For the past few years I have attended the True/False Film Festival, a festival of mostly documentary films held the first weekend of March in Columbia, Missouri. This year the festival screened 40 films with the directors (and often the stars) making appearances for discussions. The festival also featured performances from dozens of bands, special events, parties, and a robot parade! From the 2012 line up I saw five films, all of which I highly recommend, but they are so new they won't be shown at theaters or be available on DVD for some time. However, we do have several favorites from last year's fest available on DVD at The Urbana Free Library!
One of my favorite films from last year's festival was Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, directed by Jon Foy. This film follows a man who seeks to unravel the strange mystery of thousands of tiles with a cryptic message that appear on streets throughout the United States (and even some in South America). It really pulls you into the mystery and introduces you to a host of eccentric characters:
Another memorable film from the 2011 festival was the Norwegian film Trollhunter, which from the subject matter you may realize is not a documentary film (a fact that escaped some members of the audience who walked out shortly after the movie started, loudly complaining that "none of this is real"). While it may not be real, it's still a fun movie:
A more serious film from last year that I highly recommend is Last Train Home, which profiles a rural family in China. Both parents work much of the year in factories in the city, traveling home once a year during Chinese new year along with 130 million other migrant workers. Their children are being raised by grandparents in a rural village, and the movie explores the difficult family dynamics of this arrangement. At a time when Chinese factories that manufacture many of our electronic gadgets are in the news, this movie movingly illustrates the affect the factory system has on family life.
You can check out all of these movies (plus a ton of other great ones) here at The Urbana Free Library! And if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend checking out the True/False Film Festival. It's a fun, affordable festival in a great college town.