News

Plus, there’s a rad party at the end.

 

The True/False volunteer army is a mighty force of chaotic good. Every year, we’re overwhelmed by the outpouring of community devotion and we want to give a hearty thanks to this tireless crew. This year, we’re highlighting volunteers from each department so they can tell us a little about themselves and why they started volunteering for T/F. Want to get involved? Head to volunteer.truefalse.org to apply for True/False 2018.

 


 

Meet Marie; Marie Schaller is a Columbia native and University of Missouri graduate with a degree in International Business. She currently lives in Fargo, North Dakota and works at Concordia Language Villages, language immersion summer camps. The first T/F films she saw back in ’09 were Food Inc., No Impact ManBerma VJ, and Pressure Cooker. We’re lucky to have her.

“Marie’s calm, cool, collected attitude makes Missouri Theater run like a well-oiled machine. Her smile is contagious and her love of the fest is infectious. We love Marie and are so thankful for her dedication to the fest!” – Carly Love, T/F Manager of the Theater Operations

 

TF: What department do you volunteer for?

MS: I have volunteered for Theater Operations as Venue Captain and have also volunteered with Special Ops

 

A large crowd gathers inside and outside the Missouri Theatre on Sunday evening, 2015. (Photo by Rebecca Allen)

 

TF: How many years have you volunteered for True/False?

MS: I have volunteered for the fest the past 6 years

 

TF: How did you get involved in volunteering?

MS: When I attended high school I saw a few films that had a really big impact on me and I knew I wanted to get involved.

 

TF: What’s your favorite part about volunteering? 

MS: My favorite part of volunteering for T/F is getting to see films that are thought-provoking and then getting to discuss them with other volunteers and creating friendships with them. More recently, this has translated to getting to help facilitate that bond within my team of volunteers

 

The closing show crowd at the Missouri Theatre, 2015. (photo by Rebecca Allen)

 

TF: Tell us one prominent memory or great story that happened while volunteering?

MS: Not a specific memory, but I love how the feeling of Columbia changes during those 4 days. All the art, music, activity, and openness adds this magic and suddenly downtown is transformed and everything feels heightened. The volunteers implement that transformation.

 

TF: What would you tell people who never been to or volunteered for True/False?

MS: Volunteering is so fun! You get to feel like a part of the Columbia community and you can make new friends and see some of the films for free! Plus, there’s a rad party at the end.

DJs at the Volunteer Party, 2017 (Photo by Jonathan Asher)

 

TF: What’s been the most rewarding part of your experience volunteering?

MS: The most rewarding part of my volunteer experience is getting to watch young people experience True/False through volunteering or just watching the films and seeing their perspectives broaden.

 

 

Posted December 26, 2017

You get to see a whole new side to the event.

 

The True/False volunteer army is a mighty force of chaotic good. Every year, we’re overwhelmed by the outpouring of community devotion and we want to give a hearty thanks to this tireless crew. This year, we’re highlighting volunteers from each department so they can tell us a little about themselves and why they started volunteering for T/F. Want to get involved? Head to volunteer.truefalse.org to apply for True/False 2018.

 


 

 

Meet Lincoln Sheets. He is a physician and informatics researcher who studies the social determinants of health at Mizzou Med School. He lives and serves full-time at St. Francis House, a Catholic Worker community that provides shelter and hospitality to the homeless residents of Columbia, and his free-time interests include dance, triathlon, mountaineering, European languages, martial arts, and TRUE/FALSE!

“Lincoln is an fantastic volunteer.  The enthusiasm, willingness, and joy he brings to True/False – and to working with students – is the kind of glue that holds this festival together and helps it happen every year.  We’re so lucky to have him on our team!” – Allison Coffelt, T/F Director of Education

 

We asked Lincoln to tell us a little about his volunteer experience, his favorite parts about volunteering, and any advice he would give to first-time volunteers:

I’ve volunteered for the Outreach & Education team for the past two years. In prior years I’ve volunteered as a ticket taker, and also been a paying passholder. I was recruited to the Outreach and Education team by my friend Allison Coffelt, who is the director of that department for True/False.

