|Location||Columbia, Missouri, United States|
|Hosted by||The Ragtag Film Society|
|Festival date||March 1-4, 2018|
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, 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.
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|
*The newest film presented by the chosen winner in each year's festival.
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.
|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||[To be announced]||Support Christopher and Christine'a Rainey's in-home studio for North Philadelphia neighborhood recording artists.|
...[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.
...[T]he four-day film festival has evolved into the country's premiere documentary venue...