True/False Wrap Up

Lily Drage

The streets flooded with thousands of coat-swathed festival attendees as Columbia opened its doors to the 15th year of the True/False Film Festival. While each year Battle sends its sophomores to a screening of one of the films, it is a personal decision to attend any further viewings. Annually, 200 students across the district participate in Camp True/False. The camp allows high school students to view 8 films at the festival and also the DIY Day workshops.

Alexis Mendez, a sophomore, who engaged in Camp True/False, was excited by the reflection and understanding of the documentaries she viewed. Mendez suggested, “You can really be inspired or leave with knowledge, things you never knew.”

Though this was her first time at the festival, she said that it was a success. Mendez explained that the festival gives the community the chance to connect with one another. She went on to say, “It gives you an opportunity to see something through another person’s eyes: their struggles, their strengths, and their weaknesses.”

Mendez said that one thing she wished Battle would do was to encourage being a part of True/False. She suggested, “They could make like a mini Battle True/False.” Mendez went on to explain that Battle could have a day where films, made by students, were watched. She felt as if this festival could be conducted like a talent show, where students pick their favorite film. While the idea is inspiring, Mendez, acknowledges that for the time being it is but an idea.

This year the first viewing of the festival was taken part by sophomores of Columbia Public Schools. The students along with a handful of teachers saw “Amazing Grace,” a documentary about the recording of Aretha Franklin’s “Amazing Grace” at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles.

Clayton Elmy, kinesiology and biology teacher, was one of many teachers at the screening. Elmy indicated that he hadn’t been to the festival before. Elmy explained, “I’ve always heard about these things [how to purchase tickets and where the films are] but have not seen much information about how to go about all of this.”

Elmy believes that the festival is “really neat” in its variety of venues and films. He admitted, “It’s nice to see people get out and enjoy a unique aspect of Columbia.” Elmy feels as if the festival allows unique culture to be expressed in Columbia that people wouldn’t see elsewhere.

He explained, “True/False is something every year I want to participate in,” Elmy continued, “the whole process of getting tickets and seeing the movies sounds stressful!” Without the complications implemented by the pre-movie process, Elmy feels that the films and the questions asked after the films gives a unique experience to film viewing.

For a few years some of the Battle counselors have visited the festival. Jacob Biener has attended the festival 10 out of the 11 years he’s lived in the area. Biener and his wife buy passes so they can reserve seats at the movies during the festival. He admitted, “I like to watch a lot of documentaries already.”

Biener suggested that it is more significant to watch a film, like those at the festival, on its first or second screening. He expressed, “The atmosphere of watching it with so many other people kind of makes it better.”

One thing that Biener noted is the learning experience that audience members can derive from the films. He explained, “You can learn people’s stories.”

The next True/False Film Festival will be March 5-8, 2020. If you are looking to attend the festival or participate in the Camp or DIY Day workshops visit the True/False website at