Columbia, Missouri — The True/False Film Fest is proud to announce its 2020 slate of 38 new feature films and 25 new short films. These films were selected from roughly 1,100 submissions and hundreds more scouted from festivals around the world. Unfolding from March 5-8, 2020 in Columbia, Missouri, the festival highlights works demonstrating exemplary imagination and sensitivity as they explore reality.
The festival will be presenting eight world and eight U.S. Premieres.
Seven feature-length films and one series will mark their world premieres at True/False: Catskin directed by Ina Luchsperger (Germany), the complete City So Real directed by Steve James (United States), Crestone directed by Marnie Ellen Hertzler (United States), Dope Is Death directed by Mia Donovan (Canada), Down a Dark Stairwell directed by Ursula Liang (United States), IWOW: I Walk On Water directed by Khalik Allah (United States), Mayor directed by David Osit (United States / Palestine), and So Late So Soon directed by Daniel Hymanson (United States).
Eight additional feature-length films will launch their stateside tours at True/False: The Faculties directed by Eloísa Solaas (Argentina), Faith directed by Valentina Pedicini (Italy), A Machine to Live In directed by Yoni Goldstein and Meredith Zielke (United States), The Metamorphosis of Birds directed by Catarina Vasconcelos (Portugal), Nofinofy directed by Michaël Andrianaly (Madagascar), That Cloud Never Left directed by Yashaswini Raghunandan (India), Unskinned directed by Inês Gil (Portugal), and The Viewing Booth directed by Ra’anan Alexandrowicz (United States / Israel)
True/False will also present a number of hits from the festival circuit including Boys State directed by Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine (United States), Time directed by Garrett Bradley (United States), Crip Camp directed by Jim LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham (United States), Collective directed by Alexander Nanau (Romania), The Mole Agent by Maite Alberdi (Chile), and Dick Johnson is Dead directed by Kirsten Johnson (United States).
True/False is committed to inclusion and transparency in everything we do. In keeping with our core values, we are proud to announce that of the 38 features selected for the 2020 festival, 53 percent are directed or co-directed by women and 45 percent of the feature directors and co-directors self-identify as people of color.
In total, 53 percent of True/False 2020 feature films are directed or co-directed by women and 58 percent are directed or co-directed by men. Of the 25 selected shorts, 56 percent are directed or co-directed by women and 48 percent are directed or co-directed by men. 64 percent of the shorts directors and co-directors self-identify as people of color.
Each and every year we strive to make the Fest more accessible and are excited to offer a few new accessibility features for 2020 including audio description and closed captioning for a small number of films, sign language interpretation at select festival Q&As and events, and wheelchair access and seating available at all venues. More information about the festival’s Accessibility efforts can be found at truefalse.org/attend/accessibility/
As previously announced, this year’s True Vision Award recipients are the Ohio-born, New Orleans-based filmmaking brothers Bill and Turner Ross, whose newest work, Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, will be played along with two of their earlier films. The True Vision Award is presented by Restoration Eye Care. And Welcome to Chechnya, our True Life Fund Film, supports the featured subject, Maxim Lapunov, who will appear in person at the festival. Neither/Nor, an annual repertory sidebar series, returns with a spotlight on Missouri-born and -raised filmmakers who are broadening the boundaries of nonfiction filmmaking. Artists featured include Lisa Steele, Mike Henderson, Christopher Harris, and Tom Palazzolo.
This year’s film festival was programmed by Jeanelle Augustin, Chris Boeckmann, and Amir George.
TRUE/FALSE FILM FEST 2020 FEATURE FILMS
45365 | Dir. Bill & Turner Ross; 2009; 94 min (United States)
An ode to the colors and characters of small-town Americana, True Vision honorees Bill and Turner Ross’ debut is a sweeping portrait of their birthplace, Sidney, Ohio, and its idiosyncrasies.
Aswang | Dir. Alyx Ayn Arumpac; 2019; 85 min (Philippines)
A fog of state-sanctioned violence hovers over the Philippines, where fear and death haunt the lives of a journalist, a coroner, and a motherless child.
Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets | Dir. Bill & Turner Ross; 2020; 98 min (United States)
An eclectic cast of barflys convenes in its favorite dive for one final night of cheap beer, well whiskey, and mischief.
