What started as a fun and informal way for budding filmmakers to get involved in the True/False Film Fest might become something much bigger. This year’s “Gimme Truth” competition, held Saturday night at the Macklanburg Cinema, was recorded for a TV pilot by TVbyMills, a television company based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Just three of the 10 submissions featured in the competition will be featured in the pilot.
Jonathan Gotsick, star of “American Shopper,” a film from last year’s festival, served as the host, being introduced as the “Emperor of Exactitude,” along with other wacky titles. He introduced the show for the second time (microphone feedback interrupted the first shoot). The competition, as Gotsick explained to the studio audience, consisted of 10 filmmakers who had each made a two-minute short whose subject matter was completely true or completely false. The objective? Fool the three celebrity guest judges, who were all filmmakers themselves: Esther Robinson (“A Walk into the Sea: The Danny Williams Story”), David Schisgall (“Very Young Girls”) and Sean Donnelly (“I Think We’re Alone Now”).
“What happens if you’ve been duped?” Gotsick says. “Duh. We give out fantastic prizes.”
If a contestant was able to fool the judges, he or she instantly won a $50 bill, or as Gotsick put it, “a very small portrait of Ulysses S. Grant.” The prizes were given to the top three films as chosen by the judges––an editing software package, a video iPod and dinner and a movie for two at Ragtag Cinemacafe went to first, second and third, respectively.
The first film to be showcased was Rosario Chico and Lee Allie Buchanan’s “Juno’s Starting Pole,” a film about a stripper who had worked at the same club as “Juno” screenwriter Diablo Cody and chastised Cody for writing memoirs about the industry after only having worked in it for a year. The film, which was entirely fictional, fooled two of the judges.
Junior Ben Dillon eventually took third place with his film, “Squirrely Wood,” about a friend with a squirrel obsession. The film, entirely true, managed to fool all three judges.
The films––both true and false––covered a wide variety of subject matter. The second-place film, Nathan Truesdell’s “Flying Deer,” focused on a true story about a man who had hit a deer out of nowhere in the middle of the highway. Videology disc jockey Daryle Bascom presented “Out of Africa,” a fake story about an MU basketball player recruited from South Africa.
One of the most well-received films, Matt Bryan’s “Sonya,” was an animated short about a convenience store clerk with some very unusual habits. Bryan’s film was unable to fool any of the judges (his was entirely true), but he still took home first prize.