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EXAM: True/False Helps Local Students Become Next Generation of Filmmakers


The True/False Film Fest wrapped up last week, bringing filmgoers from around the world to celebrate the year’s newest documentaries. The festival, which is in its 12th year, brings the intimate and harsh truths of storytelling to life. Although the festival mainly focuses on the films and their directors, local high school students were given the opportunity to dive into one of Columbia's richest traditions. KBIA's Marissanne Lewis-Thompson spoke with the festivals education director Polina Malikin about the importance of the film festival for students. 

Lewis-Thompson: For the students this has been going on since the very beginning or?

Malikin: Yeah, since True/False was started, True/False is a non-profit and it's a part of the same non-profit that ragtag cinema is a part of. And both organizations from the very start their mission has been to support students locally. So we do all kinds of stuff at ragtag year round. We host like hundreds of free field trips and things like that so, anything that we can do to bring students in and to you know share what we love with the next generation is always been a part of the festival.

Lewis-Thompson: So, is this just solely for students in Columbia or is it for students like all over mid-Missouri?

Malikin: It's for students all over the world. Any students who want to participate. So we have a group here from Kansas City, a group from Lawrence, a group from Iowa. We have had filmmakers who are also teachers bring their students. Almost every year a group has come in from Ohio and brought their students. So one of things that we hope to fundraise for is to make it easier for local students, as well as national students to be able to travel here.

Lewis-Thompson: Ok, and so what activities are there for students to participate in like while they're here for True False?

Malikin: So we recruit students ahead of time to do something called the boot camp, which is our special program where we take students on this sort of intense behind the scenes ride through the festival. So they get to see a ton of films, meet filmmakers, musicians, artists, they get to specify what their interest is. Is it journalism, or storytelling, or filmmaking, or music or art and we create this program for them--this four-day program where they get to experience the entire fest. It's a very intensive program. We ask them to create a personal project like a documentary project of some kind based on their festival experience. So that's one way that students participate. Yesterday we did something that is called DIY day, which was for local public school students. We hosted 1,200 students at the Missouri Theatre. Every single 10th grader in the Columbia Public Schools was invited to come and watch "What Happened, Miss Simone?" So that's a new program that we have.

Lewis-Thompson: So what's the importance of an event like this for students?

Malikin: So the festival as a whole even though it's called a film festival is much more than that. It's a community event and a citywide celebration, and for me what's important to show students is that a bunch of people got together you know 12, 13 years ago and said 'hey we want to make this awesome cultural event in the middle of Missouri and we believe that we can make that happen. And they had this dream and they worked and they worked and they stuck with it and they had a lot of good luck and a ton of support but they are able to make it happen, and now we have this international beloved festival in the middle of Missouri in a small city in the middle of nowhere quote on quote. To me that is just so inspiring. So whether you're interested in becoming a filmmaker or interested in art and music it doesn't matter. What's important to me is that students see that people in their community are doing this amazing thing.

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