By Sophia Savage | Indiewire February 8, 2010 at 10:56AM
Fresh off the heels of Sundance, the 2010 True/False Film Festival opens Thursday, February 25, 2010 in Columbia, MO, loaded with an impressive number of sneak previews and recently debuted documentaries, including two Sundance favorites, US Documentary Grand Jury Prize winner "Restrepo," chronicling a year in Afghanistan's deadliest valley, with co-director Tim Hetherington, and US Documentary Special Jury Prize winner "GasLand," Josh Fox's natural gas expose of "a rapacious industry before it lays waste to his beloved river valley." In its seventh year, the festival is a four-day celebration of non-fiction filmmaking, ripe with fresh material (37 features, 3 shorts), panels and parties spread throughout nine venues.
It all kicks off with a sneak preview of an "exquisitely shot piece of observational filmmaking" about a Mexican circus performer in Nuria Ibanez's "The Tightrope."
Among the festival's other sneak previews are Kaspar Astrup Schroeder's "Invention of Dr. NakaMats," about the nearly 80 year old man responsible for 357 inventions (floppy disk, anyone?), and Adam Curtis' It Felt Like a Kiss, a "jaw-dropping mash-up of 50 years of empire building and storytelling," taking us from Ike & Tina Turner to Saddam Hussein. Other sneak previews include former True Vision Award recipient Stephen Marshall's "HolyWars," Carter Gunn's "Colony," which artfully examines the disappearance of honeybees - one of ''the most vexing mysteries of our time''. Pippa Robinson's "The British in Bed," which the festival describes as "disarming confessions from eight couples sitting up in bed," may prove the perfect festival closer before the wrap parties begin.
The festival's only honor, the True Vision Award, will go to Laura Poitras, who's film "The Oath," about a Yemeni taxi driver struggling with his past entanglement to Bin Laden, had its world premiere at Sundance. This year's selection for the True Life Fund is Enemies of the People, about Cambodian journalist Thet Sambath and his interviews with former members of the Khmer Rouge. In the spirit of the award, True/False aims to raise $10,000 for the film's subject, Sambath, who will be in attendance along with co-director Rob Lemkin.
Also hailing from Sundance, the festival's lineup includes Mads Brugger's "The Red Chapel," a road trip into North Korea's evil empire; and from Slamdance, there's Steven Soderbergh's "And Everything is Going Fine," the story of how a car crash nine years ago dramatically altered the life of the late actor/writer/artist Spalding Gray. Throw in Laura Bari's "Antoine" (a Tribeca premiere) which follows a 5 year old detective through Montreal, Petra Epperlein's "How to Fold a Flag" (Toronto), the short "Identity Crisis" from Jay Rosenblatt (complete with "a deer who thinks he's a cow"), and a multi-media lecture/performance from Sam Green ("Weather Underground") and musician Dave Cerf in which they ''reinvigorate the hopeful notion call utopia" and you're just half way through True/False's programme.
The complete lineup is available on the next page, with descriptions provided by the festival.
And Everything Is Going Fine w/ subject Kathie Russo and producer Amy Hobby For two-and-a-half decades, Spalding Gray mined the details of his life to provide comedic commentary on the subjects of art, sex, family, and mortality – but a 2001 car crash changed everything.
Antoine w/ director Laura Bari Antoine is a five-year-old in Montreal who of late has become a detective, and he's hot on the trail of a disappearing woman named Madame Rouski.
As Lilith (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ director Eytan Harris In this surreal dark comedy, an Orthodox Jewish organization and an eccentric Israeli mother lock horns over the remains of her teenage daughter's body.
The British in Bed (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ director Pippa Robinson Disarming confessions from eight couples sitting up in bed.
Circo (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ director Aaron Schock The Ponce family's traveling circus has journeyed throughout rural Mexico for generations, but mounting debt and a difficult nomadic lifestyle threaten to halt the grand tradition.
Colony (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ director Carter Gunn The disappearance of the honeybee population is one of the most vexing mysteries of our time, and this artful film begins to unravel it.
Cowboys in India (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ director Simon Chambers A filmmaker's hoped-for expose of a Western mining company results in a comedy of errors involving his relationship with his Indian driver and guide.
Dinner Party (shorts program) w/ director Amy Grappell LSD athletes, camel herders, karaoke kids and salacious swingers -- these are your guests at this specially made Dinner Party.
Disorder (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ director Huang Weikai A scary, surreal survey of Ghuangzhou, China, as if Eraserhead was a documentary.
