Based On a True Story

Based On a True Story

March 1, 2023
The Intersections of Documentary Film & Journalism

Details About the Film

Based on a True Story is a conference coinciding with the True/False Film Fest. All sessions are free and open to the public. More sessions at



Wednesday, March 1, 7:00 p.m. — 9:00 p.m. \\ Ragtag Cinema

We will celebrate the life of our beloved friend, the late great filmmaker Julia Reichert, by going on a uniquely personal journey with her longtime partner Steven Bognar. There will be never-before-seen interviews, home movies, clips from films and more as Bognar workshops an ongoing project that’s an attempt to both process the loss and celebrate the life of the woman many considered the godmother of documentary. Julia loved True/False and came back to Columbia every March, so it is beautifully appropriate to kick off the month and Based On A True Story with a remembrance of her life and work. The talk and screening will be attended by members of their family and moderated by Julia’s longtime friend Eric Hynes.



Steven Bognar

Eric Hynes




Thursday, March 2, 2:30 p.m. — 4:00 p.m. \\ Ragtag Cinema

The term “MENASA” (Middle East, North African, and South Asian) encompasses a wide diversity of cultures, loosely linked by the idea that the people of these regions are perceived as practicing or having a significant proximity to the practice of Islam. Yet the films exploring this identity that reach audiences in the West are too often limited in depth and range. How can one begin to challenge pervasive and deeply harmful stereotypes about their communities, narratives that have been embedded in film, literature, and journalism for centuries? In the wake of crises, such as the 2022 call-in to the film community to do better by MENASA people, The Museum of the Moving Image gave filmmaker and critic Farihah Zaman the chance to build the world she would like to see. The ongoing monthly series is titled Infinite Beauty, in honor of Islam’s emphasis on seeing the infinite array of beauty in the natural world, and the stunning range of depictions of Muslim lives, bodies, and ideas that mirrors that attitude of abundance.

This session will consider the impact of programming counter to dominant culture, screen several short films that center Muslim + MENASA identity and/or perspective, and follow with a discussion of these works, how they do or do not engage with questions of identity, and the particular nature of their beauty.


Farihah Zaman

This program is presented in partnership with the Museum of the Moving Image. Film titles coming soon.

Presented By

Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism

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Year Released: 
Runtime:  minutes
Accessibility Options: ListenTech (Hearing Impaired / Personal Amplified Audio Receiver w/optional T-Coil loop)