Feels Good Man

Matt Furie appears in Feels Good Man, one of the films that will be shown at this year's True/False.

There are about 50 features and shorts playing at this year's True/False Film Fest, but watching that many movies over three days might not be feasible for the average festival-goer. As a six-year member of the True/False screening committee, Murray Center for Documentary Journalism Director Stacey Woelfel estimates he's watched about 300 documentaries in preparation for the festival. Some were great, he says — others not so much.

Woelfel has attended True/False nearly every year since its inception. He has some recommendations for the 2020 festival based on some of last year's most popular programs.

If you liked "Knock Down the House"...

There might not be an exact match for the kind of character-driven political tale told at last year's fest, but try this on for size: Feels Good ManIt's the story of the internet's meme frog, Pepe, how the green cartoon came to be a symbol for the alt right movement, and how Pepe's creator is attempting to reclaim his character. Pepe and congresswomen don't exactly line up, but Woelfel says Feels Good Man is a similar sort of political commentary told through a compelling character.

If you liked "Mike Wallace Is Here"...


A film still from Collective.

You might like another journalism film. Give Collective a try. It follows a group of journalists as they look into a fatal fire at a nightclub in Bucharest, Romania. Woelfel flagged it as another that could come up next awards season.

"I've described it as Spotlight meets Chernobyl, where you've got crusading reporters and the Eastern Bloc government trying to hold on in the face of the examination," Woelfel says.

If you liked "American Factory"...

boys state

A still from Boys State

Get a ticket to Boys State. It's the story of a group of Texas teens at the week-long boys state convention, where they learn about civic processes and compete to become Texas Boys State governor. American Factory went on to win this year's Best Documentary Feature award at the Oscars, and Woelfel says Boys State could go on to be an Oscar nominee as well. It's already gotten some award recognition, taking home the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival this year.

If you're a True/False first-timer...

Give the shorts a try. This year, there are four shorts programs playing at the festival, and each one contains four to five mini movies shown back to back. Read: you could get five for the price of one. 

"(The shorts) are programmed, for a reason, together," Woelfel says. "They're meant to complement each other. ... If you don't like one, it's short, it's going to end and you'll see the next one." 

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