True/False has Columbia seeing red — in a good way

Saturday, March 1, 2008 | 9:06 p.m. CST; updated 11:36 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008
Annarose Overshiner, 7, sits on her bike before the start of the March to March parade during the True/False Film Festival on Friday afternoon in downtown Columbia.

COLUMBIA — Red set the mood of the True/False Film Festival.

It began with the logo, a half-white, half-red “T/F” stamp. Then red banners were hung throughout Columbia in advance of the festival. The MO-X airport shuttles posted large red signs in their windows.

And at True/False’s first big event, the March into March parade down Broadway on Friday, the logo was placed on a large wooden replica of a video camera that took up half the street.

Marchers, break-dancers, belly dancers and roller skaters who participated in the parade stood out in red.

Cyclists used their faces as canvases for the “T/F” stamp and their helmets were adorned with red paper roses. Belly dancers shuffled through a large woven basket full of bolts of red cloth, and the fabric was wrapped around their bodies as they danced down the street.

Red roller skates over black tights fit the True/False colors. The skaters rolled right on through the Broadway and College Avenue intersection with no need to brake at the red lights.

At the end of the parade, on Willis Avenue at Stephens College, an area was roped off for fire-throwers. They twirled chains with large red fireballs over and behind their heads, drawing a crowd.

“Reality Bites,” at Lela Raney Wood Hall at Stephens College, was open to Silver Circle and Lux pass-holders, the VIP True/False-goers. At the taste test, top Columbia restaurants set up tables in the dimly lit room to serve exotic dishes, such as reindeer meat. There were free samples of red meat and red wine. Toasted ravioli was served with a traditional red meat sauce.

A red light shone behind the stage as the musical group “Tough Cats” played. The red-haired drummer was intense. Every time he hit his drum, his facial expression changed. Behind the stage was a large red-winged phoenix.

One hour later, at the showing of “Girl Talk” at the new Ragtag Cinemacafe, filmgoers wore red.

“The participants who are coming are dressed in red and black scarves, red and black T-shirts, and red and black hats. They are supporting the festival,” said Vickie Park, a filmgoer from Columbia.

At 10 p.m., Tonic opened its doors to the “Lover’s Leap Party.” Decorations for the party included blood-red everything.

A red banner hung above the staircase with a dual abstract visual of blood and a topographic map. Red booths lined the walls. Red sculptures were placed in corners and hallways. Red, black and white animated images were projected on the walls.

Downstairs, an area was designated as “Red Where?” It was a place for partygoers to adorn themselves in red dresses, head wear and accessories. Outfits grew more exuberant as the night went on.

The animation designer, Mike Pagano, stood aside, controlling the display from his computer.

“It is a potpourri of Hollywood video and animations,” he said. He was wearing a red boa and headgear. “You can just go downstairs and they will give you whatever,” he said.

Some speculated about why True/False chose to use the colors it did. “I’ve heard some mumbles that the colors remind them of Chinese communism,” said Ben Stewart, Columbia resident and volunteer.

Whatever the answer, it’s clear the tradition has stuck with participants.

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