Volunteers carry True/False Film Fest

Hundreds of volunteers worked the venues at this year's Film Fest.

For the eighth year, True/False Film Fest transformed downtown Columbia, bringing together the community with films, speakers, events, parties and live music. But what makes the event run smoothly each year are the hundreds of volunteers.

"We have people who give up their entire weekend to really bend over backwards to make this fest go," Missouri Theatre venue captain Kanani May said. "I know that all of the core staff really understands that. They're so grateful for the volunteers, and they do so much to express their appreciation."

May has been working at True/False since its inception. Before she assumed the position as a venue captain, May was the house manager of the Missouri Theatre. Being a juggernaut volunteer, May is required to put in at least 40 hours throughout the weekend. But between prep work, meetings and walkthroughs, May estimated putting in approximately 50 to 60 hours during the weekend.

"I don't really keep track," May said. "I just know I put in some organization time before the fest and then live here for the entire weekend once it gets underway."

Working at the largest venue at the fest, May stressed the need for her staff to run like clockwork to get the guests in and out since they have the same amount of time as smaller venues to do so.

Senior Tim Pfeiffer also volunteered at the Missouri Theatre. Pfeiffer worked as a venue op and helped out with the "Q" system.

Pfeiffer said he's been seeing films at True/False since he was a freshman, and last year he and a friend decided to volunteer because they loved it so much.

"I really like films," Pfeiffer said. "I'm glad that Columbia has its own film scene. Every year, everyone gets excited about it, and I get excited about it. People come from all over, and we all just see really cool documentaries."

Globe Theatre house manager and Stephens College alumna Katie Hays has been around True/False since its beginning, but this is her first year officially volunteering for the festival.

Hays said she really enjoyed her time working as a volunteer. She likes the people she's gotten the opportunity to meet and the perks of being a juggernaut volunteer, such as getting into events early.

"I think it's really cool that people would want to come to this small town in Missouri and hang out for a weekend," Hays said. "Columbia is really quirky, and True/False absorbs all these quirks that Columbia has and really exemplifies them."

Without the volunteers, Hays said, True/False would just be a mere idea and not the festival it is today.

"The entire idea (of True/False) from the beginning has been incredibly fascinating," May said. "I know Paul (Sturtz) and David (Wilson) through Ragtag, and they have such a tremendous vision not only for (True/False), but for what it brings to our Columbia community and what it contributes to the film community."

True/False Film Fest progresses and improves every year, May said.

"The excitement about the fest grows each year, and I just love it," May said. "When the fest is nearing its end and we're all exhausted, it all doesn't matter. It just makes you want to come right back and do it again next year."

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