New True/False activities include virtual reality experiences

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COLUMBIA - New events at the True/False Film Festival invite visitors to experience virtual reality, interactive theater games and more this weekend.

"I think it's a great way to diversify people's festival experience, kind of get a more interactive component," said Tony Puricelli, a festival-goer from St. Louis.  

True/False is offering three types of additional activities, called synapses: panel-type discussions known as field sessions; a "transmedia arcade," which provides interactive experiences, such as virtual reality goggles; and six mini-presentations known as provocations.

Larry Windmoeller tried virtual reality goggles in the Good Wizard Arcade, taking on the role of a prisoner in solitary confinement.

"It gave a good perspective of how things would change so rapidly in your mind by being in there for 23 hours and the limitations you have," Windmoeller said.

Other virtual reality experiences teach participants about the chemical effects of falling in love and what it is like to live without sight.

Another new program called Lost Letters incorporates elements of interactive theater, in which participants must solve puzzles to continue through the narrative.

Connor Hickox, the co-owner of Breakout CoMo, said True/False festival-goers will have to buy tickets to see what exactly is inside.

"We're trying to keep it a secret so when groups come through here, we're telling them not to tell anybody about the things they're seeing, because for this experience to really work for the groups, they have to come in as a totally clean slate," Hickox said.