By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

True/False Film Fest Awards Claire Simon Its True Vision Award

[PR] The True/False Film Fest is proud to announce that Claire Simon will receive this year’s True Vision Award in honor of her achievement in and contribution to the field of nonfiction filmmaking.

True Vision is the only award given out at the fest. Simon is the 14th recipient of this honor. Last year, the award was given to Iranian director Mehrdad Oskouei. Other winners of the True Vision Award include Laura Poitras (2010), James Marsh (2011), and Adam Curtis (2015).

Simon will be appearing at the fest with her newest film, The Graduation, as well as a selection of her previous work. The Graduation observes a team of judges interviewing prospective candidates to La Fémis, France’s most prestigious film school. A former instructor at the school, Simon gained unguarded access to heated behind-the-scenes debates, which she captures with characteristic grace and insight.

Of The Graduation, True/False senior programmer Chris Boeckmann says, “Claire tends to focus on small-scale stories, but they invariably resonate in grand ways. She is both attuned to the poetry of everyday gestures and the large societal forces that shape our behavior.”

Simon, a French director born in London who began as an editor, will be making her first appearance at True/False. She has made a dozen features in a 30-year career playing at the line between documentary and fiction.

In her startling 1992 breakthrough, Récréations (also featured at T/F), Simon embeds with a class of young children. Her camera studies their dynamics during recess, the only time of the day they exert autonomy. Simon finds genuine drama here plus some primal truths.

The idiosyncratic path Simon has followed since Récréations is full of unpredictable, exhilarating turns.

In Coûte que Coûte (1995), Simon rooted the cutthroat capitalist world in the struggle of a man trying to keep a catering business afloat. Simon has also mined her own life: her daughter’s love travails in 800 km de différence / Romance (2001) as well as a friend reflecting back on her life in the ambling masterpiece Mimi (2002), also playing at T/F. Constructed from seven years of real-life dialogue collected by Simon, God’s Offices (2008) features celebrated actors as family-planning counselors.

The True/False Film Fest will take place March 2-5 in downtown Columbia, Missouri. For more information, please visit truefalse.org.

The award is given with support from Restoration Eyecare. The award is designed and cast in bronze by local Mid-Missouri artist Larry Young.

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“TIFF doesn’t make attendance numbers for its Lightbox screenings publicly available, so it’s difficult to gauge exactly how many filmgoers the Lightbox is attracting (or how much money it’s bringing in). But the King Street West venue hasn’t become a significant draw for film enthusiasts. The Lightbox’s attendance has plunged – 49,000 fewer visitors last year, a drop of 27 per cent, according to figures recently reported in the Toronto Star. Its gallery space – designed to showcase the visions of cinema’s most iconic filmmakers – saw most of its exhibitions staff quietly axed this past fall. And its marketing barely escapes the Lightbox’s walls. Unless you are a TIFF member or one of the city’s most avid filmgoers, you could walk by the Lightbox and remain blissfully unaware of a single thing that goes on inside. TIFF “still has a world-class brand,” said Barry Avrich, a filmmaker and former board member, “but it’s going to take some fresh vision from retail, consumer programming and marketing experts, given how the lines have become intensely blurred when it comes to how people watch film. They will have to experiment with programming to find the right blend of function and relevance.”
~ Globe & Mail Epic On State of Toronto Int’l (paywalled)

“I’m 87 years old… I only eat so I can smoke and stay alive… The only fear I have is how long consciousness is gonna hang on after my body goes. I just hope there’s nothing. Like there was before I was born. I’m not really into religion, they’re all macrocosms of the ego. When man began to think he was a separate person with a separate soul, it created a violent situation.

“The void, the concept of nothingness, is terrifying to most people on the planet. And I get anxiety attacks myself. I know the fear of that void. You have to learn to die before you die. You give up, surrender to the void, to nothingness.

“Anybody else you’ve interviewed bring these things up? Hang on, I gotta take this call… Hey, brother. That’s great, man. Yeah, I’m being interviewed… We’re talking about nothing. I’ve got him well-steeped in nothing right now. He’s stopped asking questions.”
~ Harry Dean Stanton