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True/False a smash success in year seven

True False

Robert Sarazin Blake sings at the Missouri Theater before "Last Train Home," the final film shown at the True/False Film Fest. Photo by Shane Epping

For fans of nonfiction film, the 2010 True/False Film Fest in Columbia was once again the genre’s premiere destination during a four-day weekend Feb. 25–28, 2010. The seventh annual cinematic celebration has quickly become one of the quintessential happenings in Mizzou’s hometown, as more than 25,500 tickets were sold.

The festival featured more than 30 films, parties at Mojo’s, Tonic and other venues, musicians such as festival favorite country crooner Brody Douglas Hunt, a hodgepodge of classes, panels and workshops, and a parade through downtown complete with costumed revelers.

“I love that we’re something Columbia is proud of,” says David Wilson, who co-founded the festival with Paul Sturtz in 2004. “I don’t spend too much time thinking about our status in the world at large or how we measure up to other festivals. I feel like (True/False) provides a creative spark to so many Columbians.”

This year’s True Vision Award, given to filmmakers whose work shows a dedication to the creative advancement of the art of nonfiction filmmaking, went to The Oath director/producer Laura Poitras. The True/False program guide describes her work as “gorgeous art and essential journalism.”
Columbia cornerstones such as Shakespeare’s Pizza, Booche’s and The Old Heidelberg enjoyed a business boost as film aficionados ate, drank and discussed their favorite flicks.

“When I was a student, I volunteered for the festival,” says Lindsey White, BS ’08, of Austin, Texas. “I told myself in the mirror, ‘No matter where I am in this world, I am coming back to Columbia every year for True/False.’ I fell in love with the spirit and energy.”

Chris Wegan, BA ’08, of St. Louis agrees. “You get to see the best of Columbia come out. The people who care about this community and do a lot for this community really shine.”

True/False sold a mere 4,400 tickets its inaugural year. Now, the modest Mecca has put Missouri on the movie map.

“People like to discover things,” Wilson says. “We’re not interested in becoming a weeklong fest. We’re not interested in attracting movie stars. We’re a documentary festival, so there are ways in which the festival’s size and scale will always be limited. We’re interested in being the best festival we can be.”