True/False Festival Fete brings Columbia, film together

The event honored visiting filmmakers.

Local volunteers, artists from across the country and directors imported from Poland — an all-around smorgasbord of people who love movies — gathered at PS: Gallery on Saturday to celebrate True/False’s Filmmaker Fete. Fete — a banquet in honor of the visiting filmmakers — highlighted just how essential True/False has become in bringing the Columbia community together.

“There’s a great vibe all over downtown right now, and it culminates right here,” PS: Gallery owner Chris Stevens said. “When you pull all of these people together, directors, the locals, and you get them talking. This is what it’s all about. It’s awesome.”

With free drinks, free appetizers and filmmakers everywhere, PS: Gallery was bursting with both people and conversation.

“The thing we’ve come to realize about True/False is how much of a community event it can be,” True/False Film Fest co-founder David Wilson said. “It’s a real testament to Columbia and the excitement it can build when you give people a chance.”

For Cindy Sheltmire, Ragtag and True/False board member, who helped arrange the Fete, it is an opportunity to see what directors think of the festival.

“(Filmmakers) love this event,” Sheltmire said. “Filmmakers aren’t used to getting this much love from the public.”

Marcin Sauter, director of “North From Calabria” didn’t even know the festival existed until he was invited down from Poland. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t speak English; True/False asked around and almost immediately found Jacob Sarnecki, a volunteer who was more than happy to translate for the director.

"It was the best festival I have ever attended," Sauter said. "I was really happy I was invited. I really, really loved (the experience).”

"We just try to convince them to come to this little town,” Wilson said. “Missouri is sort of exotic if you’re from Poland.”

The Fete also attracted unique filmmakers like Jarred Alterman, who could not present his film at True/False due to prior festival obligations, but still contributed to the festival. At the behest of Wilson, Alterman created a small projection film that was projected every night from sunset to midnight on a side of the Regions Hotel. It was a memorable experience for Alterman.

“I watched a very sweet couple who may have been tripping on acid, who stayed for a good hour because they couldn’t believe this strange dead skeletal parts were talking to them” Alterman said . “I actually think they thought the animals were talking to them.”

Although the preparation for the Fete caused Stevens to miss a couple of films, he said it was worth the cost.

“To be in the heart of all this is worth missing a couple films,” Stevens explained. “To feel like you made the whole festival a success. You’re one little part at making the whole thing a success.”

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