Considered a gem among frequenters of doc festivals, the True/False Film Festival has unveiled its line up for its event taking place in Columbia, Missouri. Among the forty-plus feature docs are a selection of films that have had their recent debuts on the festival circuit, including IDFA and Sundance titles “Afghan Star,” “Burma VJ” and “Rough Aunties” in addition to “Big River Man” as well as best doc Oscar nominee, “Waltz with Bashir” (foreign language category). In addition to the roster of features and shorts, the festival of dozens of bands that play before screenings and at a festival parade that takes place during the four day event taking place February 26 – March 1.
The T/F Film Festival line up (with descriptions provided by the festival):
“Afghan Star,” directed by Havana Marking
Modern Afghanistan, where the spectre of the Taliban still looms, finds unusual unity in an American Idol-style TV show. Some details remain the same, but no US contestant ever had to deal with death threats for dancing in public.
“At the Edge of the World,” directed by Dan Stone
Great adventure and piratical exploits on the high seas, as the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society attempts to take down illegal whaling ships.
“Big River Man,” directed by John Maringouin and co-director Molly Lynch
The incredible-yet-true story of a “superhero” endurance swimmer from Slovenia. Martin Strel aims to swim the entire Amazon River, ostensibly to raise awareness of the perils facing the rainforest. What ensues is a wine-soaked psychedelic rollercoaster a la Apocalypse Now.
“Blood Trail,” directed by Richard Parry
Bosnia, 1993 — Experienced war correspondents Richard Parry and Vaughan Smith meet a wannabe photographer named Robert King. They proceed to film him over the next fifteen years, in war zones around the world, creating this fascinating portrait of life as a frontline journalist. Sneak preview.
“Bronx Princess,” directed by Yoni Brook
A sassy city girl reunites with her father, the chief of a small African village, in this archetypal fish-out-of-water story. (Plays with Liess and Tommy.)
“Burma VJ: Reporting From a Closed Country,” directed by Anders Ostergaard
True Life Fund selection. This spine-tingling thriller tracks a clandestine group of video activists as they use whatever means necessary to spotlight Burma’s brutal military junta.
“Carmen Meets Borat,” directed by Mercedes Stahlenhoef
When the Borat crew came to Glod, Romania, they used people there to stand in for the fictional Kazakhstan. In this rollicking slice-of-life, we meet the real-life residents of Glod, including the forever-dreaming teenager Carmen. Sneak preview.
“Crude,” directed by Joe Berlinger
A behind-the-scenes, David-and-Goliath legal drama in which Ecuadorian Amazon residents pursue justice against Chevron/Texaco for two decades of oil pollution.
“Earth Days,” directed by Robert Stone
The director of Guerilla uses stunning archival footage and vivid testimonies by Stewart Brand and others to capture the lead-up to the first Earth Day in 1970.
“Extremities,” by various directors
A sensational tour of the world, stopping to hang out with gangsters in Poland, shoppers in a vast Chinese mall, blind people in Brazil and coca farmers in Colombia.
“Food, Inc.,” directed by Robert Kenner
The future of our food is up for grabs, and leading figures such as writer Michael Pollan and farmer Joel Salatin show us the perils and promise of what lies ahead. Sneak preview.
“Forgetting Dad,” directed by Rick Minnich
Rick Minnich (Homemade Hillbilly Jam) returns to T/F with a deeply personal doc about his father, who after a car accident became “the new Richard,” a man with no memory of his previous life. Sneak preview.
“Gaea Girls,” directed by Kim Longinotto
A training camp for young Japanese women who want to be pro wrestlers is the setting for this hyper-intense film.
“glastonburykids,” directed by Justin Donais
Post-Jackass offspring run amok in a privileged Connecticut suburb.
“I Will Survive,” by various directors
From displacement to language barriers, these five films illustrate the ways people strive for self-preservation.
“Loot,” directed by Darius Marder
One man obsessed with hidden treasure storms the globe seeking lost riches promised by a pair of WWII veterans.
“Love on Delivery,” directed by Janus Metz
A Thai marriage pipeline extends from Bangkok to a remote fishing village in Denmark, where hundreds of Thai women have changed the fortunes of previously lonely men. Sneak preview.
“The Mosque in Morgantown,” directed by Brittany Huckabee
One woman battles to bring gender equality to her mosque — but some skeptics believe that she’s only interested in the publicity. Sneak preview.
“Necrobusiness,” directed by Fredrik von Krusenstjerna, Monika Sieradzka, Richard Solarz
This richly entertaining true-crime story reveals something’s rotten in Lodz, Poland, as a ghoulish conspiracy is uncovered involving funeral directors and ambulance drivers. Sneak preview.
