Dirty Truths: Exploring “messy cinema” with the True/False Film Fest

Talk Monday 17 November 2014, 7:00 PM

Over the past 11 years, the True/False Film Fest (Columbia, Missouri) has caused a stir within the international documentary world. Embracing bold, cinematic nonfiction filmmaking and celebrating films that exist in between fiction and nonfiction, festival founders David Wilson and Paul Sturtz aim to present a programme that challenges viewers to think critically about both the content of the films and their own assumptions. They also put on the best (and only) documentary parade in the world.

Bringing together an illustrious panel of past True/False filmmakers, we will thrust our hands in the muck and get a little dirty as we debate the complexities of nonfiction and imagine a messier future. Every year, part of the selection explores films that cross borders, break the existing rules and push the form forward. This so-called “messy cinema” experiments with re-enactments, highlights complicated filmmaker/protagonist relationships and challenges assumptions about ‘truth’.

David Wilson, together with Paul Sturtz, founded the Ragtag Film Society in 1998, the Ragtag Cinema in 2000, and the True/False Film Fest in 2004, where they continue to serve as Co-Conspirators. As director of True/False, David has been invited to festivals around the world to serve as a panelist, moderator and juror, including Sundance, The Toronto Film Festival and CPH:DOX. David premiered his first feature, We Always Lie to Strangers (directed with AJ Schnack), at SXSW in 2013, where they received the Best Directing prize.​


Sarah GavronSarah Gavron‘s feature debut Brick Lane (2008) earned her a BAFTA nomination for The Carl Foreman Award and the New Talent Award at the London Film Festival. Prior to this her first full length drama, This Little Life, for BBC TV won her the (TV) BAFTA for Best New Director, the Royal TV Society and Women in Film and TV Award for Best Newcomer. Sarah was selected as one of Variety’s 10 directors to watch at the Sundance International Film Festival. Her 2013 documentary Village at the End of the World was shown at True/False.


Kevin MacdonaldKevin Macdonald‘s first feature, One Day in September, won an Oscar for Best Documentary in 2000. Many critically acclaimed films followed, such as Touching the Void, The Last King of Scotland or Life in a Day. Awards include a BAFTA for Best British Film and the Evening Standard Award for Best British Film, and it is the highest grossing British documentary in UK box office history.


Beadie FinziBeadie Finzi is one of the founding directors of BRITDOC, a nonprofit film foundation based in London and supporting independent filmmakers globally. She produced Only When I Dance (2009), Unknown White Male (2005) and The Rough Guide to Choreography (2004). Beadie has attended True/False for many years.