True/False Film Festival
|Location||Columbia, Missouri, United States|
|Hosted by||The Ragtag Film Society|
|Festival date||February 28 - March 3, 2019|
The True/False Film Fest is an annual documentary film festival that takes place in Columbia, Missouri. The fest occurs on a weekend toward the end of February or the beginning of March, with films being shown from Thursday evening to Sunday night. Films are screened at multiple locations around downtown Columbia, including the Ragtag Cinema, Jesse Hall, Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, The Picturehouse, The Blue Note, The Globe, Rhynsburger Theater and the Forrest Theater in the Tiger Hotel.
True/False was started by Paul Sturtz and David Wilson (who also founded the Ragtag Cinema) in February 2004. In 2006, it won the Riverfront Times best film festival. In 2008, the film fest lost 1,200 seats due to the renovation work taking place at the Missouri Theatre. To adjust for the loss, the fest expanded beyond its usual boundaries in order to take advantage of additional screens at Macklanburg Cinema, Windsor Cinema, and The Den on the campus of Stephens College. After the completion of its restoration, the historic Missouri Theatre was once again a featured venue for the 2009 edition of the fest. The True/False Film Fest and Stephens College amicably ended their partnership after the 2011 fest, and Stephens College continues to host the annual Citizen Jane Film Festival every fall.
The first True/False Film Festival in 2004 sold 4,200 tickets and the fest has since experienced rapid growth, increasing attendance by 25% or more in all but two years through its first decade. Since then, the festival has increased attendance each year with the exception of 2014, which saw a 3% decrease amid a winter snowstorm. The latest event in 2017 saw another record high in ticket sales, nearly 3,000 more than 2016.
Over the years, the festival has expanded its presentation of other arts, including music and decorative art. The event kicks off with a parade, the "March March," and ends with "Buskers Last Stand," in which many of the invited musicians come together for a closing performance. It encourages additional attendee involvement through participatory events like the "True Life 5K run," and the "Gimme Truth!" game show. The festival has risen from its meager origins to earn recent praise from both the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times.
Media Literacy Initiative
In early 2016, Columbia Public Schools, Ragtag Film Society, and the Columbia Public Schools Foundation announced a new, landmark multi-year partnership that brings together film, the CPS curriculum, and teacher training. The Media Literacy initiative is a year-round program that supports teacher efforts to incorporate more film and multimedia into their classrooms.
The program champions the belief that as students catapult into a world of ever-changing media, distribution platforms, and news outlets, the skills to be thoughtful, critical consumers of media must grow. Students deserve the tools to think consciously about the ways their world is presented to them and the ways they present their world. The primary goals are to increase the presence of film in core classrooms, help teachers and students learn to read film as text, and to cultivate and enhance critical thinking skills as teachers and students practice analyzing new media.
Camp True/False brings high school students with varying interests insider access the fest for a weekend of exciting films, music, art, conversations and workshops with a diverse crew of exceptional guests and local hosts. Camp True/False convenes before the Fest to discuss relevant issues, share research and plot their course. All Columbia Public Schools participate, as well as 10 out-of-town schools (4 of those, out-of-state).
On the Friday morning of the Fest, 10th graders from across all four Columbia public high schools take busses to the Missouri Theatre where their unique True/False experience begins. The students watch buskers and a festival film (listed below, by year), and students are encouraged to participate in a Q&A with the filmmaker. Afterward, 200 self-selected students attend interactive artist workshops and join in the anyone-can-join March March parade.
