Ragtag Cinema’s annual Passport Series is back for its 13th season this fall. During the five-week program, local moviegoers have the opportunity to see critically-acclaimed international films on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. To bolster audiences’ experiences, each Passport screening is also followed by a Q&A with a local expert on the country and cultures represented in each film.
This year, the series also has a new programmer: Jordan Inman. She has worked with the programming team at Columbia’s True/False Film Festival for the past two years. During that time, Inman met Ragtag Film Society’s Director of Programming, Chris Boeckman.
“I applied for a position in late summer at Ragtag that I didn’t end up getting,” said Inman. “But they asked me if I would be interested in programming the series and, of course, I said yes!”
After accepting the position, she began the work of finding and selecting films for the Passport Series. This process began with researching what international films have been screening at festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival and the Belfort International Film Festival.
"I really wanted to include films that I can vouch for on a personal level, and that I feel would be something new that the audience might not have a chance to see otherwise," said Inman. "I am drawn to films that have some element of non-fiction, and also in directors who are new to filmmaking."
Inman also coordinated post-screening discussions with Columbia locals who have a connection with the country in which each film was produced. Many of these speakers have direct ties to the University of Missouri as professors or students.
“Many departments and programs are led by professionals from all over the world, and they are easy to find online,” she said. “For our screening of Long Way Home, a film from Brazil, we have Professor Jack Draper who teaches courses on Brazilian cinema [at Mizzou], and a prior student of his, Diogenes de Silva Santos, from Brazil.”
The 2019 Passport Series movies hail from many countries, including Canada, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, and Israel. Although many of these films portray places that may seem worlds away from Columbia, Missouri, Inman sees these differences as an opportunity for audience growth.
“I don’t think it is a bad idea to push people out of their cultural comfort zones,” she said. “I’m definitely more interested in programming films that will be challenging, and increase the opportunity for thoughtful discussion with the post-film speakers.”