By Ray Pride

True/False Slates 2019

Columbia, Missouri — The True/False Film Fest is proud to announce its 2019 slate of 36 new feature films and 18 new short films. These films were selected from roughly 1,100 submissions and hundreds more scouted from festivals around the world. Unfolding from Feb. 28-March 3, 2019, in Columbia, Missouri, the festival highlights works demonstrating exemplary imagination and sensitivity as they explore the real world.

Four feature-length films will mark their world premieres at True/False, including ​The Hottest August​, a visionary work from director Brett Story (​The Prison in Twelve Landscapes​, T/F 2016), who traverses a sweltering New York City, exploring the anxieties of its denizens. Midnight in Paris​, the directorial feature debut from Roni Moore & James Blagden, joyously follows Flint Northern High School’s senior class of 2012 as it prepares for prom.​ ​Brazil-based filmmaker Maíra Bühler will present ​Let it Burn​, which offers tender portraiture of addicts housed in a converted hotel in São Paulo’s notorious Cracol​â​ndia neighborhood. In ​Over the Rainbow​, director Jeffrey Peixoto meets active members of the Church of Scientology in a mesmerizing, compassionate exploration of humanity’s attraction to radical religion. Additionally, Finding Frances​, the revelatory series finale to “Nathan For You,” comes to festivals for the first time in a theatrical cut. Following the screenings, star and director Nathan Fielder will present never-before-seen footage.

Eleven other films are launching their stateside tours at True/False, including ​Caballerango​, the patient exploration of a suicide outbreak and its aftermath in the Mexican countryside from debut feature director Juan Pablo González (“Las Nubes,” T/F 2018). Filmed from 1998 to 2001,

Olivier Meyrou’s ​Celebration​ captures both the delusion and the brilliance at work in the legendary fashion house of Yves Saint Laurent. Set in Matongé, Brussels, ​Chez Jolie Coiffure is Rosine Mbakam’s warmhearted residency in a Cameroonian immigrant hair-braiding salon where the conversation never ends. Québécois director Julien Elie will present ​Dark Suns​, a tour de force investigation into a spate of disappearances in Mexico. ​The Game​ is Marine de Contes’ enchanting study of the last generation of French wood pigeon hunters. In his tender testament ​Home, Sweet Home​, director ISE Shinichi chronicles 35 years of his niece’s life with her older brother, parents, and friends at an assisted-living facility. And lastly, Camila Freitas’ debut, ​Landless​, is a quietly enthralling portrait of the tireless work of land-reform activists in Brazil.

Returning to True/False after presenting his short “Disintegration 93-96” (T/F 2018) and participating in the festival’s Provocations program, Miko Revereza will screen his first feature, No data plan​, which breathes fresh air into the road movie, as Revereza travels across America wielding two phones—one personal, and the other for his immigration lawyer. A puckish look at therapy and coaching culture, ​‘Now something is slowly changing’​ is the striking debut of mint film office. ​Reason​, which won the top prize at IDFA, is Indian documentary legend Anand Patwardhan’s tenacious investigation of rising right-wing Hindu nationalism. Finally, the charming and insightful ​Treasure Island​ from Guillaume Brac, takes us on an odyssey in and around a water park in the Parisian suburbs.

The festival will also present a number of hits from the festival circuit. ​Knock Down the House​, directed by former Columbia resident Rachel Lears, follows four progressive female upstarts, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who ran against “establishment” Democratic candidates. Co-directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang, ​One Child Nation ​is an unflinching consideration of the legacy of China’s one-child policy. In ​APOLLO 11​, Todd Douglas Miller crafts an epic out of unspeakably vivid, never-before-seen NASA footage of man’s first journey to the moon. Another archival wonder, ​Amazing Grace​, brings us into the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church of Watts, where Aretha Franklin makes history with two legendary back-to-back performances. With ​American Factory​, Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar deliver a landmark story of globalization observing a Chinese auto glass manufacturer as it revives a shuttered Dayton, Ohio, plant.

True/False 2019 will carry on last year’s initiative to ​shine a brighter spotlight on short-form work, a large and vibrant segment of film that the theatrical marketplace woefully neglects​. The first screening of each shorts program, named for a beverage and its runtime, will be immediately followed by a Q(uench)+A(nswer), a reception featuring attending shorts filmmakers mingling with audiences while enjoying complimentary eponymous beverages.

