COLUMBIA - Bundled up with morning coffees in hand and seated on a school bus, attendees at the “Reel Gone Round-Up” tapped their feet and clapped along to folk/punk band the Can Kickers rendition of “Cotton-Eyed Joe” as they were whisked away to the Bull Pen livestock barn for a secret screening at the True/False Film Festival.
Held Sunday morning, the last day of True/False, the event was a field trip for documentary lovers willing to risk the morning chill.
The group of about 125 boarded two yellow school buses outside the Blue Note for the short ride to the barn where “Secret Screening Blue” was to show.
Raine Rogers, 28, of Columbia, has been going to the documentary film festival for five years. This is her fourth time at the “Reel Gone Round-Up.”
“I’m pretty excited about this one," Rogers said while waiting to board a bus. "It’s about the prison rodeo, and when I was a kid I used to ride in the rodeo.”
The film follows male and female inmates as they compete once a year at a rodeo in Oklahoma. Secret screenings at True/False are designed to keep those films that have not yet had their world premiere on the down low.
There are five Secret Screenings at this year’s festival, each assigned a color: gold, green, red, silver and blue. Part of the agreement to show the five secret screenings this weekend was to keep the titles of the films and directors' names unknown, said Paul Sturtz, a festival co-director.
Upon arrival at the unique festival venue, guests were greeted with Lakota coffee and a kazoo. Although confused by the plastic instrument, the group was given no further instructions other than to grab a plate and enjoy the food.
Politely and skillfully, movie-goers balanced their orange juice, corn bread and breakfast casseroles as they crawled over new friends in attempt to navigate the theater’s narrow rows to find the perfect seat.
Jay Jones, a cowboy poet of Columbia, read two of his comedic poems about the “cowboy way of life” while the crowd laughed along and finished its breakfast.
The film’s director addressed the crowd before the screening..
“Thank you guys for coming, this is the perfect venue to show this,” the director said, before taking his seat to enjoy the show as part of the crowd.
But before the film could begin, everyone was asked to pull out their kazoos and play “Home on the Range” with the the Can Kickers. Only about half the crowd could get the kazoo to hum correctly, while the rest chuckled, kept the instrument in their laps and settled for singing along.