Eddie Martinez, documentary filmmaker and college instructor, leads a group of high school students in a story writing workshop as part of the DIY Day Workshop. (Photo by Frank Finley)

 

My favorite part of working for that team is working with the high-school kids during the DIY Day program. I get to help the filmmakers and other creative types introduce 20 or 30 high schoolers to the various arts of filmmaking, storytelling, interviewing, and all kinds of cool skills.

If you’ve never volunteered for True/False, and especially if you already love the Fest as much as I have for so many years, you should try being a volunteer one year. You get to see a whole new side of the event, of the international community that makes up the Fest every year, and the great local folks who make it possible.

 

DIY Day participants make their way down 9th Street during the March March! (Photo by Adam Vogler)

 

Posted December 22, 2017

True/False brings the city to life in a way nothing else does.

 

The True/False volunteer army is a mighty force of chaotic good. Every year, we’re overwhelmed by the outpouring of community devotion and we want to give a hearty thanks to this tireless crew. This year, we’re highlighting volunteers from each department so they can tell us a little about themselves and why they started volunteering for T/F. Want to get involved? Head to volunteer.truefalse.org to apply for True/False 2018.

 


 

Meet Lauren Miers. She’s a local communications strategist, freelance writer and doughnut connoisseur. She moved to Columbia in 2012 and hasn’t missed a year of T/F since. We’re lucky to have her.

“Lauren is one of our rocks.  She always shows up and knows how to do everything. And is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.” – Christina Kelley, T/F Merch Director

 

 

TF: What department do you volunteer for?

LM: One year I did Theater Operations, but for the past two years, I’ve worked with the Merch team.

 

TF: How many years have you volunteered for True/False?

LM: 3 years!

 

TF: How did you get involved in volunteering?

LM: I got involved with volunteering by being involved and in-touch with what’s happening in Columbia. As a journalism student working for the student magazine, I was constantly in tune with what was going on in town. When I heard about T/F, I thought volunteering would be a good way to experience the fest. In fact, volunteering for T/F helped me get connected to volunteering at Roots N Blues and Boone Dawdle!

 

 

TF: What’s your favorite part about volunteering for T/F?

The best part of volunteering for T/F is all the way I get to experience a transformed Columbia. T/F brings the city to life in a way nothing else does. Everyone is buzzing about films and events; Everyone has something in common for the weekend. It breaks down barriers, so I get to interact with lots of awesome people! Then I get to see some of those people around town during the year. It helps me feel like I’m really a part of the Columbia community!

 

TF: Tell us one prominent memory or great story that happened while volunteering?

LM: It’s always cool when a director comes up to buy merch!

 

 

TF: What would you tell people who never been to or volunteered for True/False?

LM: Volunteering is an awesome way to get connected with Columbia, see one of the nation’s best film fests and see a ton of great films!

 

TF: What’s been the most rewarding part of your experience volunteering?

LM: Broadly speaking, exposure to culture that isn’t my own – through films, meeting new people, etc.

Posted November 8, 2017

Make mistakes and take risks.

 

The True/False volunteer army is a mighty force of chaotic good. Every year, we’re overwhelmed by the outpouring of community devotion and we want to give a hearty thanks tireless crew. This year, we’re highlighting volunteers from each department so they can tell us a little about themselves and why they started volunteering for T/F.


Meet Jane McElroy. She is a faculty member in the School of Medicine at Mizzou, a loyal True/False volunteer, and a wonderfully involved community member. About True/False she says, “I’m not a big movie fan, so I don’t watch very many films but I’m committed to supporting my community through meaningful volunteer activities and T/F ranks high.” Jane, to us, you rank higher than high. Thanks for giving us your time, energy, and endless support.

 

Jane builds houses with Habitat for Humanity. She has been doing this every weekend for years because she likes to stay active, she believes in the cause, and it’s fun. At some point, she started offering T/F her Sundays in the winter. We’re so lucky. I’m not even sure that she was able to attend this year’s event, but I bet she cut a full tenth of the lumber we used in preparation. – Ben Falby, T/F Production Manager

 

(Photo by Stephen Bybee)

 

TF: What department do you volunteer for? 

