- Responding to Roger Ebert’s reviews
- T/F Film Fest
- About Vox
By Chris Roll
Both levels of The Blue Note’s auditorium were packed to “standing room only” at the True/False Fest’s Gimme Truth! game show event, which challenges three judges, along with the audience, to determine if ten short films are “true” or “false.”
Judges included The Ambassador director Mads Brügger, Detropia co-director Heidi Ewing and Only the Young producer Derek Waters. Ewing won decisively with 800 points, as opposed to Brügger’s 400 and Waters’ dismal 100.
The boisterous Johnny St. John (a.k.a. Jonathan Gotsick in real life) hosted the event for his fifth consecutive year, spouting off witty zingers at every turn and even singing Gimme Truth’s theme song at the end of the event. He said after the show that he met True/False co-founder David Wilson while working on the semi-documentary film American Shopper (released in 2007), and they soon became friends, which led to him taking on the role of host for the event.
“It’s a really supportive crowd, and it’s an innovative format for a show. There is a little bit of everything for everyone,” St. John says.
Short films included: Goy Boy, directed by Sara Neitzert; Risk: The Two Year Game, directed by MU student Adam Snir; An Appetite for Beauty, directed by Sky Robinson; Jelly Rain, directed by Florian; Going Nuts, directed by Maria Brenny; Bob Koppman, directed by Michael Shockey; When Lightning Strikes, directed by Danielle Mousley; Hantis, directed by Connor Hickox; Oh Snap, directed by Michelle Daugharthy; and Modern Hunters, directed by Sasha Goodnow. Of the ten, six were false, though it was sometimes hard to discern which was which until the big reveal.
“You want to skirt the line, to make your film as believable as possible,” Snir says. His own film, which told the tale of a two-year-long game of Risk, was entirely fabricated.
Goodnow’s Modern Hunters, an obviously false but wickedly funny short about deer hunters who stalk their prey in drag, was judged to be the best film at the end of the event. She won a trophy handcrafted by artist Michael Marcum, a Lux pass to next year’s True/False Film Fest, a $150 cash prize, $2,500 worth of archival footage and other items from Footage Firm, a RED One MX camera package and a four-hour color grading session from Chimeric. Prizes were given for second and third place, as well.
Also shown were two entries in Waters’ Drunk History series, which entails an intoxicated person rambling about some piece of history. One film told the story of Nikola Tesla (portrayed by John C. Reilly) and his rivalry with Thomas Edison (Crispin Glover). Next was the story of Frederick Douglass, as portrayed by Don Cheadle, with Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel as Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln.
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