Ragtag Needs Robots!

Posted October 10, 2012

The True/False Film Fest quite simply could not exist without Ragtag Cinema. Over the last 14 years Ragtag has grown in Columbia, Missouri from an obscure film series at the Blue Note, to an intrepid one-screen Cinemacafe on Tenth Street, to, finally, an essential two-screen theater in Hittsville. And since 2004 we’ve grown alongside Ragtag, always leaning for support upon its dedicated staff, its loyal patrons and its boundless energy. It is our conjoined twin with which we share a parent organization and, broadly speaking, a unified mission of cultural enrichment, expanded media literacy and downtown placemaking.

Now Ragtag Cinema needs your help to continue this mission.

Beginning in January 2013, the distributor of many of Ragtag Cinema’s highest grossing films such as Little Miss Sunshine, Black Swan and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel will replace 35mm film with the Digital Cinema Package (or DCP) as their exclusive format for the distribution of movies. Other major distributors have indicated they plan to finalize this conversion in the following 6 to 12 months. This means that in less than a year, film as we have known it will nearly cease to exist. Without the proper projection equipment to exhibit movies in the new digital formats, Ragtag’s economic viability will be severely compromised. Ticket sales from these high-profile films pay the operational costs of the cinema and enable the rest of its mission. Like nearly every independent theater in this country, Ragtag finds itself racing to raise the funds necessary to make this technological leap.

To this end, Ragtag has launched a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising the $80,000 needed to complete the digital conversion of both of her theaters. In order for Ragtag to receive anything, this amount must be pledged by November 10th.

As happens frequently in Columbia, amazing and talented people have stepped forward, ensuring that this critical fundraiser will be a success. Artist Greg Orloff has created Lumen the Robot, who was unveiled last week at the campaign’s launch.

Filmmaker Chelsea Myers and Artist Greg Orloff with Lumen

Lumen is for sale in the second part of the fundraiser, a silent auction ending November 10th. The minimum bid is $10,000. If you are interested please contact Ragtag’s executive director, Tracy Lane, at You can meet Lumen in person at the Columbia Art League, where he will be residing until the end of the month when he moves to the Perlow-Stevens Gallery. You can also follow him on Twitter at @LumenRobot, where he dispenses robotic wisdom into the ether.

Filmmaker Chelsea Myers, co-director of our 2012 Fest videos, created this charming short starring Lumen, depicting Ragtag’s entry into the robotic age.

Time is pressing. Please consider helping both Ragtag and True/False continue to flourish in their shared digital future. Every little bit helps.