COLUMBIA — Festival-goers, prepare. The True/False Film Festival is back for its sixth year, and Paul Sturtz, co-founder of the festival, along with David Wilson, has allowed the Missourian a partial preview of the documentaries that will be shown.
Some films that will be at this year's festival include “The Yes Men Fix the World,” with directors Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlebaum; “At the Edge of the World,” with director Dan Stone; “Pressure Cooker,” with directors Jennifer Grausmann and Mark Becker; “Reporter,” with director Eric Daniel Metzgar; and “No Impact Man,” with director Laura Gabbert.
The 2009 True Vision Award Winner, director Kim Longinotto, will feature her two films, “Gaea Girls” and “Rough Aunties.” The latter follows a group of women who work to protect the abused children of Durban, South Africa.
The co-founders choose who will receive the award each year. Wilson explains they look for the filmmakers that are “in the process of creating a body of work, that will not only withstand the test of time, but will really push forward the non-fiction genre.”
“Kim Longinotto, I think, is certainly one of the greatest documentary directors working today,” Wilson said.
Longinotto, who is well known for her documentaries in the U.K. and Europe, rarely travels to festivals.
“Having her here at True/False to accept the award and show a few of her films is, for the festival and me personally, just a huge moment,” he said.
Sturtz is especially looking forward to the film “Reporter,” which he feels may be a breakthrough for director and friend Eric Daniel Metzgar.
“I think he is well on his way to becoming one of the most important non-fiction filmmakers in the world,” Sturtz enthused.
“Eric Daniel Metzgar accompanies The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof to the Congo, where they negotiate all these warlords and all these danger zones in order to locate a story that Kristoff is hoping will change the hearts and minds of the west,” Sturtz explained.
Sturtz also mentioned three of the festival's sneak previews: “Carmen Meets Borat,” with director Mercedes Stalenhoef; “Blood Trail,” with director Richard Parry; and “Food, Inc.,” with director Robert Kenner.
Also showing is “Burma VJ,” directed by Anders Ostergaard, which is this year’s pick for the True Life Fund. The film, according to the festival’s Web site, follows the 2007 “Saffron Revolution,” where anti-government protests were led by Buddhist monks and Burmese students.
The fund will attempt to raise $10,000 for the Democratic Voice of Burma, in aid of the journalists who risked their lives to document this event.
About 500 films were submitted and another 250 were considered from other festivals.
“We are looking to probably have about 40 features and about four short programs,” Wilson said.
The festival is being held Feb. 26- March 1, with films showing at several venues across Columbia’s downtown area. This includes the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, which, due to reconstruction, was absent from last year’s festivities.
The venue is an important addition because attendance has increased each year, with 2008 bringing in over 18,000 ticket-buyers.
So far, 1,300 passes have been sold this year. They will be available until Feb. 17. However, if the trend continues, they may sell out before then. So if festival-goers are waiting to purchase their tickets, they may soon be out of luck.
To clarify: Sold out passes do not equal sold out screenings.
“We don’t really want to use the word “sold out” because then people think that they can’t get into anything,” box office coordinator for the festival Beth Kopine, explained.
“We leave a certain percentage of seats open to accommodate people that show up at the door to give opportunities to those who can’t commit their weekend to the festival, but do want to come and catch a couple films,” Kopine added.
Online ticket reservations for pass holders will begin the week of Feb. 8 and remain open until Feb. 20.
Single-screening tickets, however, will not go on sale until Feb. 26 at noon.