True/False Film Festival

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True/False Film Fest
Opening film [TBA]
Closing film [TBA]
Location Columbia, Missouri, United States
Hosted by The Ragtag Film Society
Festival date March 5–8, 2015
Language English

The True/False Film Festival 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, 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.[1] In 2006, it won the Riverfront Times best film festival.[2] 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 The District for the first time in fest history in order to take advantage of additional screens at 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.[3] The True/False Film Fest and Stephens College amicably ended their relationship together after the 2011 fest.


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.[4] In 2013, 43,762 tickets were sold, a more than ten-fold increase in a decade.[5]


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.

The True/False Film Fest also features the True Life Fund, which goes to demonstrate that documentaries can create change by offering tangible assistance to the real-life subjects of a new non-fiction film. It further acknowledges that documentary filmmakers and festivals thrive because of the stories provided by people of often limited means.

  • 2014: funds were collected to support the work of the courageous advocates and families featured in Cynthia Hill's film Private Violence, and a total of $23,000 was sent to four women featured in the film: $10,000 each to Deanna Walters and Kit Gruelle, plus $1,500 each to Stacy Cox and Naomi Jean Kilpatrick.
  • 2013: a total of $36,760 was raised, with $20,000 going to RISC, an organization founded by director Sebastian Junger in honor of his fallen colleague and Restrepo co-director Tim Hetherington. The remainder was given to The Milton Margai School for the Blind.
  • 2012: Bully director Lee Hirsch, the fund raised $30,000 to help the five families featured in the film.
  • 2011: The Interrupters director Steve James and the team at Kartemquin, the fund raised $15,000 to help three real-life Midwestern superheroes Ameena Matthews, Cobe Williams and Eddie Bocanegra of the anti-violence group CeaseFire.
  • 2010: Enemies of the People co-directors Thet Sambath and Rob Lemkin, the fund sent $10,000 to help Sambath's efforts to interview former members of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
  • 2009: Burma VJ director Anders Østergaard, the fund raised $9,000 to support the intrepid, underground journalists featured in his film Burma VJ to help purchase cameras and other equipment vital to their efforts to document the ongoing revolution in Burma.
  • 2008: Very Young Girls director David Schisgall and GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Service) founder Rachel Lloyd, the fund raised $9,000 to provide services to girls recovering from the trauma of sexual exploitation.
  • 2007: We Are Together director Paul Taylor and producer Teddy Leifer, the fund raised $8,500 to buy school supplies for the Children of Agape singing choir of South Africa.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Kansas City - Movies - Too Good to Be True
  2. ^ Best of St Louis 2006
  3. ^ A look back, a leap forward. Vox Magazine (2008-02-28). Retrieved on 2014-05-12.
  4. ^ Tribune Staff (5 March 2012). "True/False ticket sales top 37,000". Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Denney, Andrew (4 March 2013). "True/False ticket sales top 43,000". Columbia Daily Tribune. Retrieved 16 May 2013.