Originally hailing from Columbia, Danny is now based in Chicago where he works as an interdisciplinary artist and educator. His performances at distinguished museums and galleries question the power dynamics of systems.

Miko Revereza: Since relocating from Manila as a child, Miko has lived undocumented in the United States for almost 25 years. His films and writing grapple with his long-­term problems with documentation and the exclusion it imposes.

Nicole He: Nicole uses technology to make art about technology. She playfully transforms both digital mediums and physical objects to explore the relationship between humans and computers with interactivity and humor.

Paul Bloom: A prominent psychologist, Paul’s latest book is Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion. His groundbreaking work convincingly makes counterintuitive arguments about morality, religion, art, and how we understand the world.





On the Sunday morning of the Fest, the five piquant Provocateurs, along with some special guests, will gather to present their provocations at the Chautauqua, an event named after the adult education movement popular in the 19th and 20th century. Like early Chautauquas, True/False’s event comes complete with music and storytelling. It will be held at Rhynsburger Theatre and tickets are required for this event. 

Posted February 2, 2018


At this year’s True/False, the Fest collaborates with writer and programmer Ashley Clark on a celebration of the Black Audio Film Collective. This retrospective is a part of the festival’s Neither/Nor sidebar, a celebration of groundbreaking film movements that have evolved the discourse surrounding nonfiction cinema. This year’s Neither/Nor program is again presented with the generous support of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.



Formed in 1982, the Collective consisted of seven multidisciplinary and multimedia artists who came together at university and proceeded to collaborate throughout the 1980s and 1990s. With backgrounds in fields such as psychology, sociology and fine art, the Collective approached cinema in a way that was intellectually rigorous, inventive and expressive. Their breakthrough work, 1986’s Handsworth Songs, considered the complex causes and simplistic depictions of civil unrest in Birmingham and London. It aired on Channel 4 and sparked a debate in The Guardian between Salman Rushdie and Stuart Hall, the latter praising the film for its original techniques and for “making us look in new ways.” Later that year, the film received the British Film Institute’s prestigious Grierson Award for Best Documentary.


In later works, the Collective explored a vast array of topics, including post-colonialism, Afrofuturism, movement building and migration. As Clark writes, the Collective — namely John Akomfrah, Lina Gopaul, Reece Auguiste, Edward George, Avril Johnson, Trevor Mathison, and Claire Joseph, who was replaced in 1985 by David Lawson — embarked on “a relentless quest to harness the African diaspora’s kaleidoscopic thought-power to combat white supremacy as a historical, economic and conceptual form of oppression.”


Who Needs a Heart?


During the festival, Clark is presenting four films from the collective’s catalogue: Handsworth Songs, Testament, Twilight City and Who Needs a Heart. These screenings, which begin on February 28 at the Ragtag Cinema and continue throughout the weekend, will be followed by discussions with Black Audio Film Collective members and collaborators, including Reece Auguiste, as well as sound artists Trevor Mathison and Gary Stewart. The full lineup will be announced in mid-February. Additionally, the festival is publishing a monograph featuring new essays by Clark, as well as interviews he’s conducted with Black Audio Film Collective members and associates. This monograph will be available for free at various venues in downtown Columbia and will later be published online.

“We’re beyond thrilled to be working with Ashley, whose brilliant and vibrant monograph draws unsettling parallels between Great Britain circa 1981 and today,” True/False programmer Chris Boeckmann says. “By and large, contemporary nonfiction filmmaking has yet to pursue the exhilarating creative possibilities opened up by the Black Audio Film Collective. We look forward to celebrating and discussing their generous, stimulating work.”


Clark is the senior programmer of cinema at BAM in Brooklyn, a position he has occupied since August 2017. He was the programmer of Black Star (BFI Southbank, Oct-Dec 2016; TIFF, Nov-Dec 2017), a major film season dedicated to exploring the range, versatility and power of black actors, and co-programmer of Making Faces on Film: a Collaboration with BFI Black Star (Museum of Modern Art, April 2017), a complementary New York edition. As a journalist, Clark has written extensively on film and culture for The Guardian, Sight & Sound, Reverse Shot, Village Voice and Film Comment; and his first book is Facing Blackness: Media and Minstrelsy in Spike Lee’s Bamboozled (The Critical Press, 2015). Ashley is also a broadcast journalist, and moderator.


This is the fifth edition of Neither/Nor, a program dedicated to scholarship and programming of vital movements that shift the boundaries of documentary filmmaking. Earlier editions have explored the legacy of the controversial Mondo film industry and the inspiring work of artists who found creative ways to defy censorship in communist Poland. Head here to read past Neither/Nor monographs.

