How I caught the True/False bug

True/False is in town. Downtown CoMo (Columbia, Mo., for those who don’t know) is literally buzzing – costumed cinephiles, micro brewed alcohol, lots and lots of hipsters. Having an internationally acclaimed documentary film festival is a huge point of pride for this college town, and it’s a culture in which I want desperately to be included.

This year, I was lucky enough to inherit a free ticket from a friend of mine. Saturday morning, I dragged my exhausted body out of bed and trudged to Jesse Hall. I walked into the auditorium to meet my friend Caroline, who runs a great blog, and was greeted by bluegrass jazz.

Yes Ma'am string band from New Orleans, La., performing at Jesse Hall
Yes Ma’am string band from New Orleans, La., performing at Jesse Auditorium

If you don’t know me, you should know that I absolutely loved to go places and be greeted by bluegrass jazz – it’s electric and foot stomping and so much fun. I found my friend Caroline, sat down, Instagrammed a picture of the band, Yes Ma’am, and snuggled into my seat to wait for the show.

I had the pleasure of watching “No,” a fictional documentary about the Chilean referendum to vote President Pinochet out of office. It was directed by Pablo Larrain and starred Gael García Bernal. Producer Daniel Dreifuss, Hickman graudate, was present for the question and answer portion after the film.

The kicker about “No” is not in the subtle wit of the script, Bernal’s gorgeous eyes (but really) or the moving revolution. It’s the art behind the movie itself. The entire film was shot in U-matic video stock from the 80s rather than in HD. Dreifuss informed the audience that 25 to 30 percent of the film is original footage from the referendum itself. Many people who were involved in the original actions played themselves of Larrain’s film. Dreifuss explained the motivation for shooting on old, not-HD footage as wanting the film the be “seamless.” I can tell you – it worked. I wasn’t aware until I was told that there was archive footage cut into the movie at all.I emerged from watching the film feeling as if I had just watched a film from 1986, not one from 2012.

Producer Daniel Dreifuss at the post-film Q&A at Jesse Auditorium
Producer Daniel Dreifuss at the post-film Q&A at Jesse Auditorium

The thought put into the method of how film is made, the mixing in historical context, the voicing of an underrepresented revolution: it’s what makes me love the movies. Laughing along with an entire auditorium of people, feeling the stranger beside me suck in her breath at an especially moving scene: the solidarity of over 300 hearts and minds and pairs of eyes.

True/False, 2014? I can’t wait for you to get here.

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