True/False: Experience with Fest: 6-time volunteer, 1st time Queen, longtime attendee

Submitted by Abbie Brown

I was a Queen at the True/False Film Festival this year!  That might sound like a pageant title, but it’s actually the name of one of the volunteer roles within the festival.  Queens are flamboyantly-costumed volunteers who work at each of the film venues, run the ticket lines, and answer questions from attendees.  They are a very visible part of the festival, but they are only one role of the dozens and dozens of volunteer roles that are needed to make this nonprofit festival run.  This was my first year as a Queen, but I’ve been volunteering with the festival since 2010 in a number of different roles.

The True/False Film Festival is an amazing experience.  It’s not just a great opportunity to see world-class documentary film (brand new films, straight out of Sundance), but it’s also a homegrown, locally-run, nonprofit festival full of art, music, food, and friendly people.  It’s totally unique in that way, and it’s gained a big reputation among filmmakers and critics as a place where film takes precedence (not celebrity and fame).  Filmmakers come from all over the world to be part of this!

I have attended the festival as a passholder and I have seen lots of great films, but the volunteer experience is the reason that True/False is my favorite weekend of the year.  I keep increasing my volunteer time and responsibilities and, as a result, I only see one film each year at most.  But I’ll get to see the films later.  True/False, for me, is a time to be fully immersed in helping the festival run.  More than 800 people volunteer for the festival every year, from high school students to retirees.  They run the venues, the box office, and the merch tables.  They create art, music, parades, and food.  They haul trash, build and break down venue decorations.  They come from Columbia and St. Louis and even far out of town- I met one volunteer this weekend who travels here from Seattle just to volunteer.  And the festival is worth it- organizing and treating volunteers really well!  Happy, knowledgeable volunteers add to the spirit and energy of the festival.

If you’ve never attended True/False before, I hope you’ll put it on your to-do list.  Come and see the March March parade, or just walk around town and enjoy the good vibes.  But if you want to see a film, you do not need a reserved ticket or a festival pass to see one!  For many films (especially daytime screenings), you can just walk in and pay at the door.  It’s a little more complicated than that, but feel free to contact me and I’ll walk you through the process.  I love True/False.


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