True Vision Award

The True Vision Award, our only award, is given annually to a filmmaker (or filmmakers) whose work shows a dedication to the creative advancement of the art of nonfiction filmmaking.

2009 recipient: Kim Longinotto

The True/False Film Fest is proud to announce the recipient of the 2009 True Vision Award: Kim Longinotto, who has creatively advanced the art of nonfiction filmmaking and built a body of work that reveals new truths about our world within each frame.

As we roll into cinema's second century, the filmmakers' toolbox is overflowing, thanks to an ever-expanding array of special effects wizardry and narrative and stylistic innovations. But 100 years later, the most effective storytelling tool remains the same: powerful characters in action.

Kim Longinotto embodies this as well as any filmmaker today. Working under the tenets of cinema verite — a purist form of documentary that eschews interviews, voiceover and recreations — the British filmmaker has recorded a series of remarkable real people and shared their struggles and triumphs with us. Forget reality TV: this is real life, captured with love and patience, organized with integrity in the editing suite, and presented to the world as testimony, inspiration and surprisingly rich entertainment.

Longinotto's career began more than 30 years ago with the acclaimed student films Pride of Place, which documented her boarding school, and Theatre Girls, which revealed the daily lives of women living in a London shelter. Already, her formal and thematic approaches were on display. Her unobtrusive camera (she shoots her own films) captures telling detail. Cinematic flourishes are kept to a minimum. And her stories make visible society's forgotten: transgendered Japanese women (Shinjuku Boys), women who dare to assert their independence in a patriarchal society (Divorce Iranian Style), would-be pro wrestlers (Gaea Girls) and a Kenyan girl who was forcibly circumcised (The Day I Will Never Forget).

In the face of Hollywood's false hundred-million-dollar heroes, Longinotto gives us real ones living rousing, inspiring lives. In the Cannes-winning, T/F favorite Sisters in Law, two women seize control of the legal system in a Cameroon township. Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go (T/F 2008) quietly honors a group of teachers coping with out-of-control children. And for Rough Aunties, playing in this year's fest, Longinotto took her expressive camera into a South African NGO that protects kids from abuse. Who needs Iron Man? These women are doing the kind of work that will really save the world. With her unwavering, insightful camera and tireless efforts, Longinotto might, too. (JS)

The True Vision Award winner is presented with an original bronze sculpture, created by nationally known Columbia artist Larry Young, and donated by the artist to the festival. For more information about Mr. Young's work, visit his website or contact him directly at Larry Young Sculpture, 8700 N. Millsite, Columbia, MO 65201; (573)449-6810.

Previous True Vision Award winners

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