Enemies of the People w/ directors Thet Sambath and Rob Lemkin On a mission to investigate and to also forgive the brutal murderers who perpetrated the Killing Fields of Cambodia, journalist Thet Sambath is seeking truth and reconciliation.True Life Fund selection.
Familia (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ directors Mikael Wistrom and Alberto Herskovits A warts-and-all look at thirty years in a single Peruvian family's life.
GasLand w/ director Josh Fox Natural gas exploration in the US isn't so natural after all, Josh Fox learns, as he sets out to expose a rapacious industry before it lays waste to his beloved river valley.
Greetings From the Woods (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ director Mikel Cee Karlsson A Swedish director captures life in his eccentric hometown.
HolyWars (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ director Stephen Marshall An Irish convert to Islam faces off with an evangelical Christian: will either budge?
How to Fold a Flag w/ co-director Petra Epperlein We go beyond the body count as we track returnees from a Latino cage fighter to a Congressional candidate.
Identity Crisis (shorts program) w/ director Jay Rosenblatt Identity crises from around the globe including a deer who thinks he's a cow, the story of how Ernest Hemingway created Hemingway, and a teenager at a crossroads.
Invention of Dr. NakaMats (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ director Kaspar Astrup Schroder Meet the crackpot inventor responsible for 357 inventions including the floppy disk in his almost 80 years.
It Felt Like a Kiss (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ director Adam Curtis Ike & Tina Turner, the space chimp, Nikita Khrushchev, Saddam Hussein, Little Eva, the CIA and Rock Hudson all play parts in Adam Curtis' jaw-dropping mash-up of 50 years of empire building and storytelling.
Kati With An I (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ director Robert Greene and d.p. Sean Price Williams A dreamy, intimate portrait of a small-town teenage girl wrestling with her future.
Kick In Iran w/ director Fatima Geza Abdollahyan The changing face of Iran as seen through a portrait of taekwondo star Sarah Khoshjamal, its first female Olympic qualifier.
Last Train Home w/ director Lixin Fan An epic adventure movie about one family's place amongst the 120 million people in China who return from the factories in coastal cities to their vilages in the interior.
The Mirror w/ director David Christiansen A loving and humorous portrait of a small Italian village and their plan to build a giant mirror.
My Country My Country w/ director Laura Poitras In this visionary film by our True Vision honoree, an Iraqi doctor and political candidate struggles with the chaos that has engulfed his country
The Oath w/ director Laura Poitras A Yemeni taxi driver struggles with his past ties to Bin Laden and a brother-in-law who is imprisoned at Gitmo.
The Other Side of Life (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ directors Andy Wolff and Stefanie Brockhaus A stunning film following two brothers in Cape Town, South Africa accused of murder.
Rachel Is w/ director Charlotte Glynn A warm-hearted look at Rachel, a mentally challenged teenager, as she and her mother Jane struggle to find independent living options.
Racing Dreams w/ director Marshall Curry With dreams of NASCAR dancing in their heads, three tweens compete on the national go-kart circuit. The Red Chapel w/ director Mads Brugger A devilishly absurdist road trip inside the heart of North Korea's evil empire.
Restrepo w/ co-director Tim Hetherington An immersive journey with an American platoon inside the one of the most dangerous combat zones in Afghanistan.
Smash His Camera w/ director Leon Gast and producer Adam Schlesinger Ron Galella was the original American paparazzo, a social pariah and celebrity scourge. But at 79, he now feels like more of a pop idol himself and, surprisingly, an artist.
Someone to Watch Over (shorts program) w/ director Melanie Levy This shorts compilation goes from Bobcat Goldthwait's behind-the-scenes look of his childhood home movies to the unfathomable journeys that parents of disappeared children endure.
Those Who Remain w/ co-director Carlos Hagerman Two Mexican directors' sure-handed celebration of their culture, in the shadow of El Norte.
The Tightrope (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ director Nuria Ibáñez A Mexican circus performer is torn between family tradition and her husband's desire for an ordinary life in this exquisitely shot piece of observational filmmaking.
Waking Sleeping Beauty w/ producer Peter Schneider Art and commerce collide inside the mouse house as Disney animation studio bounced back during a tumultuous period.
Waste Land w/ director Lucy Walker Brazilian artist Vik Muniz returns to his homeland and to Jardim Gramacho - the largest garbage dump in the world.
When We Were Boys (SNEAK PREVIEW) w/ director Sarah Goodman This nostalgic, impressionistic snapshot of male adolescence captures two years in the lives of a group of Canadian prep schoolers.