True/False Day 3 – Sunday

I recently discovered as Channel 366 on DirecTV. It’s a cool thing. The station launched August 2005 and is 30% programmed by viewers. Josh Soskin and Yogi Graham were on hand for a presentation about this new channel. Check out their website for how to get your short doc on Current.

T/F also announced a new partnership with Current in this email from fest co-director David Wilson:

    We’re pretty excited this morning to be announcing a “partnership” (that’s what the biz folks call these things) between and True/False. If you don’t know about Current (and it’s not yet available in mid-Missouri), it’s a brand new cable network dedicated to providing programming made by the people who watch. That’s right, they want to close that feedback loop between you and the TV and offer up a more democratic (small “d”) approach to television production. What this means in practice is that True/False will be helping to scout out exciting short documentary films for airing on Current. And we’ll be working with filmmakers, both local and visiting, to produce specific “content” (another one of those media buzz words) for Current. We’re excited because we think this means more opportunity for audiences to see indie docs, and more opportunity for Missouri filmmakers to find an outlet for their work.

Then I stuck around the Artisan for Beyond the Music: Making Sense of Music or…how to make a music documentary that doesn’t suck (another David Wilson-ism). The panelists raised many important issues including one of my faves, how do you get your music film marketed as a documentary and not ghettoized into the music video section of both video stores and journalists minds. Unfortunately, there’s no real answer, and journalists will continue to say things like, “if you like XX band, you’ll love XX movie.” The least this writer can do it be more aware of doing it myself.

During a brief moment of downtime Paul (far right) took Rick and I on a secret tour. Can you guess where we are?

I was more than pleased to find out the closing night film, Homemade Hillbilly Jam, a film I rep, was sold out. 1200 seats. Whoa. People started filing in around 5:30 for a delicious Ozarkian feast.

clsing dinner
The Missouri Theatre starts to fill up with hungry filmgoers.

The place quickly filled up and the audience was primed to see the film, which is set in the Missouri Ozark Mountains. People laughed and applauded throughout the film. Director/writer Rick Minnich and co-writer/editor Matt Sweetwood participated in a Q&A after the film while HHJ featured band Big Smith set up their gear to play a 90 minute set of toe-tapping hillbilly music for the enthusiastic crowd. The music is infectious and it was a real treat to see the band perform. During the question and answer, Jay, who plays the washboard in Big Smith, interupted to say, “I’ve been watching documentaries all these years and thinking that the people in them were real intertesing, it’s incredible to think that people are thinking the same thing about us.” Then Big Smith proceeded to bring down the house.

A young cowboy enjoys Big Smith at the closing night concert.

David Wilson and Paul Sturtz also operate the Ragtag Cinemacafe year round showing independent and documentary films. The closing night volunteer party that every filmmaker and visiting guest seemed to have crashed (including myself) was held at the future home of the Ragtag. What is now the huge empty space of an ex-historic soda bottling plant will be a 2 theatre complex with video store and Uprise Bakery and rumor has it the arthouse will be showing films by January. It was a great night with a DJ spinning and about 100 pizzas delivered from local hotspot Shakespeare’s Pizza. I think I finally made it back to my hotel around 2:30 and with a 6 am flight outa there, by the time I packed and settled down I had time for an hour of sleep before I had to head for the airport.

It was a great weekend. True/False is a festival to watch. It is not pretentious. It doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is, an excellent showcase of (mostly) documentary films that brings filmmakers from all over the world to share in the experience. Hiding premieres in untitled slots in the program, showing films that mean something, bringing music into the fray, and challenging what audiences find both true and false about documentary films and filmmaking makes for an extraordinarily refreshing festival. And one I hope to be a part of again and again.

One Response to “True/False Day 3 – Sunday”

  1. Yogi Graham Says:

    Hi Sarah –
    Current is actually 30% viewer contributed. Great to see you at T/F!