True/False adds free childcare initiative to support families in film

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COLUMBIA - In a partnership with Kickstarter, the True/False Film Festival has introduced a childcare initiative to provide support for visiting filmmakers, artists and musicians this year.

Over the four-day weekend, True/False will provide free, professional daycare services, with the hopes of making the festival more accessible to artists with young children.

According to True/False, the support from Kickstarter will offset the cost of expensive childcare.

Family obligations impact more women than men in the industry. Factors such as long hours, busy schedule, and traveling obligations act as obstacles to women who are simultaneously making films and raising a family. 

The festival seeks to create a model for other festivals on how to be more feminist and equitable, organizers said. In particular, the childcare initiative is designed to support the needs of all parents, especially low-income and single parents. 

"An initiative like this exists at the intersection of gender politics and class," said David Wilson, co-conspirator of True/False.

"If you're an independent documentary filmmaker, you don’t have a lot of money," he said. "So you’re probably not bringing your nanny with you when you’re traveling around the world. Making sure that initiatives like this exist at festivals all over the place give women filmmakers, and especially women filmmakers with lesser means, a chance to be a part of the same festival community that everyone else is."

Liz Cook, the director of documentary film at Kickstarter, said the company gives a lot of attention and resources to sustainability in the documentary community.

“While we are thrilled this will be able to support both male and female directors," she said. "This collaboration really stemmed from a conversation with True/False about our internal initiatives centered around supporting female filmmakers. This is a totally new type of partnership for us at Kickstarter and we are incredibly excited to be collaborating with True/False to offer this important resource for creators with children."

The daycare initiative is called the Cradle, and will be held at the Picture House Theater, located inside the United Methodist Church on Ninth Street. The daycare will run in collaboration with Columbia-based children's art studio The Atelier. 

Kara Hook, the owner and director of the Atelier, said the studio will provide creative, educational programming for children related to the theme of the festival, "Out of the Ether."

"One idea we have is a sensory bin for the children, full of colorful water beads and water, and, in the sensory bin we’ve put light that will shine up through the sensory bin. We’re envisioning that light being the ether, and with the water beads being the molecules that they can play with, combine, put together," Hook said. 

The True/False Film Festival takes place March 2-5 in downtown Columbia.