Educational Screening Films
2018: Won't You Be My Neighbor?, dir. Morgan Neville
2017: I Am Not Your Negro, dir. Raoul Peck
2016: The Bad Kids, dir. Keith Fulton & Lou Pepe
2015: What Happened Miss Simone?, dir. Liz Garbus
2014: Particle Fever, dir. Mark Levinson
2013: Crash Reel dir. Lucy Walker
|Abacus: Small Enough to Jail||Steve James||2017||Feature|
|All Good Things||Chloe Domont||2017||Short||The New Family|
|Antonio, Dashing Antonio||Ana Maria Gomez||2017||Short||Edith + Eddie + Antonio|
|Balloonfest||Nathan Truesdell||2017||Short||The World Laughs With You|
|Best of Luck with the Wall||Josh Begley||2017||Short||Making Good Neighbors|
|Adriana's Pact||Lissette Orozco||2018||96 min||Feature|
|América||Erick Stoll & Chase Whiteside||2018||75 min||Feature|
|American Animals||Bart Layton||2018||116 min||Feature|
|António e Catarina||Cristina Haneș||2018||40 min||Feature|
|Artemio||Sandra Luz López Barroso||2018||48 min||Feature|
|Bisbee '17||Robert Greene||2018||118 min||Feature|
|Black Mother||Khalik Allah||2018||77 min||Feature|
|Caniba||Verena Paravel & Lucien Castaing-Taylor||2018||97 min||Feature|
|Combat Obscura||Miles Lagoze||2018||67 min||Feature|
|Crime + Punishment||Stephen Maing||2018||112 min||Feature|
|The Family||Rok Biček||2018||106 min||Feature|
|Flight of a Bullet||Beata Bubenec||2018||81 min||Feature|
|La Flor de la Vida||Adriana Loeff & Claudia Abend||2018||86 min||Feature|
|Gabriel and the Mountain||Fellipe Barbosa||2018||131 min||Feature|
|Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami||Sophie Fiennes||2018||115 min||Feature|
|Hale County This Morning, This Evening||RaMell Ross||2018||76 min||Feature|
|Kinshasa Makambo||Dieudo Hamadi||2018||75 min||Feature|
|Love Means Zero||Jason Kohn||2018||89 min||Feature|
|Lovers of the Night||Anna Frances Ewert||2018||57 min||Feature|
|Makala||Emmanuel Gras||2018||96 min||Feature|
|MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.||Steve Loveridge||2018||96 min||Feature|
|National Diploma||Dieudo Hamadi||2018||92 min||Feature||True Vision Award Repertory Series (2014)|
|The Next Guardian||Dorottya Zurbó & Arun Bhattarai||2018||74 min||Feature|
|Handsworth Songs||John Akomfrah||2018||61 min||Feature||Neither/Nor (1986)|
|Twilight City||Reece Auguiste||2018||53 min||Feature||Neither/Nor (1989)|
|Testament||John Akomfrah||2018||79 min||Feature||Neither/Nor (1988)|
|Who Needs a Heart?||John Akomfrah||2018||78 min||Feature||Neither/Nor (1991)|
|Of Fathers and Sons||Talal Derki||2018||98 min||Feature|
|Our New President||Maxim Pozdorovkin||2018||78 min||Feature|
|Playing Men||Matjaž Ivanišin||2018||61 min||Feature|
|The Price of Everything||Nathaniel Kahn||2018||98 min||Feature|
|Primas||Laura Bari||2018||100 min||Feature||True Life Fund|
|The Rider||Chloé Zhao||2018||105 min||Feature|
|Self-Portrait: Birth in 47KM||ZHANG Mengqi||2018||101 min||Feature|
|SHAKEDOWN||Leilah Weinraub||2018||69 min||Feature|
|Shirkers||Sandi Tan||2018||96 min||Feature|
|Taming the Horse||GU Tao||2018||129 min||Feature|
|The Task||Leigh Ledare||2018||120 min||Feature|
|Three Identical Strangers||Tim Wardle||2018||96 min||Feature|
|Voices of the Sea||Kim Hopkins||2018||99 min||Feature|
|Westwood||Lorna Tucker||2018||83 min||Feature|
|Won't You Be My Neighbor?||Morgan Neville||2018||94 min||Feature|
True Vision Award
The True/False Film Fest offers a single award. The True Vision Award is given annually to the filmmaker, or filmmakers, whose work shows a dedication to the creative advancement of the art of nonfiction filmmaking. Each winner is presented with an original bronze sculpture, created by nationally known Columbia artist Larry Young.
