Why The Crossing is a Sponsor for True/False Again This Year

Perhaps you’ve heard that The Crossing is a sponsor of the True/False Film Festival again this year. In fact, we have actually agreed to a three-year contract with True/False for us to be the sole sponsor of what’s called the True Life film, which is a documentary that usually focuses on an issue of social justice of some kind. In this, The Crossing and True/False have found that we have a lot of common ground.

As you may know, The Crossing sponsored last year’s True Life film, Burma VJ, which is now nominated for an Academy Award this year for Best Documentary. As the sole sponsors last year of Burma VJ, we were able to have the director of the film, Anders Ƙstergaard, speak at The Crossing the Sunday of the True/False Film Festival. For us, at least, it was an enjoyable visit. I hope Burma VJ wins the Oscar for Best Documentary this year for many reasons, but one is that it would be a cool thing to have had a director of an Academy Award winning film speak with us on the stage at The Crossing. That would be a neat footnote to our story as a church I think.

Now this year’s True Life film is Enemies of the People. Keep in mind that all films shown at True/False are brand spank’n new documentaries that have yet to be distributed by a film distributor. They may have been shown only a handful of times at other very recent film festivals, such as Sundance or Toronto, but very often True/False is one of a documentary’s earliest showings. And that’s the case with Enemies of the People.

If you’ve seen the three-time Academy Award winner, The Killing Fields, then you’ll especially be moved by this film. The Killing Fields was a 1984 film about the fall of Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge in 1975, and the subsequent deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979. I watched it again the other night just to remind myself about it because it is the perfect background for this year’s True Life film.
In Enemies of the People, Cambodian journalist Thet Sambath, whose father, mother, and brother all died at the hands of the Khmer Rouge when he was a child, now befriends and draws out heart-felt confessions from former Khmer Rouge killers. It happens all on video. That’s the film. And there are some powerful moments in this film: particularly when Sambath eventually confronts these newly befriended killers with the fact of his family’s death by their ideology and network of cold-blooded murder. There are also important scenes where these former killers deal with the reality of a plaguing conscience for their deeds.
I’ve already seen Enemies of the People at a private screening so that we could decide if we wanted to sponsor it or not. And I can attest that this film is right down the pipe in regard to the kind of film we wanted to sponsor. We are also leading a post-film discussion after the Saturday showing at The Rome restaurant across the street from the Missouri Theatre on 9th St. If you see the film, feel free to join us. Times for the film are shown here.

Of course, being the sole sponsor of Enemies of the People is good advertising for The Crossing on many levels. But I like the fact that it lets Columbia know something about what we stand for, what we believe are important issues and causes, and it allows us a place to participate with others in the overall welfare of our community. Even beyond the advertising values, it allows us to make the most of an important film like Enemies of the People in order to further the right kinds of conversations and interactions with others who see it. This film will move people to confront and consider their own beliefs about justice, good and evil, forgiveness, etc. After seeing this film, perhaps you may want to discuss some key questions that this film naturally raises.

Here are just a few examples:
  • What does this film say about the human condition?
  • What does it say about what it means to be human?
  • What does it say about the reality of good and evil (in other words, are good and evil merely socially constructed morals, or are they real and do they transcend mere human construction)?
  • What does it say about forgiveness (both the need for it and the need to give it)?
  • Is the idea of redemption a universal human need and pursuit, or just a Christian doctrine?

Tickets to screenings of Enemies of the People will be on sale in the foyer at The Crossing this Sunday and next Sunday. Tickets are $7 each and are available for two screenings: Sat, 2/27 at 12:30 pm at Missouri Theatre and Sun, 2/28 at 12:30 pm at Windsor Cinema. (Only tickets to the 2/28 screening will be available next Sunday.) Again, The Crossing will host a post-screening discussion on Sat, 2/27 from 2:30-4:30 pm at The Rome Restaurant, 114 S. 9th St. (FYI: We will only be able to accept cash and checks at the ticket table. Checks should be made out to True/False.)

Check out the True/False website for other films to see. I’m planning an attending several. Hope to see you there.

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