The True/False Film Fest is back again this year with a mostly outdoor, five-day-long event. It begins Wednesday and goes through Sunday, with most of its events taking place at Stephens Lake Park.

The first day of True/False will kick off with six films and two shorts programs to play at various theaters beginning at 7 p.m.

Wednesday’s films include “From the Wild Sea,” “This Rain Will Never Stop,” “Homeroom” and more. “This Rain Will Never Stop,” for example, is a black-and-white film about Andriy Suleyman, who flees the war in Syria but is confronted with being on the front lines in Ukraine. “From the Wild Sea” is about a marine animal rescue team and deals with the clash between humans and nature.

Many more films will be showcased the following days. To look at the full schedule, visit truefalse.org/program/schedule.

Something special this year is that True/False will be the first to screen Questlove’s film, “Summer of Soul,” in person before it airs in movie theaters. Stacie Pottinger, the director of development and communications for the festival, said it was a huge feat to acquire the rights to show the film in “little Columbia, Missouri.”

“I’m really excited to have people come and get to watch that under the stars together and just experience that together,” Pottinger said.

“Summer of Soul” highlights how the Harlem Cultural Festival, featuring six Sunday concerts over nine weeks in 1969, “provided a vital diversion from the tumultuous chaos of America.”

There will also be a virtual aspect to True/False this year. The at-home viewing experience includes boxes of goodies for those who purchased “Teleported Fest Passes.”

“We have delivered treasure boxes — like 30 pounds — full of stuff that is cool and that will help you relate to the film and the experience of what people are having here locally,” Pottinger said. “We’re trying to make it so that you can feel like you’re here at the fest and not just at home watching films on your TV screen but creating your own film fest.”

Typically, venues are spread across Columbia and include places like Jesse Auditorium, the Missouri Theatre and The Blue Note. With this year’s festival taking place outside, most of its venues are within Stephens Lake Park. One is a drive-in that is a 10-15 minute drive away, in the Holiday Inn Executive Center parking lot, with nightly screenings. Some films will play at Ragtag Cinema.

Attendees can also expect some fan-favorite food trucks located throughout the park, including The Big Cheeze, The Night Owl Eatery and Big Daddy’s BBQ in the Gordon Shelter lot. Jamaican Jerk Hut, Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co., Patty Wagon and Pizza Tree will be located in the East lot.

While attending the fest, people are encouraged by organizers to take advantage of the slower days to visit some of the downtown partners.

In the park, True/False will have CoMo Square, a shopping village with retail goods and services from businesses and nonprofits, alongside a food and beverage zone with local vendors and a fenced-in seating area.

The shop’s attendees can expect to see Amplified Productions, Boone Olive Oil Co., Bubblecup Tea Zone, Hemp Hemp Hooray and many more local businesses.

CoMo Square will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

It includes a satellite box office, which will be open 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Since the venues are in a park, walking is one of the best ways to get around, along with biking.

While there is no general event parking available at Stephens Lake Park, shuttles will bring people from downtown to the park. There are several parking garages within walking distance of the True/False shuttle stops. There is also metered parking throughout downtown.

Shuttle pickup and drop-off points downtown include:

• Rose Music Park.

• North Fifth Street and East Walnut Street parking garage.

• Cherry Street and Eighth Street.

• Ragtag Cinema.

There will be accessible parking spaces located near different venues. To be admitted into the parking lot, attendees will need an ADA hangtag. For accommodations requests, contact Operations Director Carly Love at carly@truefalse.org or call at 573-442-8783.

Those without passes who would like to attend individual screenings can purchase tickets to available films online or at the Ragtag Cinema Box Office.

Screening tickets are $15 at the Ragtag Cinema Box Office and the Park Box Office Tent. Drive-in tickets are $40 per car. Student tickets cost $10 and are only available at the Park Box Office Tent. To get the discount, students must present a valid student ID at time of purchase.

Some other events taking place throughout the festival include The Flick-nic and kickball. The audience can laugh along with documentary game show “Gimme Truth!” on Saturday and have breakfast during Waffles with Wilson, a Sunday morning spent with festival co-founder and interim Artistic Director David Wilson slinging waffles.

Tickets are $20 each for Gimme Truth! and Waffles with Wilson.

“Bring your chair, bring your blanket, come to the park and have a really good time,” Pottinger said.

For more information, including a full list of films and events, go to truefalse.org or call 442-8783.

  • General Assignment Reporter, Spring 2021 Studying Journalism with an emphasis in Magazine Writing Reach me at kelsy.armstrong@umsystem.edu, or in the newsroom at (573) 882-5700

  • Assistant city editor, spring 2021. Studying print and digital news journalism. Reach me at skylarlaird@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720.

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