2017 True/False Film Festival aims to build community

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COLUMBIA - The True/False Film Festival returns to Columbia Thursday, drawing documentary enthusiasts from around the world for a weekend of raucous revelry and thought-provoking films.

David Wilson, a "co-conspirator" (read: organizer) of the annual event, said the festival is always a catalyst for generating community conversations. But this year, it could be an even more powerful platform for social change.

"We're at a moment where there's a lot of anxiety in our country, a lot of political anxiety," Wilson said. "True/False represents a chance to turn on our brains, but also turn on our community-minded spirit."

For Ross Dixon, a festival patron, it's this community-minded spirit that keeps drawing him and his family back to True/False year after year. 

"There's just a real richness the festival brings that adds to the community that is Columbia," Dixon said as he waited in Wednesday's blustery weather to collect his festival passes from True/False's downtown box office. 

Some of the films Dixon said he's looking forward to: "Quest," "Step" and "Distant Constellation." (You can find a full list of this year's festival films, plus descriptions, here.

The festival kicks off Thursday evening at the Missouri Theatre with The Jubilee, a masquerade gala. The March March, the event's signature parade through downtown, will take place Friday evening at 5:15. From Thursday evening through Sunday night, festival attendees can catch a film or enjoy live music at venues around downtown Columbia. 

Wilson said the festival, which sold nearly 50,000 tickets last year, is a community effort, driven by the work of many volunteers.

"This is Columbia coming together and doing something as a community that we can show off to the world," Wilson said. 

This year, the festival's box office and headquarters is located in the Sager|Braudis Gallery at 1025 E. Walnut St. in downtown Columbia. 

Film schedules, maps and festival updates are available on the True/False site.