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The Influence

Over four days every March, thousands congregate at True/False to take in a mix of (mostly) documentaries, innovative social events and dozens of buskers that collectively make the festival such a standout fest for locals and visitors alike. Said Wilson, "We want to throw a great party and we want to build – in whatever ways we can – a coalition of people whose enthusiasm will sort of run rampant and be infectious."

Paul Sturtz and David Wilson began discussing the idea for exhibiting films in the college town of Columbia, Mo. back in the fall of 1997. That led to the creation of a film society, which became a storefront cinema, which became a full-on film festival in 2004. In the decade that's followed, True/False has developed into a true gem on the festival circuit, with filmmakers, programmers and anyone else lucky enough to make their way there in awe of the many ways the festival has set itself apart from the others.

Looking back on its origins, Wilson and Sturtz said that one of their main goals already has a happy ending. They said it was impossible to imagine that they could motivate a Midwestern college town and the people that might come to that town to swarm in large numbers to see any documentary, much less a risky,non-traditional documentaries. But with True/False, they most certainly have.

Biggest Success

A moment during the parade that kicks off True/False. "I looked at the beaming faces of the documentary film industry who I most respect in the world," Wilson said. "It was pure elation for me that I had a hand in bringing this together."

Biggest Disappointment

“I feel like our lowlights always happen in the off season,” Wilson said, offering many horrifying examples. The worst? "All of venue art and equipment that we’d saved for years getting caught in a flood and then grown over by black mold in 2010."

Biggest Challenge

"The challenge that we are currently facing is how to maintain the momentum that was have," Sturtz said.  "It’s a huge challenge to continually reevaluate where we should grow and where we shouldn’t grow."

What's Next

Sturtz and Wilson are exploring ideas of how they can have a more year-round presence that supports filmmakers and "continue to help the films they love find their ways into the world."

The Survey
My Biggest Career Break...
Moving to kind and gentle Columbia, Missouri from the super-competitive Portland, Oregon.
Best Filmmaker Working Today...
Jarred Alterman, who made "Convento"
A Guilty Pleasure Movie...
"The Life Aquatic"
My First Job...
Delivering Pennysaver, a free advertising paper in Rockland County, New York
The age that Paul got his first job
Attended this year by Paul
The average amount that Paul travels for work each year
Paul has been to the Sundance Film Festival
The Survey
My Biggest Career Break...
Running Ragtag and True/False has allowed me to meet a number of great people all around the world. But I'll always be indebted to Eugene Hernandez who, after meeting in Telluride 2004, introduced me to about 1/2 of the indie film world the following week in Toronto and has helped T/F in a number of ways over the years.
Best Filmmaker Working Today...
This is an unanswerable question. That said, Miranda July is a true artist. Someone whose work will always surprise and intrigue me and present the world in a way I would never have imagined on my own.
A Guilty Pleasure Movie...
I don't believe in guilty pleasures. If I like something, it's because there's something worthwhile there and I'm never embarrassed to champion work that I love. But, really, "BASEketball" is way, way underrated.
My First Job...
Counting parts in a plumbing supply warehouse. It was hot and mind-numbing, but I'd work quickly and then sneak off to hide in a row of shower stalls and write stories. So, good training for a lot of work/life situations.
The age that David got his first job
Attended this year by David
The average amount that David travels for work each year
David has been to the Sundance Film Festival