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Meet Chloé Trayner: True/False Artistic Director

Every year, Columbia welcomes filmmakers and film lovers from all over the world for a weekend of re-imagining reality through film — True/False Film Fest weekend.

The overall goal of the True/False is to forge a supportive, celebratory refuge for filmmakers and amplify the possibilities of creative nonfiction. Behind the extraordinary and transformative weekend is a team of people dedicated to making that goal a reality.

This year’s True/False Film Fest will be held March 3, 2022 through March 6, 2022. In the months leading up to the festival, we want to not only share a little behind the scenes of what goes into planning the event, but also introduce you to the people making the magic happen. 

Meet Chloé Trayner: True/False Artistic Director

1. What does your role look like as the artistic director? What do you do?

The main bulk of my job is to work with our programming team on curating the festival program — so I do a lot of watching films, researching new work, and talking with filmmakers. I also work on connecting curation with the rest of the organization. I keep up to date with everything my colleagues are working on, share information they need to know about our programming plans, and think about how our curatorial vision can be best translated across all of the different activities we do as an organization. 

2. What does your day-to-day look like when it comes to preparing for the festival?

My day-to-day is a mixture of meetings, emails, research, and viewing. The balance between those things varies throughout the year depending on how close we are to the festival itself. In our quiet period after the festival finishes, I try to spend a lot of time planning and thinking about big picture things before we start to get closer and my days get filled up with thinking about the smaller details and mechanics of individual elements. No matter where we are in the process, I try to watch at least one film a day to keep up with everything that we’re considering. 

3. Why did you get involved with T/F?

This is my first year working with T/F! I got involved because it’s an incredible festival that is championing innovative nonfiction work and creating a unique space for filmmakers. It’s amazing to seep industry and local audiences come together and engage with that work. 

4. What is your favorite and least favorite part of your job as Artistic Director?

My favorite part of the job is getting to celebrate filmmakers and be a part of their films’ journeys in connecting with audiences. My least favorite part is all of the incredible work that we have to turn down because we can’t show everything we love every year.

5. What inspires you in your work? What keeps you going?

I’m really motivated by the communal experience of cinema — seeing audiences respond to work is one of the most rewarding parts of my job. It can be hard to remember that feeling when you’re in the programming process and spending a lot of time alone watching films on your laptop, but it’s great to have our weekly programming meetings. The conversations we have as a team when we’re considering which films to invite to the festival are what keep me going. 

8. What is something you hope for attendees to gain from the festival?

I hope attendees will gain an appreciation for the many different ways a story can be told and, through that appreciation, I hope that people will see the festival as an opportunity to take some risks with what they’re watching and step outside their comfort zone, because you never know what you might discover in the process!

9. What is your favorite part, in general, about the festival? 

My favorite part of the festival is the commitment to creating a fully immersive experience for the weekend. True/False is not just about the film screenings; it’s also about the music, the art installations, the cross-media projects, the conversation events, and the parties. 

10. If you had to pick one or two solid reasons why someone should attend, what would they be?

The main reason I give when people ask why they should come to True/False is that you can truly make the fest weekend whatever you want it to be. Plus, you’re guaranteed to have some of the most fascinating conversations with fellow attendees in the process!

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