Boys State | Dir. Amanda McBaine & Jesse Moss; 2020; 109 min (United States)
The Lone Star State’s best and brightest teenage boys assemble for a week of civics and shenanigans as they compete for the title of Texas Boys State governor. Presented by Veterans United Home Loans
Catskin | Dir. Ina Luchsperger; 2019; 58 min (Germany)
A German boy and his family confront ghosts from their country’s past in this slippery, mesmeric portrait.
City So Real | Dir. Steve James; 2020; 240 min (United States)
From the Back of the Yards to the booths of Daley’s diner, legendary Chicago filmmaker Steve James (The Interrupters, Hoop Dreams) delivers a lively, multilayered chronicle of the city during the pivotal mayoral race of 2019. True/False Film Fest is proud to present all four episodes of this series.
Collective | Dir. Alexander Nanau; 2019; 109 min (Romania)
In the aftermath of a horrific and deadly nightclub fire, Romanian bureaucrats and journalists fight tenaciously to bring integrity to broken systems. Presented by the Kinder Institute for Constitutional Democracy
Crestone | Dir. Marnie Ellen Hertzler; 2020; 73 min (United States)
As the world burns, millennials descend on Crestone, Colorado, to grow weed, spit bars, and fill their bellies with bologna.
Crip Camp | Dir. Jim LeBrecht & Nicole Newnham; 2019; 102 min (United States)
A rambunctious story about the fight for disability rights in America and the Summer of Love when it all began. Presented by Rusk Rehabilitation Center
Dick Johnson is Dead | Dir. Kirsten Johnson; 2020; 89 min (United States)
Kirsten Johnson kills her father over and over again in this black comedy that asks, What if you never had to lose the people you love?
Dope is Death | Dir. Mia Donovan; 2020; 78 min (United States)
In 1973, the government turns to methadone and mass incarceration to combat soaring drug addiction in American cities. The Black Panther Party and the Young Lords join forces to promote an alternative – the radical use of acupuncture.
Down a Dark Stairwell | Dir. Ursula Liang; 2020; 83 min (United States)
Set in motion by a tragic police-involved shooting, two communities of color navigate fraught perceptions of injustice, inequality, and discrimination in the eyes of the law.
The Faculties | Dir. Eloísa Solaas; 2019; 77 min (Argentina)
A film student forgets the plot to Battleship Potemkin and a botany student mistakes ovules and ovaries in this intense and brilliantly structured study of young scholars undertaking oral examinations at the University of Buenos Aires.
Faith | Dir. Valentina Pedicini; 2019; 93 min (Italy)
The Warriors of Light live in total isolation. Acolytes partake in rigorous daily exercises and prayer under the tutelage and control of their Master … until one person tries to escape.
Feels Good Man | Dir. Arthur Jones; 2020; 95 min (United States)
The story of a little frog who gets lost in the dark web.
The Giverny Document | Dir. Ja’Tovia Gary; 2019; 42 min (United States)
“Do you feel safe in your body?” Ja’Tovia Gary asks black women on a sunny day in Harlem as she reflects on her own image and self worth in Claude Monet’s garden.
IWOW I Walk on Water | Dir. Khalik Allah; 2020; 197 min (United States)
Returning to the nocturnal streets of East Harlem, a groundbreaking portrait artist evolves his practice in this work of beauty, invention, and vulnerability.
Lovemobil | Dir. Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss; 2019; 106 min (Germany)
Along German country roads, immigrant sex workers sit alone in dimly lit camper vans, hoping to attract clientele.
A Machine to Live In | Dir. Yoni Goldstein & Meredith Zielke; 2020; 87 min (United States)
In Brasília, utopian geometry, monumental myth-making, and alien-centered architecture present concrete plans for their country’s crumbling foundation.
małni—towards the ocean, towards the shore | Dir. Sky Hopinka; 2020; 81 min (United States)
Sky Hopinka’s debut feature is a meditative journey through the lush Pacific Northwest, guided by the Chinookan origin-of-death myth.
Mayor | Dir. David Osit; 2020; 87 min (United States / Palestine)
Meet the mayor of Ramallah, Palestine, as he contends with provincial predicaments: potholes, holiday parties, and the occupation of his city’s land by another government’s military.
The Metamorphosis of Birds | 2020; 101 min (Portugal)
An epistolary love story spanning decades of marriage, six children, and an ocean.
The Mole Agent | Dir. Maite Alberdi; 2020; 90 min (Chile)
A kindhearted widower infiltrates a Chilean retirement home to investigate rumors of neglect in this compassionate and clever detective story.