The 2019 shorts program features the world premieres of Alison Nguyen’s beguiling, brilliantly assembled found footage work, ​“every dog has its day,”​ and Jessica Bardsley’s stunning autofiction, “​Goodbye Thelma​.” Other highlights launching stateside include Laura Henno’s “Djo,”​ Derek Howard’s ​”The Harvesters,”​ Sohrab Hura’s ​”The Lost Head and the Bird,”​ In​é​ Moldavsky’s ​”The Men Behind the Wall,”​ Deborah Stratman’s ​”Vever (for Barbara),”​ and Christin Turner’s ​”Vesuvius at Home​.​”

As part of an effort to become both more self-aware and transparent about representation in programming, True/False continues to develop demographic data tracking, sharing, and assessment. Of the 36 features selected for the 2019 festival, 44 percent are directed or co-directed by women and 64 percent are directed or co-directed by men. Of the 18 shorts, 50 percent are directed or co-directed by women and 56 percent are directed or co-directed by men. No directors reported a nonbinary identity. Twenty-five percent of the feature directors or co-directors and 50 percent of the shorts directors or co-directors self-identify as a person of color. The festival considers mindfulness and proactive conversation about increasing diversity and inclusion in all aspects of programming and community engagement to be of the utmost importance.

As previously announced, this year’s True Vision Award recipient is the Spanish-born, Mexico-based filmmaker Nuria Ibáñez Castañeda, whose newest work, ​A Wild Stream,​ will be played along with her earlier films. The True Vision Award is presented by Restoration Eye Care. And ​Midnight Traveler​, our True Life Fund Film, supports the filmmakers-subjects, the Fazili family. The True Life Fund is presented by The Crossing and funded in part by the Bertha Foundation. Neither/Nor, an annual repertory sidebar series, returns with a spotlight on Finnish filmmaker Pirjo Honkasalo and her ​Trilogy of the Sacred and the Satanic​ (​ ​Mysterion​, Tanjuska and the 7 Devils,​ ​Atman)​ ​. This year, the series is overseen by writer-programmer Pamela Cohn and presented with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

This year’s festival was programmed by Abby Sun, Amir George, Chris Boeckmann and Paul Sturtz.


Amazing Grace​ 2018; 87 min.
At peak stardom, Aretha Franklin goes back to her family’s gospel roots, live-recording at a Baptist church while backed by a famed community choir.

American Factory​ Dirs. Julia Reichert & Stephen Bognar; 2019; 115 min.
Dizzying, hilarious, and devastating, ​American Factory​ is a landmark story of globalization.

Apollo 11​ Dir. Todd Douglas Miller; 2019; 93 min.
Our miraculous first trip to the moon is conjured through 70mm footage finally uncovered from the NASA vaults. ​Presented by Veterans United Home Loans

Caballerango​ Dir. Juan Pablo González; 2018; 60 min.
A haunted look into the soul of a rural Mexican town in the wake of the death of a horse wrangler.

Celebration​ Dir. Olivier Meyrou; 2018; 73 min.
A disquieting peek behind the wardrobe of Yves Saint Laurent, the most distinguished couturier of the last century.

Chez Jolie Coiffure ​Dir. Rosine Mbakam; 2018; 70 min.
Conversations intertwine with hair-braiding at a Brussels hair salon, which serves as a safe haven for African refugees.

Chinese Portrait​ Dir. WANG Xiaoshuai; 2018; 79 min.
Over a decade, renowned director WANG ​Xiaoshuai ​records his country in upheaval.

Cold Case Hammarskjöld​ Dir. Mads Brügger; 2019; 123 min.
T​his engrossing gonzo film starts as a hell-bent investigation of the death of the U.N. secretary-general in 1961 then takes on long-lingering mysteries on the African continent.

The Commons​ Dirs. Suki Hawley & Michael Galinsky; 2019; 71 min.
An intrepid film crew takes us inside an intense battle over a Confederate monument on UNC-Chapel Hill’s public commons.

Dark Suns​ Dir. Julien Elie; 2018; 151 min.
A towering investigation into the decades of disappeared women in Mexico.

The Edge of Democracy​ Dir. Petra Costa; 2019; 120 min.
Petra Costa’s personal take on the coup that remade Brazil ignites a signal flare for those who live in so-called stable democracies.​ ​Presented by The Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy

Finding Frances​ Dir. Nathan Fielder; 2017; 84 min.
Television host Nathan Fielder attempts to help an eccentric Bill Gates impersonator reunite with his long-lost love.

The Game​ Dir. Marine de Contes; 2018; 53 min.
Deep in the forests of southwest France, cult-like aficionados anticipate—and set traps for—the arrival of their quarry.

The Grand Bizarre ​Dir. Jodie Mack; 2018; 61 min.
A colorful tour of the world’s great textile traditions and a celebration of the pattern language of human inventiveness.

