I know there's still the Berlinale to experience next week, but I just booked my MO-X airport shuttle from St. Louis to Columbia and am very excited to be attending my third True/False Fest in a row. This year's the 7th iteration and they have a stellar new website up, as usual, with the fab program on view; you can take a look here. (That's me and director, Havana Marking director of Afghan Star, from last year's fest, taken by the lovely Ingrid Kopp.)
In 2007, T/F started their SWAMI Program to mentor new nonfiction filmmakers. Select filmmakers meet with industry professionals to get advice on everything that happens after they finish their final cut. The 2010 program will be sponsored by Chicken and Egg Pictures and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The seven directors chosen this year are Aaron Schock, Circo; Andy Wolff and Stefanie Brockhaus, The Other Side of Life; Charlotte Glynn, Rachel Is; Fatima Geza Abdollahyan, Kick in Iran; Nuria Ibáñez, The Tightrope; and Pippa Robinson, The British in Bed.
The seven SWAMIs to guide these artists will be Andrea Meditch, creative consultant and exec producer of Oscar winner for Best Feature Doc, Man on Wire, and Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World; Esther Robinson, director of A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory, and former director of film/video and performing arts for The Creative Capital Foundation; Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar, producers/directors of A Lion in the House and The Last Truck: Closing of a G.M. Plant; Lisa Heller, VP of original programming at HBO; Sandi Dubowski, director of Trembling Before G-d and producer of A Jihad for Love and Budrus, and grassroots distribution guru extraordinaire; and, Yance Ford, series producer and lead programmer for PBS' P.O.V. series. Participation in the program is by invitation only and is open solely to first-time filmmakers.
This year's True Vision Award recipient will be Laura Poitras. The award is given annually to a filmmaker whose work shows "a dedication to the creative advancement of the art of nonfiction filmmaking," and Poitras certainly fits the bill perfectly. Both My Country, My Country and The Oath will be shown as part of the program. (The Oath is at Berlin, as well.) With just three completed films (these two, plus Flag Wars, which premiered on P.O.V. in 2003 and was co-directed with Linda Goode Bryant), Poitras has already garnered a Peabody, an Emmy, and an Oscar nomination, along with awards at the SXSW, Full Frame and Sundance festivals.