Last year’s True/False Film Fest marked our “last good weekend” in Columbia. I remember having a friend crash on my couch when he came to town for the festival, going to Shakespeare’s for pizza and a pitcher before seeing Crip Camp at the Missouri Theatre and dancing the night away at The Social Room. But just days later, we could no longer ignore the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s True/False, although delayed two months, marks the start of our return to something like what we had before. Even though the festival will take place outside for the first time and festival-goers will wear masks and keep their distance from each other, the return of Columbia’s favorite fest is a harbinger of better times to come. For a few days in May, we’ll get to sit at Stephens Lake Park, enjoy food and films and one of the most special events our town has to offer. True/False interim artistic director David Wilson told a Vox writer that’s what makes the fest what it is.
“We imagined that this might be a moment when people first came together again in a safe way and had the catharsis of watching movies with groups of people,” he says. “We think there’s something really special about communal viewing and what it does to us as people, and how it provokes conversation and thought and personal transformation.”
Our May issue is full of stories about the creativity of the Columbia community and how we’ve continued creating in spite of it all. True/False’s return is just one example of that resilience. A local mystery author penned a chilling new tale. Columbia cosplayers have stayed connected, even without conventions. Pop-up restaurants are serving up ever-changing menus, and brand new eateries have arrived on the scene.
We’re all tired of hearing about “unprecedented times.” But our ability to keep moving forward and making our town better in all kinds of ways is what’s really unprecedented. That’s what I’ll remember most from this year.