I spent 40+ hours over 12 days photographing T/F preparations and parts of the actual festival. Ultimately, I didn’t photograph nearly half of what I wanted to.
I didn’t make it to any of the panels, workshops or classes; nor did I make it to events like Campfire Stories, the True Life Run or the popular Comedy Night and Gimme Truth. I also missed out on photographing installations at Jesse Hall and the Globe and Forrest theaters. So what did I do? Scroll down to see a photo diary from my weekend, then follow the links at the bottom of the post to visit our Facebook page featuring extended photo galleries from each day of the festival.
(Zac also shared his experiences through several diary entries in which he focuses mainly on film and music reviews. Please check them out if you haven’t yet. I found his weekend diary very informative and it will help me decide which remaining films to see, either at Ragtag or when they are for rent at 9th Street Video.)
Now for my recap!
I was able to catch part of the set up at The Blue Note as they prepared for the first film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry to be shown there that evening. Set up crews hung barnacles on the walls and suspended colorful light boxes above the screen and on the walls on each side of the stage.
At 6:00 I attended The Jubilee at the Missouri Theater. I really thought more people would be dressed up beyond cocktail attire and a Mardi Gras-type mask. I’ve seen photos in the past of some outrageous outfits and costumes, but maybe I was only seeing a small percentage of those who go all out and dress up. I took the liberty to dress for the occassion and rented a fancy gown at Maude Vintage. I even donned a mask similar to the woman’s below (sans feathers) and was still able to successfully take photos. I felt a little ridiculous all dressed up while working, but I had fun. Too bad I didn’t think about asking someone to take my photo.
Later that evening I attended a bit of the Buskers Showcase at Cafe Berlin. I was only able to catch Bramble’s performance. I remember watching them play outside the Box Office last year when waiting in line for tickets and was glad to see they were back again this year. Little did I know I would ending up photographing them (and Les Trois Coups) several times throughout the weekend.
After lunch I started out by visiting The Portal. Apparently this secret little alleyway is open each year during T/F but this was the first year I knew about it and I wanted to see Andrew Oesch’s installation. I’m not sure what he used on the bricks, but it almost looked like layers of aged masking tape. It wasn’t, but that’s what it looked like to me.
After checking that out, I took my husband to the Box Office to see it in person. He’d already seen lots of my behind-the-scenes photos of it through the design/build/decorate process but not the completed space. After checking out the box office we wandered around, people watched, and then decided we needed a beer and snack. We wanted to see Detropia which was showing at The Picture House at 8 p.m. With some time to kill before the March March Parade, we stopped by The Picture House to check out the venue which featured a great installation of over 500 video portraits of fellow mid-Missourians.
A little after 5pm we started walking toward the Courthouse for the start of the parade but made a pit stop at the corner of 9th and Broadway to watch a bit of Les Trois Coups perform. They were a very theatrical and entertaining group of French musicians who hardly said a word I could understand, but still made me smile from ear to ear.
The March March parade was probably the most visually entertaining event I photographed. This annual march through the heart of downtown is well covered by photographers and videographers, but believe it or not this was the first time I actually documented it. I had a hard time deciding which direction to point my camera, as there was so much going on around me. Despite the chaos, I think I caught a good sampling of the action. Again, you can see more by following the links at the bottom of this post.
I even managed to find festival co-founder Paul Sturtz admiring the crowd coming down 9th Street toward the Missouri Theater.
The photo below is from the parade but I wanted to take this time to mention one of the features of the fest: the Bike Spa offered by PedNet’s Youth Bike Club. Set up in front of the Missouri Theater, the bike spa was a place for festival goers to leave their bikes for a light tune-up while they took in a film. For a small donation, the youth would wash the frame, air up the tires and clean and lube the chain. Also set up in front of the the theater was a bike valet and bike share station. The bike share was a new feature this year. I don’t have any official feedback on how successful it was (I suspect the chilly weather may have discouraged some people from pedaling around) but I was glad to see festival attendees taking advantage of the service to get from venue to venue.
After the parade it was time for more food and beverages, then off to “Q” for the first screening of Detropia. Below, co-directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady stand on stage with festival co-founder David Wilson while speaking to the audience before the screening.
After the film I had ambitions to photograph the @ction Party, and even made it in the door and near the open dance floor, but after 30 minutes I had to throw in the towel. I know, I’m lame. It was only 10:30 and the party had just started, but with two more days of photographing and film watching ahead of me, I was ready to call it a night.
