True/False’s Operations Director shares the ins and outs of this year’s festival floor plan.
Like many, Carly Love found her passion for True/False through the volunteer program. 2021 marks her ninth year with the fest and her inaugural year as Operations Director. As Operations Director, Carly is responsible for the flow of the entire festival, coordinating the layout of the venues with how attendees move through them. This year, Carly and her team have navigated new challenges in creating a safe and seamless festival experience.
How does the role of Operations Director look this year as compared with previous years?
This year how people move through the fest is much more detailed work, because in a normal year, we’re inside venues like the Missouri Theatre that are built out already for experiences like sitting to watch a movie. At Stephens Lake Park, we are taking a blank slate and having to build what the venue looks like. A lot of my team’s work has been centered on how people move through these new venues, what that looks like from a ticketing standpoint, and what kind of staff and equipment it takes to make that successful.
How are you building out the park?
We’re using almost all of the park, and a lot of that is for sound. We can’t put four screens in the same area of the park, because that sound will travel and your movie will be interrupted by another movie.
What can attendees expect at the festival this year?
We will have films every night on four screens at the park – two screens at Ragtag, and a drive-in venue at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. On Saturday and Sunday, there will be concerts during the day at the amphitheater and Twelve Point, and on Saturday night we will still host our Gimme Truth game show. We also were approved for Flick-Nic which will basically be a giant picnic in lieu of our Jubilee or Reality Bytes events.
What does seating look like?
Every venue will have pods marked on the ground for seating two, three, or four-person groups, six feet between all pods, and one-way aisles. When you arrive at the park, you will pick up a pod seating assignment so there is some flexibility on who you sit with and at what movie.
A big part of the festival is based around queuing. Is that still something that will take place this year?
Yes, there will still be a queue. It will just be much smaller due to the physical distancing that is necessary for both the lines and the seating arrangements. When a show goes NRT, the amount of seats that will be available is about half of what it used to be for a regular queue.
How have health precautions affected the plan?
I actually have a degree in occupational therapy and am a practicing therapist so some of my background in health has come in handy with navigating and understanding the health precautions we need to take. We are following the same guidelines as everywhere else. Our attendees are required to wear masks, are asked to perform frequent handwashing, and sit six feet apart from anyone outside their household or “quarenteam”.
Would the festival consider remaining an outdoor event in the future?
We are looking forward to being back in the downtown footprint when public health permits. We love being downtown with our venues, and it’s not just that we miss the venues – we miss the people a lot, too.
Of course, we have to ask: What film (or films) are you most excited to see this year?
I’m still planning what I’d like to see! We did get Summer of Soul which is a film by Questlove about the 1969 Harlem cultural festival. I’m excited we get to see that here in Columbia. It’s a unique time to really dive deeper into this culture and history.
For more information on True/False’s health precautions, films, venues, or how to attend, visit True/False Film Fest.