“No Impact Man,” directed by Laura Gabbert & Justin Schein
Two city dwellers go cold turkey from civilization, weaning themselves off the power grid, agribusiness and other modern conveniences, while attracting a whirlwind of publicity and an army of naysayers.
“O’er the Land,” directed by Deborah Stratman
Deborah Stratman’s freshly minted experimental classic takes us on a visually stunning tour of men and their toys, from a shooting range to a rural firehouse.
“October Country,” directed by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher
A lush, atmospheric and intimate look at a tender but dysfunctional Upstate New York family. Sneak preview.
The shadowy figures of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have ordained these four films as the best shorts of the year. We go to India to eradicate polio and cleft lips, meet a dispassionate photographer of doomed men, and relive Martin Luther King’s final days.
“Over the Hills And Far Away,” directed by Michael Orion Scott
Rupert and Kristin try to heal their autistic son by making a pilgrimage to Mongolia, where shamanism and horse-back riding combine.
“The Posters Came From the Walls,” directed by Jeremy Deller, Nicholas Abrahams
Fandom as cult, religion, and force field. Fierce followers of electronic group Depeche Mode — from St. Petersburg to Iran — tell stories of the band as comfort and salvation.
“Pressure Cooker,” directed by Jennifer Grausman and Mark Becker
A charismatic firecracker of a teacher heats up some of the year’s most entertaining scenes in this warm and thoroughly enjoyable film about a Philadelphia high school culinary arts class.
“Prodigal Sons,” directed by Kimberly Reed
Director Reed returns to her hometown of Missoula, Montana to confront her own past and that of her adopted brother, who could be the grandson of Orson Welles.
“Profiling,” with various directors
Intimate portraits of a wide range of characters, from a man who’s decided to make his epidermis into a living canvas to a woman who lives in her car.
“Rise Up,” directed by Luciano Blotta
Three ambitious musicians — the a capella R&B singer Kemoy, the privileged Ice, and the ghetto-hardened Turbulence — try to distinguish themselves on the music-mad island of Jamaica. Sneak preview.
“The Reporter,” directed by Eric Daniel Metzgar
Longtime T/F favorite Eric Daniel Metzgar accompanies the crusading N.Y. Times super-journalist Nicholas Kristof to the Congo, where Kristoff negotiates warlords and treacherous zones to locate the story that will change hearts and minds in the West.
“Rough Aunties,” directed by Kim Longinott
A gutsy group of South African women help rescue abused children in this intimate masterpiece by 2009’s True Vision Award recipient.
Secret Screening Gold
A legal team fights to save a Mexican man, jailed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Secret Screening Green
The daily travails of two poor Brazilian boys are captured in this gorgeously constructed profile.
Secret Screening Red
An intimate, tragic portrait of an Afghani who acted as interpreter, driver and scout for visiting journalists.
Secret Screening Silver
The challenges of aging and patriotism mix in this sensitive portrait of three senior citizens, who have met every arriving and departing flight since the beginning of the Iraq War.
Secret Screening Blue
At an Oklahoma prison, inmates put pride on the line as they compete in the nation’s most famous prison rodeo.
“Sergio,” directed by Greg Barker
This harrowing thriller traces the valiant rescue efforts to save Sergio Vieira De Mello, the brilliant UN commissioner for human rights, victim of a truck bombing in Iraq.
“Sounds Like Teen Spirit,” directed Jamie Jay Johnson
Fifty years after Europe warred on the battlefield, its competitive spirit is now satisfied by singing contests. With a knack for funny and moving in equal measure, the film tells the story of the 2007 Junior Eurovision competition in which pint-sized talents from Cyprus to the Ukraine sing their hearts out. Sneak preview.
“Waltz With Bashir,” directed by Ari Folman
This animated, mind-blowing doc — one of the year’s most celebrated films — is a former Israeli soldier’s attempt to make sense of a massacre of Palestinian civilians, 25 years later.
“War Against the Weak,” directed by Justin Strawhand
This visually stunning history of the American eugenics movement offers stunning revelations about the links between American geneticists and Nazis.
“We Live in Public,” directed by Ondi Timoner
Ondi Timoner’s splashy portrait of Josh Harris, an artist with a flair for social engineering experiments. In 1999, he spearheaded an Orwellian commune in which 100 specimens lived in a New York City basement where their lives were surveilled 24-7.
“The Yes Men Fix The World,” directed by Mike Bonanno
The Yes Men are the culture-jamming dynamic duo of our age. Their latest adventures includes deflating Dow Chemical’s stock price a few billion dollars in a matter of minutes with a well-timed apology to the people of Bhopal, India.