After a 24-hour whirlwind food tour of St. Louis (frozen custard at Ted Drewes, gooey butter cakes at the Missouri Baking Company, toasted ravioli and the STL fave a Slinger at Courtesy Diner and the perfunctory search for real St. Louis ribs) and a visit with my guys from Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? I headed off to Columbia, MO for the 4th Annual True/False Film Festival. The fest isnâ€™t joking around when they say they donâ€™t tell people how far out they are. Iâ€™ll tell you. Theyâ€™re a 2-hour drive from the St. Louis airport and a 3-hour drive from Kansas City. Itâ€™s not as bad as it sounds.
The festival kicks off Thursday, but doesnâ€™t really heat up until Friday. Overall I thought the programming this year was pretty great. Movies Iâ€™d missed on the circuit, new stuff and what are becoming their famous non-premieres. I canâ€™t talk about those. And I canâ€™t really remember what I can talk about or not.
Highlights for me include the short claymated doc about Swedish graffiti girls, Blue Karma Tiger, David Wilson watching Night Mail with live music from Gutbucket, daily breakfast at the Main Squeeze, a spirited panel â€œThe Shock of the Newâ€ (see Docs That Inspire â€“ Joel transcribed some of it!), and the best (only) parade Iâ€™ve seen at a film festival.
And now a moment to talk about audiences in Columbiaâ€¦ They rock my socks! Standing ovations (The Devil Came on Horseback played to a packed house and everyone rose to their feet to salute Annie Sundberg), great question and answers (I thought David Kohn might upset the audience with his loose cursing, but they didnâ€™t care), town pride (best place to see a film shot in Columbia!), love them! When Paul Sturtz calls it paradise this might be part of what heâ€™s talking about. 2006 was my first T/F and the audiences came out for the big movies. We were thrilled that Homemade Hillbilly Jam was sold out in the 1200 seat Missouri Theatre. But this year, everything was sold out. 10:00 am screenings were full and industry is so incredibly outnumbered itâ€™s like going to a real movie. I really get swept up in it and I think itâ€™s so important to both the festival and just plain ole movie going experience.
I had a great time and despite the fact that I didnâ€™t realize that Boocheâ€™s was world famous until Sunday (weâ€™re closed, see you in church) when you canâ€™t get a burger because like many Columbia businesses theyâ€™re not open, this festival will be a permanent date on my schedule for years to come. They treat filmmakers great, itâ€™s got that right camp vibe and the festival co-conspirators David Wilson and Paul Sturtz give better intros for films than I have ever heard. Iâ€™m already looking forward to 2008 and itâ€™s not just so I can finally get that Boocheâ€™s burger (the malt is supposed to be pretty good too).
I feel like Iâ€™ve been away from home more than Iâ€™ve been home lately. Iâ€™ll be hitting the BBQ in Austin starting Sunday. Me and everyone else will be blogging from SXSW. Good movies abound!
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