The True/False Film Fest proudly announced its list of 43 feature films featured at this year’s fest. Each of these films makes a unique contribution to the art of nonfiction filmmaking and offers audiences visions of the world that are fantastic, funny, provocative, immediate, and wildly creative. The films chosen represent the full and vibrant diversity of creative nonfiction and demonstrate the vitality of the form. The True/False Film Fest will take place Feb. 27 – March 2 in downtown Columbia, Missouri.
In Ukraine is Not A Brothel, Kitty Green unpacks the dense dichotomy of Ukraine’s radical feminist protest group, Femen – a movement who uses bare breasts as a weapon to force Ukraine to confront its intrinsic patriarchy. Green spent months living in a Soviet-era apartment with several of the activists, allowing her to take audiences past the sound-bite ready veneer that Femen typically presented to journalists to reveal the organization’s insecurities, and ultimately, its strength.
True/False will feature several other fresh films and filmmakers. Robert Greene will unveil his film Actress at this year’s fest. The film studies the crumbling of a family’s domestic order after the mother, actress Brandy Burre, decides to return to the screen. Other films featured for the first time at True/False include Amanda Rose Wilder’s Approaching the Elephant, a look into a free school where rules are created democratically, Joe Callender’s Life After Death, which shows Rwandan native Kwasa and the American philanthropists he calls family, Ryan Murdoch’s Bronx Obama, which follows a Bronx man chasing the American dream through impersonating President Obama, Dora García’s The Joycean Society about a literary cult which meets weekly, and Sacro Gra, Gianfranco Rosi’s acclaimed look at the neighbors of a Rome motorway.
Each year, True/False strives to feature films and filmmakers that give voices to silent or unseen subcultures. This year is no exception. Rachel Boynton’s Big Men follows the fallout triggered after a Dallas-based energy company develops Ghana’s first commercial oil field, and a militant native group rises to seize oil profits from the Americans. The Forest of the Dancing Spirits gives audiences an unprecedentedly intimate view of the Aka tribe in the Congo River Valley, practicers of what may be the oldest religion on earth. Killing Time brings us into the center of the Texas death penalty controversy, as we meet the families of both convict and victim, prison guards, journalists, and a minister as they collectively count down the remaining moments of a man’s life.
In addition to Big Men and The Forest of the Dancing Spirits, Göran Hugo Olsson’s Concerning Violence and A Thousand Suns were filmed in Africa. Concerning Violence travels across the continent as it examines the words of Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth through the lens of modern Africa. Mati Diop’s A Thousand Suns looks back on personal, cinematic, and historical significance of the Senegalese film Touki Bouki, which was created in 1972 by Diop’s uncle.
After winning the U.S. Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, Andrew Droz Palermo and Tracy Droz Tragos’ Rich Hill comes home to Missouri to be featured at True/False. Rich Hill tracks the lives of three kids from a fading, former coal-mining town on the border of western Missouri and captures what happens to the hopes, dreams, and expectations of the people left when industry leaves. A longtime resident of Columbia, Rich Hill marks Droz Palermo’s homecoming and return to True/False.
In addition to Rich Hill, there will be 10 other Sundance titles featured at True/False including: The Overnighters, Captivated, The Green Prince, Private Violence, The Notorious Mr. Bout, E-Team, 20,000 Days on Earth, Happy Valley, Concerning Violence, and Boyhood.
Other stand-outs on the festival circuit will be Tim’s Vermeer, The Unknown Known and Jodorowsky’s Dune. Created by the comedy magic duo Penn & Teller, Tim’s Vermeer follows scientist and inventor Tim Jenison’s quest to discover whether famed painter Johannes Vermeer used optical gadgets when creating his paintings. Errol Morris’ The Unknown Known focuses on the life of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In Jodorowsky’s Dune, this year’s Jubilee film, director Frank Pavich examines Chilean-French film director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s plan for adapting the novel Dune into an imaginative sci-fi epic with a cast including Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger. Although the film was never made, Jodorowsky’s vivid imagining of the novel is brought to life through animation.
Many of the films at True/False bend and break the models of traditional filmmaking and shatter the notions of what a documentary can look, sound, or feel like. This year’s Manakamana consists of twelve static shots, each focused on a cable car as it creaks up the side of a Nepalese mountain. Whether the cargo consists of worshipers or goats, the camera captures their ride as well as Nepal’s sweeping landscape. Jodie Mack’s Dusty Stacks of Mom melds together animation, lyrics as voiceover narration, and Mack herself providing a live musical score. Dusty Stacks of Mom will provide fest goers with a Weird Wake-Up on Sunday, March 2. Cairo Drive tells the story of modern Egypt through depicting traffic jams, commutes, and learning to drive in Egypt’s capital. Shot between 2009-2012, the film takes on the backdrop of Arab Spring and revolution can be seen through the windshield. Demonstration, filmed by 2012 True Vision Award Winner Victor Kossakovsky and 32 film students, collaboratively captures the turmoil of the mass strikes and protests that gripped Spain on March 29, 2012. By choosing to set the footage to the music of Leon Minkus’s ballet Don Quixote, Kossakovsky creates a clash between chaos and order.
Finally, Uncertain, a new film from Anna Sandilands & Ewan McNicol (The Roper, T/F 2013) will receive a Work-in-Progress screening at the fest.