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True/False 2021 Film Fest Saw Decrease In Attendance

This year’s True/False Film Fest looked a little different than normal, including in its turnout.

The annual event saw a turnout of approximately 9,500 this year. While lower attendance was expected because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this was down about 37,000 tickets from last year.

Those in attendance accounted for 7,450 in-person tickets and 2,050 online, said Marketing and Communications Specialist LeeAnne Lowry. This included festival passes and the online Teleported True/False. However, those numbers were conditional based on the number of people that actually showed up and the number of times an event was streamed per device.

“We are a nonprofit, so we don’t really measure success in the same way other events might,” Lowry said in an email. “Yes, we need to perform to a certain level to maintain a budget like any org, but our goals aren’t to meet certain quantitative values.”

The Ragtag Film Society, which hosts the festival, “exists to captivate and engage communities in immersive arts experiences that explore assumptions and elicit shared joy, wonder and introspection,” as it says in its mission statement. That’s what it set out to do with True/False 2021 in spite of the pandemic.

“Our community has been isolated for a year, and our event was successful in giving people a safe space to leave their homes and experience a little bit of normalcy,” Lowry said in an email. “Filmmakers who toiled over their work for years got the chance to screen their films in front of live audiences. Same goes for musicians. They hone their craft and have perhaps been able to release music or perform virtually but haven’t felt that energy of sharing their music live. Visual artists displayed their art in a public place where people would actually walk by and take notice.

“It’s an understatement to say the past year was rough on everyone, and this event brought joy and hope where it was desperately needed.”