Mucho Mucho Amor | Dir. Cristina Costantini & Kareem Tabsch; 2020; 96 min (United States)
Larger-than-life Puerto Rican TV astrologer Walter Mercado captivated millions with his theatrical horoscope readings, magnificent capes, and uplifting message—until he mysteriously vanished.
Nofinofy | Dir. Michaël Andrianaly; 2020; 73 min (Madagascar)
A Malagasy barber tends to the scalps and dreams of his clientele in this warm and tactile portrait of a community fixture.
Pier Kids | Dir. Elegance Bratton; 2019; 84 min (United States)
An unfiltered look at life and the families that form along the piers at the end of Christopher Street, told by three homeless queer and trans youths of color.
Ridge | Dir. John Skoog; 2019; 70 min (Sweden)
Drawing from local lore, residents of the rural town of Kvidinge, Sweden, collaborate in this magical and mysterious collection of vignettes.
Seven Years in May | Dir. Affonso Uchoa; 2019; 42 min (Brazil)
On the run and away from home for more than seven years, Rafael’s life-changing experience with police is restaged as he faces down his demons.
So Late So Soon | Dir. Daniel Hymanson; 2020; 70 min (United States)
A half-century into their marriage, two Chicago artists look back at their lives together and contend with a never-ending series of house repairs.
Some Kind of Heaven | Dir. Lance Oppenheim; 2020; 81 min (United States)
America’s largest retirement community, The Villages are where people come to live. Presented by Fresh Ideas
Sunless Shadows | Dir. Mehrdad Oskouei; 2019; 74 min (Iran)
Serving time for murder, five young women form a new family inside a Tehran juvenile detention center.
A Supa Special Wakaliwood Event for All True/False Commandos |
Dir. IGG Nabwana; 2020; 61 min (Uganda)
Ribs get tickled then broken in this exhilarating action film from Uganda.
Talking about Trees | Dir. Suhaib Gasmelbari; 2019; 93 min (Sudan)
Following decades of government censorship, four retired filmmakers form The Sudanese Film Group and attempt to revive a deserted movie palace in this sweet and humorous ode to cinephilia.
Tchoupitoulas | Dir. Bill & Turner Ross; 2012; 82 min (United States)
Our True Vision honorees take us on an intoxicating nighttime journey through the Big Easy as experienced by three bright-eyed brothers.
That Cloud Never Left | Dir. Yashaswini Raghunandan; 2019; 66 min (India)
In the Indian village of Daspara, a lunar eclipse is approaching. The villagers recycle 35mm film reels into enchanting toys.
Those That, At a Distance, Resemble Another |
Dir. Jessica Sarah Rinland; 2019; 65 min (Argentina)
A perfect, gleaming ivory tusk is fabricated by a team of expert hands in this dazzling voyage into the world of preservation.
Time | Dir. Garrett Bradley; 2020; 85 min (United States)
Director Garrett Bradley delicately captures one family’s milestones and everyday joys amidst their monumental fight to free their father from a 60-year prison sentence.
Unskinned | Dir. Inês Gil; 2019; 76 min (Portugal)
A Portuguese tannery employee mysteriously abandons her post, leaving coworkers to process her departure in this transfixing study of labor and beauty.
The Viewing Booth | Dir. Ra’anan Alexandrowicz; 2019; 70 min (United States / Israel)
Researcher and filmmaker Ra’anan Alexandrowicz tests the limits of nonfiction images’ ability to function as evidence.
Welcome to Chechnya | Dir. David France; 2020; 107 min (United States / Russia)
This vital, harrowing film embeds with everyday citizens as they band together to bring LGBT+ residents of Chechnya to safety.
TRUE/FALSE FILM FEST 2020 SHORT FILMS
Aurora | Dir. Everlane Moraes; 2018; 16 min.
Three Cuban women deliver electric monologues in total silence. (Plays in Shorts: Blanc)
Civil War Surveillance Poems (Part 1) | Dir. Mitch McCabe; 2019; 15 min.
Set in the future during the impending civil war, this anxiety-ridden cross-country road trip is soundtracked by talk radio banter. (Plays in Shorts: Rye)
Dadli | Dir. Shabier Kirchner; 2018; 15 min.
Before the island was claimed Antigua, it was Wadadli—“our own.” (Plays in Shorts: Blanc)
Distancing | Dir. Miko Revereza; 2020; 10 min.
The director of No Data Plan (True/False 2019) packs his .MOVs and says goodbye to the United States. (Plays with małni—towards the ocean, towards the shore)
Good Ended Happily | Dir. Basir Mahmood; 2019; 13 min.
