True/False Film Fest will make its return to Columbia in 2021 with a "re-imagined, largely outdoor fest," according to a Sept. 3 news release from the Ragtag Film Society.
Hopeful True/False attendees will have to wait a couple months longer this upcoming year as the festival will be taking place May 5–9, 2021, in comparison to its usual early March dates, according to the release.
True/False 2020, held March 5–8, feels like one of the last true memories of peace before quarantine. Even during the longest days of quarantine, David Wilson, Ragtag Film Society co-founder and interim artistic director, says there wasn't a moment where he and the team at Ragtag thought there would be absolutely no version of a 2021 festival.
Concepts for next year's festival were explored as early as April and May, Wilson says. He adds that there were several somewhat frustrating months of unclarity where the team pitched ideas about how to operate a film festival amidst a pandemic with an expiration date that was, and still is, to be determined.
"Finally, we were able to build off the assumption that May will look, more or less, like things do now," Wilson says. "We can't plan as if anything is going to be better — we hope it will be — but we can plan that people will have more knowledge than we did six months in the past, which we certainly feel like right now we do."
The film society will be taking True/False's experimental history to new heights in 2021 in light of the pandemic, going for a reputation of "challenging and re-imagining what a film festival can be," the release states.
One of the biggest changes to the festival for next year are the number of films that will be screened. According to the release, the screenings are being cut down from about 40 features and 25 short films in years prior to around 10–20 features and 15–25 short films next year. Another big change is that the actual screenings of these films will be mostly outdoors, with select offerings at Ragtag Cinema.
Wilson expects musicians to play a more prominent role in this year's fest, although he's not ready to go more in-depth on that right now. There are no musicians booked for True/False yet, he says, but they have begun talking about it.
Knowing the importance of what True/False means to local and international communities, Wilson says he thinks the 2021 fest is something that will feel really necessary. "We want to build an event that builds on the spirit of past True/Falses, while acknowledging the newness of the present situation."