I woke up Saturday morning with the intention of photographing the True Life Run, but could not get out of bed. As much as I wanted to ignore my tiredness, my body and mind had other plans, so I slept in. By the time I got down on the street (I live in an apartment downtown, so I can walk right out the door and be at the festival) it was nearly lunch time. I wanted to check out the Forrest and Globe theaters but both were showing films. I ended up walking past the Box Office after coming from the Globe Theater and heard live music coming from inside. Turns out I stumbled upon some video recording sessions for some of the buskers. I don’t have a lot of details, even after asking for more info, but from what I understand it was part of a T/F project and the videos (or films—I don’t know what to call them) will be released in a couple of months. That is all I know. I ended up photographing three of the six or seven bands they recorded. I’m looking forward to seeing/listening to the final cuts.
After the busking sessions I decided I needed to eat. I did a lot of aimless wandering after that, trying to figure out where to go to next, if I should “Q” for a film or try to catch a panel or workshop. I tried finding artist Jesse Graves or any of the local students who were supposed to be out decorating the sidewalks with mud stencil art. Instead of finding them in action, all I could find was their finished work, as seen below.
Parked just a few feet away from that mud stencil was Kyle Durrie’s awesome mobile letterpress studio. Kyle is a letterpress printer from Oregon who converted a bread truck into a mobile letterpress shop and hit the road in June 2011 to spread her passion for printmaking. It’s really an amazing space that she has created and I was so glad that I happened upon her open studio hours at the festival. For a donation you could print your own T/F souvenir poster. I photographed someone else trying it out that day, but returned Sunday to make my own. It was really fun!
After wandering most of the afternoon without a plan, my husband and I decided to “Q” for two films that night. Up first was Victor Kossakovsky’s ¡Vivan las Antipodas! showing at the Missouri Theater. I admit, I forgot that Mr. Kossakovsky was the 2012 True Vision Award receipient, so it was a nice surprise to be in the audience when he was presented with the award. The bronze statue, seen below, was created by nationally known Columbia artist Larry Young and was donated to the festival.
Out of the three films I saw all weekend (yes, only three!) I enjoyed ¡Vivan las Antipodas! the most, simply for the stunning visuals, unique rotating camera work and digital editing. I did a Google search and found this image that shows one of the scenes from the film, only achievable in post-production as it juxtaposes two places on earth (antipodes) that are diametrically opposite of each other. It was a really neat film showing the eerie similarities and stark contrasts of four pairs of antipodes.
After ¡Vivan las Antipodas! our plan was to rush directly to the Globe Theater to get a “Q” number for The Imposter showing at 8:30 p.m. In a last minute decision we opted to stay at the Missouri Theater to listen to Mr. Kossakovsky speak following his film. Then, the plan was to walk back to our apartment, rest for a bit and head back out for nighttime music at the Busker Showcase or Mojo’s A-Go-Go. Sadly, neither happened for me. (Zac, on the other hand, made it to MoJo’s and you can read his music reviews HERE).
My husband went to see Comic-Con Episode IV at the Blue Note with a friend at 12:30 so I stayed in with our son (we only had child care for two of the four days of the fest which was part of our reason for seeing so few films, in addition to trying to fit everything else in). I ended up spending the late afternoon and early evening doing some street and venue photography before the last films.
I also ended up seeing a third film at 6 p.m., Secret Screening Purple, which I’m not allowed to discuss since that’s the purpose of a secret screening. Instead, I will show you a photo of Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship?, the band that played before the secret screening.
The last and probably most enjoyable thing I photographed all weekend was the Buskers Last Stand held in the lobby of the Missouri Theater. It was the very last event of the festival and a wonderful way to end the weekend. Since I’m petite (5’1″ for those who don’t know me in person) I was able to use my size to my advantage and squeeze in really close to the bands. My favorite part was when members from all of the bands gathered for some impromptu jamming and singing. Several musicians took turns standing on a chair, singing or playing their hearts out. The vibe in the room was awesome and everyone appeared to really be enjoying themselves. I know I did.
And, look, here’s Paul celebrating the end of another wonderful True/False Film Festival! It was so glad to see him living in the moment, laughing and taking in the sights and sounds of what he helped start nine years ago.
To co-founders Paul and David, all of the volunteers, and everyone else who contributes to making this festival a reality year-after-year, all I can simply say is, “THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!”
If you still can’t get enough of T/F, follow these links to view more on our Facebook page!