A Lollywood production of the raid on Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad. (Plays in Shorts: Bock)
Hampton | Dir: Kevin Jermone Everson & Claudrena Harold; 2019; 8 min.
Black Voices, a gospel choir from the University of Virginia, journey through song on the way home from a concert in Hampton Roads. (Plays with Time)
How to Disappear | Dir. Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner, Michael Stumpf; 2020; 21 min.
Is it possible to desert a war game? (Plays with Catskin)
JESA | Dir. Kyungwon Song; 2019; 6 min.
A sweet and salty take on family, food, and the patriarchy. (Plays in Shorts: Blanc)
Lost Three Make One Found | Dir. Atsushi Kuwayama; 2019; 27 min.
A young man sets off on a long, strange road trip across Portugal to find a cure for his broken heart. (Plays in Shorts: Rouge)
Love It/Leave It | Dir. Tom Palazzolo; 1973; 15 min.
A dazzling and overwhelming tour of Americana, set to the Vietnam War Era-chant “love it, or leave it.”
Partial Differential Equation | Dir. Kevin Jerome Everson; 2020; 8 min.
A mathematician commands the screen in this entrancing, durational study of chalk and code. (Plays with The Faculties)
Reckless Eyeballing | Dir. Christopher Harris; 2004; 14 min.
Furtive and syncopated, a Jim Crow-era crime is reexamined under new light. (Plays with Giverny Document)
San Vittore | Dir. Yuri Ancarani; 2019; 12 min.
A son picks up a crayon while waiting to see his incarcerated father. (Plays in Shorts: Bock)
The Sea, The Stars, A Landscape | Dir. Alison O’Daniel; 2019; 18 min.
Horns blare and sound softly through thick LA air. (Plays in Shorts: Rouge)
Secret Screening Short | 2019; 24 min.
An abandoned art deco building is restored to its former glory. (Plays in Shorts: Rouge)
See You Next Time | Dir. Crystal Kayiza; 2020; 6 min.
A Chinese nail artist and her African American client, a regular, share a moment of relaxation and beauty in a Brooklyn salon. (Plays with Down A Dark Stairwell)
Shortcuts | Dir. Daniela Delgado Viteri; 2019; 18 min.
Five political actors offer incidineray testimony as they dance and burn effigies. (Plays in Shorts: Bock)
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes | Dirs. Riccardo Giacconi, Paolo Pennuti, Mirko Fabbri; 2019; 12 min.
A band leader loses his senses. (Plays in Shorts: Rouge)
A Song About Love | Dir. Rikkí Wright; 2019; 14 min.
Suffering, pain, and pleasure are richly layered as a chorus of black women’s voices reaches divine heights. (Plays with Giverny Document (Single Channel))
Specialised Technique | Dir. Onyeka Igwe; 2019; 7 min.
An effort to recuperate black dance from studied spectacle to livingness. (Plays with Those That, At a Distance, Resemble Another)
The Spirit Keepers of Makuta’ay | Dir. Yen-Chao Lin; 2019; 11 min.
Atmospheric journey to the rocky coastal dreamscape of eastern Taiwan. (Plays in Shorts: Blanc)
Spit on the Broom | Dir. Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich; 2019; 11 min.
The story of a clandestine organization founded by black women in 1840 is told through a surrealist lens. (Plays in Shorts: Blanc)
This is an Address | Dir. Sasha Wortzel; 2019; 17 min.
Stonewall veterans and queer activists claim residency along the Christopher Street piers while cranes raze vacant buildings for a new skyline. (Plays with Pier Kids)
To the North (Part 2) | Dir. Kelman Duran; 2016; 23 min
A retelling of indigenous stories on a wintry foray into the mountains of South Dakota. (Plays in Shorts: Rye)
Up at Night | Dir. Nelson Makengo; 2019; 21 min.
Homemade battery packs and snaking power cables connect citizens of Kinshasa resisting darkness. (Plays with Seven Years in May)
what remains / geriye kalanlar | Dir. belit sağ; 2019; 7 min.
Constructed images are frequently manipulated but also link us to the people caught between life and death, past and present. (Plays in Shorts: Bock)
When two or three | Dir. Carmine Grimaldi; 2019; 20 min.
In a deserted Arizona town, a pastor and his devoted wife spend their days with God in this intense relationship portrait. (Plays in Shorts: Rye)