If one is curious about the best in documentary filmmaking, there’s no better place to experience it each year than the True/False Film Fest, based in Columbia, Missouri. After last year’s edition was one of the final in-person festivals before the pandemic hit in full force, they are now returning a bit later this year, specifically from May 5-9, with a hybrid edition.
This year, there will be outdoor screenings in Columbia with four outdoor amphitheaters well as at a drive-in. Seven of the features will also screen virtually with a “Teleported” option, as noted with the TTF designations below. Featuring work by Theo Anthony, Jessica Beshir, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, and more, Check out the feature lineup below with a hat tip to Filmmaker Magazine, and see the shorts selections here.
All Light, Everywhere | Dir. Theo Anthony; 2021; 106 min (United States)
T/F alum Anthony (Rat Film, T/F 2017) continues his quest to destabilize the essay film, offering an unconventional history of surveillance, policing, and racial injustice.
Delphine’s Prayers | Dir. Rosine Mbakam; 2021; 90 min (Belgium)
Delphine, a Cameroonian transplant in Belgium, welcomes us into her messy, bright bedroom. There her compelling and heart-wrenching story forms the core of this revelatory collaborative portrait. TTF
Dirty Feathers | Dir. Carlos Alfonso Corral; 2021; 75 min (United States/Mexico)
With humor, grit, and grace, members of El Paso’s unhoused community band together to survive the streets in this poetic debut feature.
Faya Dayi | Dir. Jessica Beshir; 2021; 120 min (Ethiopia/United States/Qatar)
A euphoric excursion into the highlands of Harar, Ethiopia, where the flowering plant khat is chewed and traded as part of daily rituals and two boys dream of a better life.
From the Wild Sea | Dir. Robin Petré; 2021; 78 min (Denmark/Ireland)
In the briny air of the north Atlantic, marine animal rescue teams mediate the clash of humans and nature. Through a calm, dispassionate lens we witness the cleaning of sea birds, tonal honks of seals, mock whale rescues, and more. TTF
The Grocer’s Son, the Mayor, the Village and the World | Dir. Claire Simon; 2020; 110 min (France)
In this new work from our 2017 True Vision honoree, a digital evolution comes to the quaint French village of Lussas, where farming and filmmaking drive commerce and culture. TTF
Homeroom | Dir. Pete Nicks; 2021; 90 min (United States)
T/F stalwart Nicks completes his “Oakland Trilogy” with this journey into a high school classroom, shot during the tumultuous 2019/2020 school year.
Inside the Red Brick Wall | Dir. HK Documentary Filmmakers; 2020; 88 min (Hong Kong)
Inside the chaotic swirl of protests that erupted in Hong Kong in 2019, student activists face off with police to maintain their democratic freedom from mainland China.
No Kings | Dir. Emilia Mello; 2020; 85 min (Brazil)
This sensuous feature debut from Mello shares an intimate look at the vibrant Caiçara community along the secluded Brazilian coast, told through the eyes of an intrepid young girl and an anxious sea captain. TTF
Petit Samedi | Dir. Paloma Sermon-Daï; 2020; 75 min (Belgium)
First-time director Sermon-Daï tenderly shares the story of her brother’s addiction and their mother, who has reached the end of her rope.
Rock Bottom Riser | Dir. Fern Silva; 2021; 70 min (United States)
Experimental film veteran Silva makes his feature debut, playfully teasing out connections between humankind, geology, and the cosmos by way of the native Hawaiian population.
Sabaya | Dir. Hogir Hirori; 2021; 75 min. (Sweden)
In this real-world action film, a team of activists works to rescue Yazidi women and girls held captive in Daesh-controlled refugee camps.
Songs that Flood the River | Dir. German Adolfo Arango; 2021; 75 min. (Colombia)
Deep within the Colombian rainforest, Oneida sings traditional funeral songs (alabados) as a healing tool for her community, stricken by war and terror during the Boyajá massacre that took place in 2002. TTF
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) | Dir. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson; 2021; 120 min. (United States)
Exuberant, uplifting, and brimming with joy, this document of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival manages to be much more than a music film.
This Rain Will Never Stop | Dir. Alina Gorlova; 2020; 103 min. (Ukraine/Latvia/Germany/Qatar)
After fleeing Syria, Andriy Suleyman navigates dislocation and familial tragedy, not to mention another war in Ukraine, in this emotionally and visually arresting film. TTF
The Two Faces of a Bamiléké Woman | Dir. Rosine Mbakam; 2018; 76 min. (Cameroon)
True Vision honoree Mbakam returns home to Cameroon from Europe, along with her mother. There she explores a life that she might have had. TTF
Users | Dir. Natalia Almada; 2021; 103 min. (United States)
Elegant visuals and a dynamic score underpin this exploration of our relationship with technology, all informed by a mother’s perspective.