JM: Build. [Build Team is an off-shoot of the production crew that handles a lion’s share of the construction projects. The build team does everything from work with artists to help them create their visions to building storage crates for T/F production materials (and a million other things in between).]

TF:How many years have you volunteered for True/False?

JM: 6  years

 

TF: How did you get involved in volunteering? 

JM: Heard about it and tried a few different options before I landed on Build as a good fit a few years ago.

 

John NIchols and Jane McElroy discuss table saw safety with George Zimny during a work session at the Lab. (Photo by Stephen Bybee)

 

TF: What’s your favorite part about volunteering for T/F? 

JM: T/F rocks by providing an outstanding community experience and showcasing great documentary films.

 

TF: What would you tell people who never been to or volunteered for True/False? 

JM: Great event.  Volunteers on the days of the event are the face of T/F so it is a meaningful experience.  For those behind the scenes who volunteer,  we contribute to the quirky and nut-and-bolts pieces for a successful and memorable event.  In both cases it is a worthwhile experience with very tangible and fairly immediate results.  Patrons and artists feel supported and want to keep coming to the T/F event each year.  Columbia gets to have this event in their backyard.

 

TF: What’s been the most rewarding part of your experience volunteering?

JM: Being part of a great group of people (on the Build team) who have tasks without a exact answer on how we are going to complete them in every case.  With Ben as the coordinator/facilitator/and mentor, (working under Ben’s tutelage is one of the rewarding components of the experience), we stand around and problem solve.  Ben allows us to make mistakes and take risks as we pull together the structures that support the creative art installations.

 

Design and construction work begins early at the Lab for True/False 2015. Photo by Stephen Bybee.

 

Posted October 26, 2017

Introducing the Sunday Spree!

Some of you might have noticed we’ll be introducing a budget-minded way to fest in 2018. The Sunday Spree pass is for those seeking a variety pack of films, without committing to an all-weekend pass. It allows purchasers to reserve ONE ticket to any Sunday screening with tickets remaining, and the ability to get into other films for free that day via the Q. If you plan your day right, you can probably see five films, all for $35. Dreamy, no?

(Hey, and pair it with a Busker Band and you’ve got access to all of the Fest music, one film ticket, and all-day Q’ing for $70. That’s five films and all the music you can hear for under $100.)

 

 

Sunday Spree goes on sale February 1st, 2018. Purchasers can reserve their ticket from February 21 at 10AM to February 23 at 6PM and can pick up their wristband during Fest Box Office hours.

 

Not sure if this pass is right fit for you? Use our pass flow chart to figure out which pass is your glass slipper:

 

 

Posted October 22, 2017

So you want to True/False…

 

 

FOUND YOUR PASS?
Head here for more details on your perfect pass level.

Posted October 16, 2017

Post Rough Cut Conversation, AMAL

Here’s a quick conversation with Mohammed Siam, director of Amal. The film follows a teenage girl during and directly after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. In this coming of age narrative, Amal struggles with loss, identity, and relationships amongst the political upheaval in Cairo.

 

 

TF: How did you get involved in this project?

MS: I was looking for a hooligan member – male teenager to cast for a film about anger until I met Amal by coincidence and the film turned to be about her solely. I wanted to investigate the future face of Egypt represented in this young generation who witnessed [the revolution] at the age of 15-20 where this experience might shape who you are

 

TF: How long did you spend shooting?

MS: Six years. It took me two years to understand that it’ll be a coming of age story therefore the best way to do it is to witness this slow change over time and in fractions not by continuos shooting. The post-production took one exact year from rough editing to sound and color.

 

TF: Amal presents herself as a very strong character, so boisterous and full of anger. In a way, she acts as an embodiment of the revolution itself. How quickly did that mirroring present itself and how do you use that in the film?

MS: I see Amal as an embodiment of Egypt not for the revolution but could be also for her generation. That comparison started to be clear after certain changes and couple of years of upheaval to see the assimilation.

 

TF: Gender plays a huge part in the film. Amal insists that she be treated as a boy, but there is also this tension that she is very much a girl who craves a heternormative relationship. Her narration talks about a past relationship with a boy who is killed during a riot, which kind of acts as a catalyst for her action in the revolution. How careful were you about what to include when thinking about her gender expression and portrayal?

