The True/False Film Fest is getting ready to take off, as this year’s event will be hosted from February 28 to March 3, in Columbia, Missouri.
Every Year, True/False Film Fest hopes to to present a program that, in totality, challenges viewers to think critically about both the content of the films and their own assumptions.
Directors of True/False Film Fest, Paul Sturtz and David Wilson took some time to talk with BZFilm about this year’s upcoming 10th edition of the festival.
The festival begins in about a week, what is to be expected from this year’s event? Anything special in particular?
We think it’s a strong line-up, ranging from some discoveries like truly independent American docs like “These Birds Walk” and “Northern Light” to the Russian activist film “Winter, Go Away!” the Scottish tearjerker “I Am Breathing,” and the Israeli gem “The Garden of Eden.” There are also some of the best Sundance premieres such as “Cutie & The Boxer” and “Manhunt.” There’s a really good range of scale and approaches.
How the festival is being sponsored?
We rely heavily on pass and ticket sales, as more than half of our budget comes that way. This seems unusually high for film festivals. We do get a few grants, with the NEA coming on for the first time this year. Lastly, we have a nice range of sponsors such as HBO, Commerce Bank, a church, and a St. Louis brewery called Schlafly.
How in your opinion is the young generation accepting documentary films today?
In our town, we work closely with the high schools, and we’ve created two special programs called the T/F Academy and T/F Boot Camp. The academy is becoming a year-round film appreciation and production program, and we’re really proud of it. Last year, many of the kids fell in love with films such as “The Ambassador,” “Bully,” and “Undefeated.”
Today, what are the most important subjects for documentaries that should be touched?
The amazing thing about documentaries is that in the hands of a good filmmaker, you can be made to care about pretty much anything. And if it’s not done well, it doesn’t much matter how “important” the subject matter is. In “Cutie & The Boxer” I’m compelled to linger on everything these again artists think and say because the film’s approach is so masterful.
How do you estimate the evolution of documentary filmmaking in the last 10-15 years? Has it even occured, in your opinion?
The last decade has been the Golden Age of documentary filmmaking. The preponderance of low-cost HD cameras has contributed to this, and there is more and more an international community of nonfiction filmmakers who are pushing and prodding each other to do great work.
What filmmakers, namely, from what countries, have expressed interest in True/False film festival, to come and showcase their films there?
We have filmmakers from all over the globe coming this way from Chile (The Last Station) to Germany (The Captain and His Pirate” to Israel (The Gatekeepers).
One of the events at the upcoming festival is named “Gimme Truth!”, where people decide whether films are true or false…. can you tell more about this particular event?
Gimme Truth! is probably the most fun event at the fest. It’s our special ’60s-era TV game show a la “What’s My Line” or “Truth or Consequences.” Local fiilmmakers create profiles of a Missourian that is 100 percent true or 100 percent false. Contestants in the game show are documentary filmmakers from around the world. As the shorts screen, they compete against each other guessing which videos are True or False. As they do this, they will also act as judges, picking their favorites from among the 10 finalists.
Below is our latest poll. Please leave your vote!
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