Film festival coupled interesting, avant-garde documentaries with entertaining overall experience

Caroline Meinzenbach, Opinion Editor

Crash Reel
Director: Lucy Walker
Everyone has heard of Shawn White,but not everyone has heard of Kevin Pearce, his good friend and rival.
This documentary started off tracking Pearce’s training for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Pearce and his friends had spent a few days in Aspen, Co., then realized it wasn’t what they were looking for. They headed to Park City, Utah, for some more challenging slopes.
On New Year’s Eve 2009, Pearce was practicing a dangerous and difficult trick, the cab double cork. Previously, they had only done it when landing in an air bag at the bottom of the hill.
Little did he know, it was the last trick he would ever do on a snowboard.
Pearce’s board caught the edge of the snow bank when coming down and landed on his face, sliding down the hill.
He was unconscious and had to be airlifted to the nearest hospital.
Friends stood by unable to help.
Family flew in from their home in Vermont.
All praying for good news.
Pearce had a traumatic brain injury and was kept in critical care for 26 days and then moved to a rehabilitation center specializing in traumatic brain injuries in Denver in February.
It wasn’t until June Pearce was finally able to return home to Vermont.
The rest of the film showed Pearce’s medical struggles and his attempt to get his life back to normal.
The most interesting part of this was that the filmmaker, Lucy Walker, didn’t plan any of it. She had started the hoping to capture Pearce’s road to the Olympics, and it turned into a story about traumatic brain injuries in many athletes.
It also featured Canadian freestyle skier Sarah Burke who had a similar crash but a different outcome. Burke went into a coma after crashing on the same slope as Pearce and died nine days later, proving how lucky Pearce was.
It also highlighted Pearce’s relationship with his brother, David, who has Down’s Syndrome.
This film was so well done and kept your attention. It ended up being my favorite of the whole weekend.
Pearce was never able to go back to the mountains and snowboard competitively again.

Cutie and the Boxer
Director: Zachary Heinzerling
Ushio and Noriko Shinohara are a Japanese couple who spent the past 40 years living in New York City pursuing a career in art. As the story progresses, a cartoon by Noriko animates their love story. It shows how Ushio used to get drunk every night, leaving his wife to raise their son alone. You would expect the two to hate each other, but they still stay together even after all these years.  The director was able to capture their relationship, as well as Ushio’s artistic abilities and Noriko’s appearance in the art world after being overshadowed by her husband.
For me, the most memorable part of seeing the film happened after it ended. Director Zachary Heinzerling, Ushio and Noriko Shinohara all came out on stage and answered the audience’s questions. Noriko can speak a little English but with an accent that makes it hard to understand, and Ushio speaks no English. He had an interpreter pass the questions along to him.

Overall experience:
This year was the 10th anniversary of the True/False Film Festival. The entire festival took place all around the city of Columbia, Mo. Venues included the Missouri Theatre, Jesse Auditorium, The Blue Note and Ragtag Cinema.
This year, unfamiliar music artists played at various coffee shops and in theaters before a film began. The instruments they used were very unique and uncommon, and the music genre was typically folk.
After most of the films, the directors would come out and answer questions from audience members. It was interesting to see their point of view from filming the story and how they came to the original idea. Even though these were filmed all around the world, seeing and hearing the the directors’ points of view made it feel like it wasn’t that far away.