Posted February 1, 2018



Columbia, Missouri – The 2018 selection for the True/False True Life Fund film is Primas from filmmaker Laura Bari. The True Life Fund will benefit the film’s two valiant subjects: Rocío Álvarez and Aldana Bari Gonzalez. True/False’s yearly crowd-sourced initiative serves as a tangible way of thanking documentary subjects. It acknowledges that documentary filmmakers and festivals thrive because of the stories given to us by people who are often of limited means.



Primas is an evocative portrait of two Argentinian cousins who free themselves from the shadows of violent pasts. The teenagers travel to Montreal with the guidance of their aunt and the film’s director, Laura Bari.  While there, they participate in transformative creative arts therapy. With dance, mime, theatre, circus and visual arts, they reveal their imagination and unshakable resilience.

Primas is Laura Bari’s second film to screen at True/False. Bari attended True/False 2010 with the playful Antoine about a five-year-old blind boy who dabbles in detective work. Bari’s warm, collaborative approach to filmmaking shines in Primas. At its core, the film is a tender confessional expressed with spell-binding courage.


This marks the 12th year of the True Life Fund, and the 11th year that the film has been presented by The Crossing, a local church in Columbia.  The True Life Fund itself is comprised of thousands of individual gifts and support from the Bertha Foundation. In 2018, True/False aims to raise more than $20,000 for Rocío and Aldana to support their future artistic and collegiate endeavors. In the spirit of bringing audience support to story sharing, True/False is also seeking donations of airline miles to help subsidize their flight expenses.


For more information about giving, visit During the Fest, donations will be received via text at (573) 818-2151 and through donations at True/False screenings.

Posted January 17, 2018

Announcing True Life Fund Film & The Alethea Project

On Wednesday, January 17th at 9:00AM CST we’ll announce the 2018 True Life Fund film and recipient.  We invite members of the press & community to join us for a brief press conference held at The Crossing to discuss the film, the fund, and a new True/False endeavor: The Alethea Project.

The Alethea Project is a 10-week traveling documentary screening series that will take place in large evangelical churches around the Midwest and West. The series will begin in the Fall of 2018 when representatives from True/False and The Crossing visit churches and screen recent nonfiction films with topics that invite robust post-screening discussions among filmmakers, a moderator, and a representative from the church. Film topics will include race in America, climate change, refugees and immigration, healthcare and health crises, the death penalty, guns control, sexuality and gender. 

In 2009, The Crossing joined the True/False Film Fest in presenting the True Life Fund: a crowd-sourced award to honor the subject(s) of a single documentary and thank them for sharing their story. Described in depth by Christianity Today and the New York Times, the True Life Fund allowed these surprising partners to find common values and build a framework of trust and cooperation that benefit both.

The Alethea Project is funded in part by the Bertha Foundation and Impact Partners and is currently seeking additional funders.



The press conference will be held by True/False co-director David Wilson and Crossing co-pastor Dave Cover. They will discuss the project, partnership, show a clip from the True Life Fund film, and answer questions. The event will also be streamed live on The Crossing’s Facebook page. Both organizations invite those unable to attend to watch online and ask questions via Facebook (@TheCrossingCoMo) or Twitter (@truefalse).

The press conference will take place in room 227 at The Crossing. The Crossing is located at 3615 Southland Drive, Columbia, Missouri 65203. To access room 227 please park in the main lot and enter through the south facing doors. Follow signs to room 227.


For more information about the True Life Fund, visit
For more information about the Alethea Project, visit

Posted January 12, 2018


We’re proud to announce that Claire Simon will receive this year’s True Vision Award in honor of her achievement in and contribution to the field of nonfiction filmmaking.

True Vision is the only award given out at the fest. Simon is the 14th recipient of this honor. Last year, the award was given to Iranian director Mehrdad Oskouei. Other winners of the True Vision Award include Laura Poitras (2010), James Marsh (2011), and Adam Curtis (2015).



Photograph by Guérin Nicolas


Simon will be appearing at the fest with her newest film, The Graduation, as well as a selection of her previous work. The Graduation observes a team of judges interviewing prospective candidates to La Fémis, France’s most prestigious film school. A former instructor at the school, Simon gained unguarded access to heated behind-the-scenes debates, which she captures with characteristic grace and insight.

Of The Graduation, True/False senior programmer Chris Boeckmann says, “Claire tends to focus on small-scale stories, but they invariably resonate in grand ways. She is both attuned to the poetry of everyday gestures and the large societal forces that shape our behavior.”




Simon, a French director born in London who began as an editor, will be making her first appearance at True/False. She has made a dozen features in a 30-year career playing at the line between documentary and fiction.

In her startling 1992 breakthrough, Récréations (also featured at T/F), Simon embeds with a class of young children. Her camera studies their dynamics during recess, the only time of the day they exert autonomy. Simon finds genuine drama here plus some primal truths.

