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The "Tunnel" has returned outside across from Chipotle and Starbucks on Ninth Street for True/False.

Julia Hansen/Senior Staff Photographer

True/False art ‘sparks an interaction’

A diverse group of artists will include this year’s theme of alchemy into their work around Columbia.

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True/False Film Fest originally started as a showcase for documentaries, but it has evolved to include other aspects of the arts, such as music and art installations. This weekend the streets of Columbia will be transformed into a giant art gallery, displaying the work of artists from across the world with different backgrounds. Displaying approximately 40 visual artists’ work annually, True/False will host a wide array of artwork to be seen in various locations across Columbia.

The community can expect to see a diverse artist lineup this weekend. Some are veterans who have worked with the festival from the start, such as interactive artist Emily Hemeyer, while others, like Brittany Nelson, create artifacts that speak about the future and are brand new to the festival.

Some artists are from halfway across the world, such as Nabil El Jaouhari, a mixed-media artist from Lebanon specializing in the practice of olive oil staining, while others are from MU’s own backyard. Duncan Bindbeutel is a Columbia native who is well acquainted with the festival, having displayed various works of art over the years. This year, his new piece will be part crossword puzzle and part scavenger hunt, and participants will be guided through downtown Columbia by a map in order to complete a poetic verse.

Hemeyer moved to Columbia while in high school, before the fest existed, and has watched it grow since the very start. She was 16 at the time and has contributed to the festival in some capacity each year since it was created.

“It’s a really beautiful festival that not only highlights international filmmakers, but also the local community of Columbia,” Hemeyer said. “I think that’s pretty rare with a festival this size to have that kind of connection. I come back to this festival because it is something that means a lot to me.”

Every project is unique and based around the theme of the festival for this year, “Out of the Ether,” which references alchemy and the elements. Artists incorporate the theme in different ways.

Hemeyer said alchemy is present throughout her interactive exhibit because it experiments with the different elements of nature.

“It’s essentially a natural history museum, so there is very much an elemental aspect,” Hemeyer said. “Things that come from the air, from fire, from water.”

Artist Alicia Eggert said her work mainly consists of neon signs, already aligning with the theme because neon is a natural element.

“All that is real is possible,” her sign reads, stemming from the logical branch of philosophy. Having attended the festival for the first time last year, Eggert is back to reveal a new sign that is closely tied with the theme of the festival.

“True/False is a documentary film festival, so it is all about what is supposedly real,” Eggert said. “These films are made about real life and real stories as opposed to fictional ones, so for me, the sign is always applicable to the festival every year because it is dealing with that thin line between when something is real and something is not real, or when something is impossible and something is possible.”

Every artist has different inspirations and stories behind their artwork, and Hemeyer said she is interested in interaction-based art because it creates connections that are very rare among this generation. Her hope is that her art will create links between people and art and among humans.

“There is sometimes a lack of human-to-human connection,” Hemeyer said. “I think anything that sparks an interaction in this day in age is a beautiful thing. I am interested in whatever that interaction is, just pure moments of humanness.”

Eggert believes True/False is a place that sparks human connections, because artists and participants get the chance to interact and learn from one another.

“It was amazing. I didn’t know very much about it, and I didn’t know what a film festival was like at all,” Eggert said. “I was really blown away by how magical the whole thing is. Even just the simple thing of waiting in line for a movie is a very social activity, so everyone in line talks to one another, and it almost feels like you’re at a party all weekend. I highly recommend that students attend the festival because it’s a pretty special and unique event that happens right in your town that people from all around the world travel to come to. Students should definitely take advantage of that if they can.”

Edited by Victoria Cheyne | vcheyne@themaneater.com

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