If you enjoy magic, you won’t want to miss an amazing feat of legerdemain that’s happening this coming weekend. A college town in mid-Missouri will turn into an energizing, entertainment attraction for one glorious weekend.

Photo by Karl Bussen

In the 19 years since Columbia’s True/False Film Fest was started by co-founders Paul Sturtz and David Wilson (who also founded the Ragtag Cinema), the fest has taken on a life all its own. Although the two founders are no longer active to the extent they once were, their legacy and vision for this cinematic celebration of documentary films lives on, thanks in part to the legion of loyal staff, volunteers, residents, and fans who keep it going.

This year’s True/False Film Fest – the 20th – runs March 2-5, and as always, will feature not only amazing films, but music events, art installations, parties, discussion panels, the annual “March March” parade to kick it off and more.

After a brief hiatus from downtown in 2021, when the fest was held outdoors at Stephens Lake Park post-pandemic, the fest returned downtown in 2022. The District will come alive once again this year with an energy both palpable and positive.

The fest is a project of the Ragtag Film Society, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. With cinema as a focal point, the society “exists to captivate and engage communities in immersive arts experiences that explore assumptions and elicit shared joy, wonder, and introspection.”

Its four values – integrity, exclusivity, playfulness, and sustainability – “are interlocking, and are essential to everything we do,” says the society’s website.

Photo by Billie Stock

The fest’s full slate includes 33 new feature films and 25 new short films. These films were selected from roughly 1,200 submissions and hundreds more that were scouted from festivals around the world. As the True/False website says, “The festival highlights bold cinematic visions from filmmakers experimenting with the possibilities of representing reality.”

This year films will screen at 5 venues: the Missouri Theatre, Showtime Theater @ The Blue Note; The Picturehouse (Missouri United Methodist Church); The Globe (First Presbyterian Church); and Ragtag Cinema.

Passes (laminated badges that allow festival access) come in different levels, and prices vary accordingly. One type, the Center pass, has already sold out. But others are still available.

If you’re not a pass holder, you may buy individual tickets online as of this past Monday, February 20. A ticket allows you to attend one screening of a film or concert, and, if you show up on time, guarantees your space up to 15 minutes before the start time.

The Box Office is located in the Sager Reeves Gallery at 1025 E. Walnut St., True/False’s headquarters during the fest.

Pass the popcorn!

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.