The idiosyncratic path Simon has followed since Récréations is full of unpredictable, exhilarating turns.

In Coûte que Coûte (1995), Simon rooted the cutthroat capitalist world in the struggle of a man trying to keep a catering business afloat. Simon has also mined her own life: her daughter’s love travails in 800 km de différence / Romance (2001) as well as a friend reflecting back on her life in the ambling masterpiece Mimi (2002), also playing at T/F. Constructed from seven years of real-life dialogue collected by Simon, God’s Offices (2008) features celebrated actors as family-planning counselors.


The award is given with support from Restoration Eyecare. The award is designed and cast in bronze by local Mid-Missouri artist Larry Young.


Posted February 17, 2017



In 2017, True/False Film Fest is partnering with Kickstarter to expand its staff childcare initiative to include visiting filmmakers, artists, and musicians. True/False will provide free, professional daycare during the four-day weekend of the Fest in order to make the festival more accessible to artists with young children.

Through this initiative, True/False & Kickstarter seek to support the real, current needs of all parents, especially low-income and single parents, as well as model possibilities for other festivals on how to be more feminist and equitable.


At the March March Parade during True/Fasle Film Fest 2015 (photograph by Jon Asher)

At the March March Parade during True/False Film Fest 2015 (photograph by Jon Asher)


“Festivals play a vital role as gathering places for the film world” says True/False Co-conspirator David Wilson. “If our guests can’t travel because of young children, they risk missing out on making connections that could lead to future projects.”


Family obligations, especially as they pertain to young children, impact more women than men. While these maternity issues ­mirror the problems affecting many women in male-dominated workplaces, they are heightened in the film industry: filmmaking demands long hours, erratic schedules, and extensive travel. These factors create obstacles that wedge women without a financial cushion out of the film industry.

With the support of Kickstarter, True/False hopes to offset the cost of expensive child care and help parents give birth to their films, build essential industry relationships and remember why documentary filmmaking is an urgent art.


“A lot of our attention and resources at Kickstarter are going towards contributing to sustainability within the documentary community,” says Liz Cook, Kickstarter’s Director of Documentary Film. “While we are thrilled this will be able to support both male and female directors, this collaboration really stemmed from a conversation with True/False about our internal initiatives centered around supporting female filmmakers. This is a totally new type of partnership for us at Kickstarter and we are incredibly excited to be collaborating with True/False to offer this important resource for creators with children.”


The Cradle, True/False’s new daycare will be held at the Picturehouse Theater (inside the United Methodist Church, located in the epicenter of the festival) and run by trained child care providers employed by the church. In collaboration with The Atelier, a Columbia-based children’s arts studio, there will also be creative educational programming for children old enough to participate. The activities are tied to the theme of the festival, “Out of the Ether,” in that they encourage discovery of ideas related to the elements, and how small elements can be built together to achieve something larger than the individuals themselves. Many of the activities also involve aspects of light, video, literacy, and free play.

Posted February 14, 2017


Introducing our latest endeavor in nonfiction storytelling: the True/False Podcast! Presented by KBIA, this podcast is where documentary lovers, watchers and creators come together. Each episode features a conversation between a noteworthy nonfiction filmmaker or film critic and a True/False curator.  Discussions are centered on a particular craft-of-storytelling theme (such as building character or creating an immersive experience) that True/False selects based on the strengths of the filmmaker interviewee.  The podcast offers insider insight into the challenges and joys of making today’s most cutting edge nonfiction films.  


A sample:

  • Craig Atkinson and Laura Hartrick, filmmakers of Do Not Resist, discuss how they won access to high-security locations.
  • Eric Hynes, film critic (Film Comment, The New York Times) and curator at Museum of the Moving Image, discusses the future of documentary cinema.
  • Bill and Turner Ross — the filmmakers of Contemporary Color, Western, and Tchoupitoulas — explore creating documentary as real-life experience.


At interludes during episodes, we will feature soundscapes of the Fest. In these brief pieces, the audience is placed amid festival experiences such as the infamous March March parade or an interactive art installation. Through interviews and sounds of True/False, each episode evokes a mini-Fest in which listeners can revel in the joy and thought-provoking nature of True/False’s four-day ephemera.


The first full-length episode is set to premiere Feb. 23 on iTunes, Stitcher, and wherever podcasts are available. The second episode will be released on the first day of True/False, March 2. The third episode will be available March 9. After that, episodes will be released every other Thursday. In addition to iTunes and Stitcher, listeners can find the show at and Production of the podcast pairs the expertise of journalists and audio professionals at KBIA as well as the students at the University of Missouri School of Journalism with True/False films and filmmakers.
A preview of the podcast is now available on KBIA’s website and on iTunes.



Posted February 11, 2017
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