Driven by a desire to bring nonfiction film into new spaces and create fresh dialogue, The Alethea Project grew out of a unique ten-year partnership between the True/False Film Fest and The Crossing, a theologically conservative church in Columbia, Missouri. While partnership with The Crossing ended in October 2019, the Alethea Project continues as an initiative of Ragtag Film Society.
In the fall of 2018, True/False, in collaboration with The Crossing, and with support from Impact Partners, the Bertha Foundation, the Hartley Film Fund and Debbie & Jay McCleod, launched The Alethea Project: a never-before-attempted documentary screening series. The project screens recent nonfiction films – largely from the True/False catalog – with topics that invite robust post-screening discussion. Film topics include race in America, climate change, refugees and immigration, healthcare and health crises, the death penalty, guns in America, and gender/sexuality. In a companion session, filmmakers offer a youth-oriented workshop on what it means to be a documentary filmmaker today.
America’s ideological divide is stark: citizens learn of news from increasingly specialized outlets, facts are under attack, and conversations focus less on conversing and more on talking past one another or raising voices. Yet we know, still, there are moments when stories and experiences overlap. From its inception True/False has believed there existed an expansive audience for nonfiction film. Developing new audiences, especially in surprising locales, is at the heart of True/False's mission, and the Alethea Project is one expression of that goal.
We hope, through the Alethea Project, to offer a model for other organizations – both religious and secular – to engage fruitfully with nonfiction filmmaking.