The ninth edition of Columbia MO’s innovative and fun documentary festival, True/False, begins next Thursday, March 1 and runs through the weekend. Sadly, I won’t be attending this year as I have the past couple of years, but I wanted to offer a quick rundown of some of the films in the always well-curated festival’s lineup.
In addition to a packed schedule of panels, events, and concerts, T/F screens nearly forty features over the course of its four days. Of these, there are seven “Secret Screenings” which are strictly hush-hush – films that will have their “official” premieres soon at festivals like SXSW and Tribeca, but which T/F organizers David Wilson and Paul Sturtz managed to include on the condition of secrecy, giving Columbia audiences the first look at a number of eagerly anticipated new films.
T/F audiences will also have the chance to see some of the best non-fiction from larger festivals, including a dozen films from Sundance, and others from Tribeca (BULLY), Toronto (COMIC-CON EPISODE IV, THE ISLAND PRESIDENT, and UNDEFEATED), and IDFA (GOING UP THE STAIRS, THE VANISHING SPRING LIGHT (pictured), and ¡VIVAN LAS ANTIPODAS!). The lineup also includes a couple of retrospective screenings which I would be keen to see, including Shirley Clarke’s 1962 faux doc THE CONNECTION and Victor Kossakovsky’s 1993 THE BELOVS.
Beyond these, the remaining ten films are all ones I’m interested in seeing at some point. Friendships are examined in Kahlil Hudson & Tyler Hughen’s LOW & CLEAR (also headed to SXSW) and Elizabeth Mims & Jason Tippet’s ONLY THE YOUNG (pictured), while young romance figures in both Wojciech Staron’s coming-of-ager ARGENTINIAN LESSON and Alessandro Comodin’s SUMMER OF GIACOMO.
Other films are focused on place, crafting intimate, impressionistic portraits of Europe at night in Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s ABENDLAND; a small Mexican village in Jose Álvarez’s CANÍCULA; an Oakland hospital ward in Peter Nick’s THE WAITING ROOM; and a Pakistani orphanage in Omar Mullick and Bassam Tariq’s work-in-progress, THESE BIRDS WALK (pictured). Place also figures for the final two films, though they too serve as portraiture: David Osit’s BUILDING BABEL, about the man trying to build the so-called “Ground Zero mosque” and Angad Bhalla’s HERMAN’S HOUSE, on the unique friendship and creative partnership forged between an incarcerated former Black Panther and a young artist.