Seems no one told Paul Sturtz and David Wilson that central Missouri is a helluva place for a film festival. Or maybe the True/False Film Festival co-founders just grinned and said, Yep, Columbia, Missouri, is one hell of a place. "We're playing up the romantic notion of coming to the Midwest," Sturtz said on the eve of the 2006 True/False. "People come away saying, This is one of the best festival environments we've been in.'" Of course, the selections in this all-documentary festival could be screened on the wall of a condemned Greyhound station and we'd still buy tickets. Over the past three years, True/False has welcomed Mark Achbar (The Corporation
), Bruce Sinofsky (Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
) and Kevin Macdonald (Touching the Void
). The Academy Award-nominated Murderball
had its Midwestern premiere in Columbia in 2005. This year director Eugene Jarecki brought Why We Fight
, his unflinching look at American militarism, to True/False. But it's Columbia's cozy-chic vibe that puts this fest over the topthat and the co-founders' devotion to their project. Going by the calendar, True/False is still in its toddlerhood, but going by quality and vision, it's the smartest, hippest kid on the block. And the most principled: Sturtz and Wilson want to cultivate a film community, not build a hype machine. "We pick the films most wanted in the fest and see if the filmmaker will come," Sturtz explains. "If the filmmaker can't come, we cross the film off the list. It's part of the festival's whole ethos to have it be a communal experience." Count us in.