A festival focused primarily on documentaries, True/False has grown in popularity seemingly every year in its existence. Yet, even though the festival has gained notoriety on a national stage, it has remained grounded, focusing on the community and providing the best documentaries in the world to the residents of mid-Missouri.
With its rich journalistic tradition, Columbia is the perfect setting for a festival focused on non-fiction film. Residents of Columbia and mid-Missouri have embraced True/False, making it one of the most anticipated events of the year.
In return, the festival consistently brings in the year’s most acclaimed documentaries the world has to offer. From Academy Award nominees, to award-winning films from Sundance, Toronto and other popular film festivals, True/False never fails to disappoint local documentary lovers.
This year is no different. Here is a preview of some of the can’t miss films coming to Columbia for the 10th annual True/False film festival.
This year’s True Vision Award will be presented to directing duo Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel for their documentary focused on the commercial fishing industry in the North Atlantic.
According to the True/False website, “The True Vision Award, our only award, is given annually to a filmmaker (or filmmakers) whose work shows a dedication to the creative advancement of the art of nonfiction filmmaking.”
Leviathan is an experimental film, focusing on Sensory Ethnography. Both Castaing-Taylor and Paravel are instructors at Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab.
In addition to Leviathan, True/False will also be screening Sweetgrass, another film by Castaing-Taylor and Paravel. The film focuses on Montana ranchers herding their sheep for summer pasture.
2.) The Gatekeepers
True/False may be celebrating an Academy Award winning documentary this year. Nominated in the Best Documentary (Feature) category, The Gatekeepers will be on the national stage when the Academy Awards take place on February 24th, just days before True/False begins.
Whether or not it takes home the award, however, The Gatekeepers is a film you will not want to miss.
Directed by Dror Moreh, the film focuses on the surviving former heads of Israel’s security agency, Shin Bet. The Gatekeepers will give its audience an inside look into the security web that is Shin Bet, which is the Israeli equivalent to the CIA.
3.) After Tiller
This film may prove to be one of True/False’s most controversial documentaries of the year. Dealing with one of America’s most polarizing and divisive issues, abortion, After Tiller portrays the lives of the four doctors remaining in the United States who still perform late-term abortions.
The film is named after Dr. George Tiller, a Kansas doctor who was assassinated in 2009 for offering late-term abortions to women.
After Tiller will surely create a lot of buzz around Columbia, and will provide an opportunity to spark a scholarly and civilized discussion surrounding the issue of abortion.
True/False has a few non-documentary offerings this year in their lineup. Foreign film No, directed by Pablo Larraín, is one of them.
Like The Gatekeepers, No is also nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Foreign Film. The Chilean film is set in 1988 and focuses on the national referendum to decide whether or not to remove dictator Augusto Pinochet from power. As the title suggests, the referendum only had two options: “Yes” (Pinochet should remain in power) or “No” (Pinochet should be removed from power).
The film itself follows a Chilean ad man who is approached by the “No” advocates to run a campaign for their side. For people who aren’t fans of documentaries, No provides an opportunity to still experience and be a part of True/False.
5.) Secret Film Screenings
One of the aspects that sets True/False apart from other film festivals is their secret screenings. Each year, the festival has secret screenings of films that are yet to have their world premiere.
Relying on the goodwill and honor system of journalists and movie goers alike, True/False screens these films with the caveat that no one will reveal their identity to the public. In today’s age of social media, it is amazing this system works as well as it does.
So if you are lucky enough to see one of these secret screenings, make sure you do not spill the beans on Facebook after the movie is over.
True/False will take place from Feb. 28th through March 3rd. To learn more about the rest of the films being screened, see a schedule of the show times or learn about the rest of events True/False has to offer, visit their website.