Documentary filmmakers and fans filled The Blue Note’s Showtime Theater on March 2 for 2019’s “Gimme Truth!” Breaking away from the pattern of film showings, “Gimme Truth!” offers a chance for audience participation throughout the event, allowing them to weigh in on the film’s quality without adhering to typical movie theater rules about volume.
“Gimme Truth!” is a documentary-based game show. Ten Missouri filmmakers submit their films to a panel of documentarians who then, while intoxicated, have to guess whether the film is 100 percent true or 100 percent false. The filmmaker’s intent is to trick the judges and the audience on the veracity of their films.
Judges are awarded 100 points per guess. 2019’s judges included “Reason” director Anand Patwardhan, “American Factory” editor Lindsay Utz and “No data plan” director Miko Revereza. After the last screening, judges deliberated on the best films of the evening.
Comedian Brian Babylon hosted the 2019 “Gimme Truth!” Babylon, of NPR’s “Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me,” remarked to the audience on what he considers “America’s favorite documentary game show.”
“We have a battle royale of filmmakers,” Babylon said. “[It’s] one of the most amazing concepts in entertainment. There’s The Muppets, and then there’s ‘Gimme Truth!’”
Some of the crowd-pleasers of the evening included “Breakin’ in Branson” and “A Fatal Attraction.” The former told the story of a man who, with his friends, break danced to War’s “Low Rider” at a high school dance. The group went on to dance for Foggy River Boys in Branson, Missouri.
After the film screened, Revereza said that he used to break dance. Immediately, “prove it” chants broke out in the audience. Babylon threw Revereza an arm wave, which he responded to by stepping out from behind the judge’s stand and busting a move onstage, much to Babylon’s delight.
“This ain’t your momma or daddy’s game show,” Babylon said. “It’s next-level.”
Another crowd favorite was “A Fatal Attraction.” This film was based on a girl named Alexa Timmerman and her supposedly abnormal attraction to country boys. As Timmerman took the stage after the film screening, dressed in modern street clothing as opposed to the flannel and cowboy boots she expressed a love for, Babylon immediately doubted her story. No country boy, Babylon said, could possibly like a girl dressed like her.
“You can’t be rolling up in hoops and red leather to meet his people,” Babylon said. “They would ‘Footloose’ you out of town so fast.”
All three of the top placing films were based on true stories. The first place film, Danny Stayton’s “whisper sweet nothings so i tingle,” was a greatest hits compilation of meme culture. Utz used her allotted question to get some clarification, as the ASMR, airhorns and fast-paced editing of the film were enough to make her head spin.
“I felt stoned watching that,” Utz said. “Can you just explain what we’re judging?”
Stayton explained the film told the story of one night when he “got stoned in St. Louis on Mardi Gras and had dinner with [his] friend’s Republican dad.”
The second place film, Ryan Wylie’s “Uni-Bladder World,” told the story of a man born with three bladders, who had surgery to remove them. The “uni-bladder” was a term he coined to refer to those born with one bladder. Babylon remarked on the music used to score the documentary, as it was reminiscent of “The X-Files” and gave the documentary subject a “Scully and Mulder” feel. Revereza found himself unsure what to believe about the man at first.
“I don’t even know how many bladders we’re supposed to have,” Revereza said when asked for his one question.
The third place film, “I Got a Nose Job for my 21st Birthday,” told the true story of Christina Parker, who took an unfortunate ride on an exploding jet ski, resulting in several broken vertebrae and ribs as well as a nose job. The concept bewildered Babylon, who remarked that the event was reminiscent of a hitman attempt.
“That sounds like a mob hit,” Babylon said. “The mob put a bomb in yo’ s---. Someone’s after you, bro!” The final scores for the evening had Patwardhan and Revereza tied at 700 points, with Utz bringing up the rear at 500 points.
Edited by Joe Cross | firstname.lastname@example.org