People on floats, unicycles or their own two feet make their way down the streets of downtown Columbia, donning their handmade props and costumes in a 55-second video on the True/False Film Festival website.
A beat of a drumline bursts in the air. Some dance along and others stand on the sides and gaze at the product of imagination and creativity. It’s the annual event that marks the beginning of True/False.
The festival’s signature kickoff March March Parade will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday. It will start at the Boone County Courthouse Square, march its way down Ninth Street and end at the Missouri Theatre.
The Marching Mizzou Drumline is participating again this year, along with the MU Mule Team, the Collegiate Shag Band and Mucca Pazza, a Chicago-based “street style marching band.”
“The last few years, Marching Mizzou drumline has been part of the parade,” says David Wilson, one of the festival’s co-conspirators. “People gather around them and dance, and hopefully True/False is that thing that knits the local community and the college community together.”
Jonathon Shipman, the drumline’s section leader, has participated since the drumline first joined the parade in 2010. He says the drumline plays music that is normally used at the football games to get the people pumped up. The drumline is usually the last group to trail the parade, but Shipman says it adds a different element and a different change of pace.
“It’s one of the things that we look forward to every year, and the second semester there aren’t football games, so we don’t have a lot of opportunities to play, and we’re lucky they keep asking us to come,” Shipman says. “You see some really interesting things, some things you’ve definitely never seen before.”
One of the things Shipman says that he will never forget is the memory of a woman dressed up as a tree. She had tree branches and leaves all over herself, her face barely visible.
“These people go all out,” Shipman says. “You see people on unicycles. It’s like a mini circus, but it’s a lot of fun. I think it’s a great chance for everybody to show off their creativity. It’s really cool to see the ideas people get, things you thought weren’t possible for people to create.”
Since 2007, the fourth year of the film festival, the parade has been an annual hallmark that kicks off the festival’s events.
Imagination and creativity are two foundations of the festival and its films, and co-conspirators Paul Sturtz and Wilson hope to share those values with the people of Columbia. By holding a parade in which anybody can make his or her own costumes and floats, everyone can celebrate the beginning of a weekend event full of films that are created from thoughtful consideration and new trends and styles.
“This is a very handmade festival,” Wilson says. “It’s not a corporate event. Everything about the fest one way or another is done by hand, so this parade feels like a part of that … It’s pretty free form and loose. It really celebrates the community coming together and making art.”