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Columbia, Missouri holds a piece of my heart in its eclectic downtown area that is home to the True/False Film Festival. I worked as a screener for the True/False Film Fest last year and the ability to attend the festival meant seeing the realization of all of my, and my co-screeners’, hard work over the 6 months we labored over our assigned films. I truly believe there is no better experience for film students than attending a film festival, no matter the size.

Seeing 4 or 5 films in one day is a one of a kind experience, when the filmmakers are present for Q+A discussions after all of them, it is transcendental. I came to each screening armed with a small notebook and pen, ready to write down everything the filmmaker said about their film practice. From their words, and more importantly from their films, I learned and felt so much.

Late on Friday I sat with two Bijou members in a screening of Treasure Island by Guillaume Brac and we all heartily laughed at the childish antics of the film and the next morning, after a screening of Island of the Hungry Ghosts by Gabrielle Brady, me and Jess Roy, the Bijou Finance Director, both hunched over in our seats and sobbed together. These kinds of intense responses to film, so close to one another, stretch your mind and body to a kind of emotional breaking point. I left the festival feeling more inspired and passionate about cinema than ever.


Written by Molly Bagnall, After Hours committee member. Photo by Aaron Longoria, Open Screen committee member, with True/False panelist photo featuring co-director Nanfu Wang from One Child Nation, as well as an interpreter and moderator.

Photo album featuring Bijou Board attendees here.

Video essay, “True/False from a First-Timer’s Perspective,” published by VOX Magazine, featuring Bijou Finance Director Jess Roy, here.

Bijou Banter episode with a recap of the trip, featuring Molly (After Hours), Bijou Finance Director Jess Roy, and Sam McCrory (Film Forum committee member) here.

Category: true/false festival

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