|2004||Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky||Metallica: Some Kind of Monster|
|2005||Stephen Marshall||This Revolution|
|2006||Kirby Dick||Chain Camera|
|2007||Brett Morgen||Nimrod Nation|
|2008||Alex Gibney||Gonzo and Taxi to the Dark Side|
|2009||Kim Longinotto||Rough Aunties|
|2010||Laura Poitras||The Oath|
|2011||James Marsh||Project Nim|
|2012||Victor Kossakovsky||¡Vivan las Antipodas!|
|2013||Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel||Leviathan|
|2014||Amir Bar-Lev||Happy Valley|
|2015||Adam Curtis||Bitter Lake|
|2016||Mehrdad Oskouei||Starless Dreams|
|2017||Claire Simon||The Graduation|
|2018||Dieudo Hamadi||Kinshasa Makambo|
*The newest film presented by the chosen winner in each year's festival.
True Life Fund
Since 2007, the True/False Film Fest has also featured the True Life Fund, a fundraising program which goes to demonstrate that documentaries can create change by offering tangible assistance to the real-life subjects of a new non-fiction film each year. The fund further acknowledges that documentary filmmakers and festivals thrive because of the stories provided by people of often limited means. The Bertha Foundation and The Crossing (a Missouri church group) have assisted greatly in these fundraising efforts.
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|Year||Film||Director(s)||Funds Raised||Supported Cause|
|2007||We Are Together||Paul Taylor||$8,500||Purchase school supplies for the Children of Agape singing choir of South Africa.|
|2008||Very Young Girls||David Schisgall||$9,000||Provide services to girls recovering from the trauma of sexual exploitation, through GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Service).|
|2009||Burma VJ||Anders Østergaard||$9,000||Purchase equipment for underground journalists in Burma.|
|2010||Enemies of the People||Thet Sambath and Rob Lemkin||$10,000||Help efforts to interview former members of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.|
|2011||The Interrupters||Steve James||$15,000||Help Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams and Eddie Bocanegra of the anti-violence group CeaseFire.|
|2012||Bully||Lee Hirsch||$30,000||Help the five families featured in the film, which were victimized by bullying.|
|2013||Restrepo||Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington||$36,760||Support RISC (Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues) and The Milton Margai School for the Blind.|
|2014||Private Violence||Cynthia Hill||$23,000||Support the work of Deanna Walters, Kit Gruelle, Stacy Cox and Naomi Jean Kilpatrick.|
|2015||The Look of Silence||Joshua Oppenheimer||$35,000||Support Adi Rukun's efforts to open an optometry shop in Indonesia.|
|2016||Sonita||Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami||$43,000||Provide assistance for Sonita, an Afghani musician and undocumented Iranian immigrant.|
|2017||Quest||Jonathan Olshefski||$34,750||Support Christopher and Christine'a Rainey's in-home studio for North Philadelphia neighborhood recording artists.|
|2018||Primas||Laura Bari||[To Be Announced]||Suppor Rocío and Aldana's future artistic and collegiate endeavors.|
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- Watkins, Caroline (February 22, 2017). "True/False sets the stage with diverse lineup of musicians". Move Magazine. The Maneater Student Newspaper. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Sands, Gracie (February 28, 2017). "True/False art 'sparks an interaction'". Move Magazine. The Maneater Student Newspaper. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Smith, Rebecca (March 8, 2016). "Beyond the Films: The True Life Run". KBIA. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- Phillips, Michael (March 7, 2016). "True/False puts the 'festive' in film festival". Chicago Tribune. Columbia, MO. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
...[H]ere's what other festivals, both smaller and larger, can learn from True/False: It's fun. It's a community blowout. Our own multiplex-bound Chicago International Film Festival seems boxy and square by comparison, in more ways than one.
- Zeitchik, Steven (March 10, 2017). "In the age of alternative facts, decoding truth in documentary". Los Angeles Times. Columbia, MO. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
...[T]he four-day film festival has evolved into the country’s premiere documentary venue...
- Earle, Jade (February 28, 2013). "The True Life Fund gives back to doc causes". Vox Magazine. Columbia Missourian. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- McCarty, Morgan (February 1, 2014). "Finding Truth: The True Life Fund supports the lives behind the lens". Inside Columbia Magazine. Outfront Communications. Retrieved March 8, 2017.
- "True Life Fund - True/False Film Fest". truefalse.org. Retrieved 2018-05-03.