Home, Sweet Home​ Dir. ISE Shinichi; 2018; 110 min.
A monumental achievement of long-term documentary filmmaking: 35 years in the life of Nao, whom doctors expected to die before she turned 20 years old. ​Presented by Boone Supported Living

The Hottest August​ Dir. Brett Story; 2019; 92 min.
Brett Story’s visionary look at New York City as it braces for an uncertain future.

Island of the Hungry Ghosts ​Dir. Gabrielle Brady; 2018; 98 min.
On far-off Christmas Island, therapist Poh Lin Lee counsels immigrants who are detained while millions of red crabs enjoy free rein during mating season.

Knock Down the House ​Dir. Rachel Lears; 2019; 85 min.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez headlines a group of insurgent politicians and tireless activists taking on The Establishment.

Landless ​Dir. Camila Freitas; 2019; 110 min.
Facing an uncaring legal labyrinth, rebellious farmers in rural Brazil commandeer corporate-owned land.

Let It Burn​ Dir. Maíra Bühler; 2019; 82 min.
A gritty observation of precarious romance, debauchery, and heartbreak between addicts living in a S​ã​o Paulo hotel.

The Magic Life of V ​Dir. Tonislav Hristov; 2019; 85 min.
Veera becomes the hero of her own story by using LARPing (live-action role-playing) to escape and transcend her difficult everyday life.

Midnight in Paris​ Dirs. James Blagden & Roni Moore; 2019; 75 min.
The intense anticipation of prom week lights up this warmhearted, sometimes cheeky look at the teenagers of Flint, Michigan.

Midnight Traveler​ Dir. Hassan Fazili; 2019; 87 min.
Armed only with cellphone cameras, Hassan Fazili and his family flee from the Taliban, capturing every step of their high-stakes search for a new home.

Mike Wallace is Here​ Dir. Avi Belkin; 2019; 86 min.
The epitome of the brash, merciless investigative reporter, Mike Wallace (“60 Minutes”) lived his life on air.

Mr. SOUL! ​Dirs. Melissa Haizlip & Sam Pollard; 2018; 115 min.
An electric exploration of “SOUL!”—the revolutionary unsung classic of American television that spotlighted soul legends and shattered conventions.

No data plan ​Dir. Miko Revereza; 2019; 70 min.
The American road movie is renewed by a director whose undocumented mom carries two phones, one solely for calls regarding immigration.

‘Now something is slowly changing’ ​Dir. mint film office; 2018; 105 min.
Spiritually adrift Dutch turn to therapy and coaches in this puckish and provocative look at self-help culture.

One Child Nation​ Dirs. Nanfu Wang & Jialing Zhang; 2019; 89 min.
Nanfu Wang uncovers her own revelatory history within China’s far-reaching one-child policy.

Our Time (Nuestro Tiempo)​ Dir. Carlos Reygadas; 2018; 177 min.
Maverick director Carlos Reygadas’ latest, filmed at his Mexican ranch, offers an audacious fiction about an open marriage that goes sour.

Over the Rainbow ​Dir. Jeffrey Peixoto; 2019; 71 min.
Director Jeffrey Peixoto meets active members of the Church of Scientology in a mesmerizing exploration of our attraction to radical religion.

Reason​ Dir. Anand Patwardhan; 2018; 235 min.
Legendary director Anand Patwardhan puts his life on the line in this tenacious, incisive response to the rise of Hindu nationalism.

Segunda Vez​ Dir. Dora García; 2018; 94 min.
This radical reimagining of the biopic re-enacts the “happenings” and “anti-happenings” of Argentinian psychoanalyst Oscar Masotta.

Treasure Island ​Dir. Guillaume Brac; 2018; 97 min.
Brimming with thrill-seeking discovery and nostalgia, this barmy delight captures all of the summer fun at a suburban Parisian water park.

Untitled Amazing Johnathan Documentary ​Dir. Ben Berman; 2019; 91 min.
A magician’s final tour triggers a twisty-turny, cat-and-mouse, hall-of-mirrors, inside-out, funhouse game between subject and filmmaker.

Up The Mountain​ Dir. ZHANG Yang; 2018; 126 min.
The charismatic painter Shen Jianhua’s remote mountain studio hosts a group of unconventional students, eager to learn more about his eye-popping, hyperreal approach to art and life.

A Wild Stream ​Dir. Nuria Ibáñez Castañeda; 2018; 72 min.

T​wo fishermen eking out a living on the Sea of Cortez ​form an​ ambiguously close relationship in this majestic work from the ​2019 True Vision Award recipient Nuria Ibáñez Castañeda​.