MS: This part I was not very cautious how to put it, and I wasn’t at all trying to be politically correct or even narratively accurate. I just let things play out as she grew up and changed. To see Amal as an infant, and at end the film with her having an infant, is a full circle that teaches you a lot about life and makes you question the reason and meaning of many incidents that happen and you never care for and make you take much graver things easily because you saw things over time and you had the mature reaction to these minuscule and major events of one’s life up close like that.

 

Siam talks with Chris Hegedus during one-on-one feedback sessions.

Siam talks with mentor Chris Hegedus during one-on-one feedback sessions.

 

TF: You use found footage of Amal’s home movies from when she was young. Can you talk a little about why you chose to include those in the film?

MS: Having the advantage of following a teenager who’s been born in the digital era – as we’re all now having a digital record of each of us – enriched the six years journey to give a three-dimensional portrayal of the same person for full twenty years which is the sum of her life.

 

TF: Your sense of place is really important as well. As much as this film is about Amal, it also follows the Egyptian revolution closely, showing the five-year aftermath of a political upheaval. How did you weave the place into the narrative?

MS: This layer is very subtle in the film as I see it. It’s developing and announcing itself every now and then but it’s not shouting to take the front or have the focus at any point. It was clear that the film is only about her and if she has moved within certain atmosphere it’d have been the container that envelops her story.

 

TF: The other tension in the film is between Amal and her mother (and her father, to a smaller degree). There are quite a few scenes where they have big disagreements, mainly about politics. Beyond insight into her family dynamic, why did you include these scenes?

Part of it to show how different she is from her family and also from that generation which is a chronic problem in each house whose family is divided on the Arab spring between the youngsters who fought in the square and the their parents who would rather safety over any risk for liberty, rights or change they might get in return.

 

TF: Can you talk a little bit about your music selection? You feature some contemporary songs with lyrics that talk about the revolution, and the diegetic music also plays a large role in the film.

MS: There are some music references in the film as Avro Part whom we’d never afford so we’d change these pieces obviously. The choices of music and pop songs in the film are related to the adolescent sense of taste and atmosphere. Part of the music choices are actually Amal’s choices as these are literally the songs she hums by herself while walking in the street.

 

TF: Was Amal a large part of the creative decisions in the film?
MS: Part of it, no. But she was a major influence on how I shifted my thinking 17 different times to figure out who she is, then who she is becoming and where she’s going to. She never seizes to surprise me still. In that sense, she was part of it.

 

TF: What stage of post-production were you in when you came to Rough Cut? Had other people seen the film and were you pretty far along in the feedback process?

MS: I’m in the late middle of it. Few others have seen the cut and gave feedback, very different though from the feedback I’ve received in your great retreat. The feedback at Rough Cut was much more detailed and focused on certain problems. Also, the main meeting – when everyone was involved – was as constructive as it gets when Paul and David took the helm to dissect the structure and what scene didn’t work for them with Megan and Lisa’s moderation.

 

TF: During the retreat, you received feedback from a bunch of different filmmakers, what was some of the best feedback you got and how has it impacted your film so far?

MS: The ones about restructuring the second half of the film and about the need for an elevating ending which I was working on but they’ve confirmed my ideas and intentions.

 


Rough Cut Retreat is a collaborative project from True/False Film Fest and Catapult Film Fund that strives to give filmmakers with new projects dedicated time, mentorship, and feedback to help their work move from a rough cut to a final cut. 

 

Posted September 26, 2017

It’s hard to explain how powerful it is.

The True/False volunteer army is a mighty force of chaotic good. Every year, we’re overwhelmed by the outpouring of community devotion and we want to give a hearty thanks tireless crew enough. This year, we’re highlighting volunteers from each department so they can tell us a little about themselves and why they started volunteering for T/F. We present to you, the first installment.

 


 

Meet Violet Kroll; she’s 19 years old and was born and raised in Columbia. She’s a photographer, a pen-and-ink artist, and an overall kick-ass creative. We’re lucky to have her.

Violet is an exemplary T/F volunteer – always willing to step up, do more, and add her creative voice, she works hard and goes the extra mile to make sure the projects she works on look amazing. – Camellia Cosgray, T/F Operations Director

 

 

TF: What department do you volunteer for?

VK: I have been on the art team since I started.

 

TF: How many years have you volunteered for True/False?

VK: I’m honestly not quite sure, before I was old enough to officially volunteer I was following my father [Jamie Kroll, a T/F core staffer] around doing odd jobs.

 

TF: How did you get involved in volunteering?

VK: My dad has been a part of the festival since it started and I started with him.

 

TF: What’s your favorite part about volunteering for T/F?

VK: I love being around so many amazing and creative souls. Meeting all the wonderful people that are artists and directors for the fest and especially the people who are in core and the people I volunteer with.

 

Photo by Stephen Bybee.

 

TF: Tell us one prominent memory or great story that happened while volunteering?

VK: I remember meeting a director for a very powerful movie about women’s sexuality from last year, it was amazing. She was very wise and happily answered all of my questions. [That director was Mette Carla Albrechtsen who made the film Venuswhich we highly recommend]. 

 

TF: What would you tell people who never been to or volunteered for True/False?

VK: Prepare to never find parking! I’m kidding but the fest is an incredible experience for anyone. The art alone is awe-some and all the films will change you in a mental way that’s very powerful, something you can’t get from most things.

 

TF: What’s been the most rewarding part of your experience volunteering?

VK: Being a part of the community is just so uplifting and wonderful. It’s hard to explain how powerful it is.

 

Photo by Stephen Bybee

Posted September 19, 2017

Post Rough Cut Conversation, PIGEON KINGS

Pigeon Kings, a new documentary by filmmaker Milena Pastreich, tracks a peculiar subculture of pigeon competitions in South Central Los Angeles presided over by the godfather Keith London. Milena brought the rollers to Rough Cut Retreat back in July, and afterwards we sat down to talk about how she met the pigeon community and how the story evolved from her initial fascination.

 

 

TF: How did you get involved in this project?

MP: I made a scripted short film in 2011 and the lead in the film had pigeons, many scenes took place in her pigeon coop. So, during pre-pro, I was location scouting coops all over LA and upon visiting one, I looked up into the sky and saw pigeons doing somersaults. I got pretty annoying asking one question after the next, so the man who owned the coop invited me to a Roller Pigeon auction on that very day. I headed to the event, where I saw hundreds of men wearing pigeon T-shirts, talking about birds, and looking up into the sky. This world felt surreal and that is why when someone asked me what I was doing there, I responded “I’m making a documentary.”

 

TF: How long did you spend shooting?

MP: I spent two summers (2011 and 2012) meeting people with a camera, that was my form of research. In 2013 I got a grant from Canon via Film Independent, which meant I had C300 for 6 months. During those 6 months I was fully immersed in shooting the subjects of the doc in their day-to-day lives. In 2015 Canon loaned me the camera again and I spent 2 months shooting all things competition. In 2016 and 2017 I shot very sparingly to follow certain story lines.

 

TF: Can you tell me a little about the pigeon rolling sport?

MP: Roller competitions exist around the world and the fliers always compete from their own backyards so it’s the judge who travels to them. If it’s a national fly, the judge travels around the US, if it’s a local fly, he travels around the LA area. A South Central Roller competition starts around 6:30am on a Saturday or Sunday. Over the course of the fly, the group of participants caravan from house to house. Whoever is flying releases their birds and they have 20 minutes to fly a 20 bird team. There is a judge counting how many birds do somersaults in unison, if 5 or more pigeons roll at the same time, the competitor gets points. There’s a lot more to the scoring system, but that’s the basic concept.

 

Milena Pastreich and editor Alex O’Flinn discuss after individualized feedback sessions.

 

TF: During the post-screening conversation, we talked a little about how this film really served as a portrait of these people in this time, as opposed to a “sport” film. What about this group of people really stood out to you and made you want to continue filming?

MP: I’m glad it’s more of a character film than a sports film because that’s most definitely where my interests lie. What drew me to the men is their passion slash obsession with their birds. They have a real connection with their pigeons, they call them “children” and consider them part of their family. Over time, it became clear that the relationship is so extreme because they depend on their pigeons, just as their pigeons depend on them.

 

TF: When constructing the portrait of these people, what were you careful about including and excluding?

MP: Knowing what to include and exclude is such a long process. I don’t think I was calculating what needed to be in our story and what didn’t, instead it revealed itself and is still revealing itself as we edit. Everything started on a scene level though. Since most of our footage is verité, we began by assembling all the scenes that stood out and then whatever was compelling became a building block for our story. With Keith, the heart of his story is his relationship with his children. For Choo, it is his barbershop, which is where we get a sense of the South Central apart from the pigeons.

 

TF: Tell me a little about how you wove together the personal narrative, and the narrative of the sport. You do it really well in the film so we get this really lovely dual story line of the competitions and the interpersonal relationships.

MP: Glad to hear it felt woven together. We began by mapping out the personal narrative which included a competition, so there was a natural sports narrative built into the personal narrative. We then worked backwards and figured out what we needed to explain for that competition to make sense. In terms of the sport, our approach is to explain the minimum amount necessary so people are not confused or annoyed, wanting to know more.

 

TF: I think you’ve also done a really amazing job of grounding the film in a certain place and time – can you talk a little about where it’s set and the community surrounding these characters/sport.

MP: Pigeon Kings takes place in South Central LA and although we are immersed in a specific pigeon world, the film is very much about the neighborhood. Most of the pigeon enthusiasts in South Central are Black and Latino men in their 40s and 50s who have had rollers since they were children. There are a handful of pigeon clubs in the LA area and the members spend weekends competing against each other and attending pigeon auctions. If they’re not involved in club activities, they are stopping by each other’s backyards for a hang; there is a very strong sense of community.  

 

TF: You chose very distinct music for the film. Why that sound and what inspired the decision?

MP: Birdman stole our title so we stole their soundtrack. Only kinda kidding. Our film was originally titled Birdmen and I was very inspired by the Birdman score. With a documentary like this, that takes so long to make, it’s fascinating to watch prior work samples and see the evolution of the music. We first started with classical and although it worked for short teasers and work samples, it never seemed like it could carry the entire film. I knew I wanted to embrace one genre of music or have a similar sound throughout since we are entering such a specific world. Last year when we made a teaser for a Kickstarter campaign, we were playing around with different options and when we tried jazz drum solos and drumlines we got VERY excited.

 

TF: What stage of post-production were you in when you came to Rough Cut? Had other people seen the film, were you pretty far along in the feedback process?

MP: We had been editing for over a year and had had 4 screenings.

 

Feedback session with mentor Mark Becker

 

TF: During the retreat, you got some feedback from a bunch of different filmmakers, what was some of the best feedback you got and how has it impacted your film so far?

MP: We got tons of great feedback at the retreat. One take-away was that one of our characters was outshining the other so we’ve been working on making the less popular character more present. Furthermore, some of the rules of the sport were confusing so we have been clarifying them. We got so many great notes but one of the best ones was so simple, reminding us of the scale of the changes that needed to be done. Very small changes will make a huge difference. Hearing that was very important.

 

Rough Cut Retreat is a collaborative project from True/False Film Fest and Catapult Film Fund that strives to give filmmakers with new projects dedicated time, mentorship, and feedback to help their work move from a rough cut to a final cut. 

Posted September 14, 2017

True/False Community Screening: Voyeur

True/False is pleased to announce an off-season screening of the twisty-turny Voyeur, featuring legendary journalist Gay Talese, who  investigates a Colorado motel owner who spied on his guests for decades.

Missouri Theatre, Wednesday, October 18. Doors at 6:30PM, film at 7:00PM.
Come early, we’ll have some exuberant buskers to greet you at the theater.

And be sure to stick around after the film, directors Josh Koury & Myles Kane will be joining us for a Q&A. Kane and Koury were on hand to record some wild encounters between the veteran New York journalist and his enigmatic subject.

This screening is FREE and open to the public and presented in collaboration with the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the Mizzou School of Journalism with many thanks to Netflix.

2018 True/False Super & Silver Passholders are invited to join us for a pre-film reception with the filmmakers from 5:30-6:30PM at Columbia Art League.

Posted September 7, 2017
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