Black 14​ Dir. Darius Clark Monroe; 2018; 14 min.
An archival sociological study examining media coverage of a 1969 racial protest by members of the University of Wyoming football team.

The Changing Same​ Dirs. Michèle Stephenson & Joe Brewster; 2018; 21 min.
Every year in the Florida Panhandle, Lamar Wilson runs 13 miles retracing the terror of the 1934 lynching of Claude Neal.

Crannog​ Dir. Isa Rao; 2018; 15 min.
Alexis Fleming tends to all creatures great and small in a storybook sanctuary, an animal hospice two hours south of Glasgow.

Djo​ Dir. Laura Henno; 2018; 12 min.
A man named Smogi professes his profound love for a wild dog.

Dramatic and Mild​ Dir. Nastia Korkia; 2018; 6 min.
After waiting in a long line to get into the the exhibition of a Kandinsky painting that has finally been returned to Moscow, would-be viewers are surprised by a peculiar security guard.

Due​ Dir. Riccardo Giacconi; 2017; 17 min.
A nightmarish exploration of Milano Two, a “ghetto for the rich” created by disgraced former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as an early experiment in mind control.

every dog has its day​ Dir. Alison Nguyen; 2019; 6 min.
Cult-produced media and religious iconography crash in this heterogenous essay film.

Fainting Spells​ Dir. Sky Hopinka; 2018; 11 min.
The ethnopoetic journey of an imagined myth for the Indian Pipe Plant used by the Ho-Chunk to revive those who have fainted.

Ghosts of Sugar Land​ Dir. Bassam Tariq, 2019; 21 min.
A group of Southeast Asian Muslim friends from Sugar Land, Texas, outside of Houston, gets rocked by a young convert named Mark.

Goodbye Thelma​ Dir. Jessica Bardsley, 2019; 14 min.
A chilling stunner about the fear of men and the outdoors, transforming the 1991 movie ​Thelma & Louise​ for its own purposes.

The Harvesters​ Dir. Derek Howard; 2018; 6 min.
Three Maasi men from Kenya show us how to stage and harvest honey from a tall tree in this collaborative ethnography.

I Signed the Petition​ Dir. Mahdi Fleifel; 2018; 10 min.
After agonizing over his act of signing a petition asking Radiohead not to play in Tel Aviv in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement against Israel, the director calls an acerbic and honest friend for advice.

Lasting Marks​ Dir. Charlie Lyne, 2018; 14 min.
A group of gay men and their consensual acts in an abandoned watch tower become a cause célèbre in 1980s England.

The Lost Head and the Bird​ Dir. Sohrab Hura; 2018; 10 min.
Celebrated photographer Sohrab Hura combines an uncanny short story with an ingeniously paced edit of his own photographs and salvaged images of India’s rising violence.

The Men Behind the Wall ​Dir. In​é​s Moldavsky; 2018; 28 min.
A surprising series of portraits of Palestinian men from an Israeli director who found her subjects through Tinder.

Vesuvius at Home​ Dir. Christin Turner; 2019; 14 min.
A fantastical spiral of time from the filmmaker’s re-enactment of a false Pompeii, from her 25-year fascination.

Vever (for Barbara)​ Dir. Deborah Stratman; 2018; 12 min.
Pioneering woman filmmaker Maya Deren’s voice, texts, and thoughts merge with an unfinished film from Barbara Hammer, through the hand of Deborah Stratman.

Walled/Unwalled​ Dir. Lawrence Abu Hamdan; 2018; 20 min.
A piercing performance that takes down the impenetrability of walls and borders through sound.

Ragtag Film Society is a 501(c)3 that strives to champion independent film and media art and to serve film communities both locally and globally.

The 16th True/False Film Fest, a project of Ragtag Film Society, will take place Feb. 28-March 3, 2019, in downtown Columbia, Missouri. For more information, please visit ​​

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“Well, actually, of that whole group that I call the post-60s anti-authority auteurs, a lot of them came from television. Peckinpah’s the only one whose television work represents his feature work. I mean, like the only one. Mark Rydell can direct a really good episode of ‘Gunsmoke’ and Michael Ritchie can direct a really good episode of ‘The Big Valley,’ but they don’t necessarily look like The Candidate. But Peckinpah’s stuff, even the scripts he wrote that he didn’t even direct, have a Peckinpah feel – the way I think there’s a Corbucci West – suggest a Peckinpah West. That even in his random episodes that he wrote for ‘Gunsmoke’ – it’s right there.”
~ Quentin Tarantino

“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima