In early 2016, Columbia Public Schools, Ragtag Film Society, and the Columbia Public Schools Foundation announced a new, landmark multi-year partnership that brings together film, the CPS curriculum, and teacher training. Our Media Literacy initiative is a year-round program that supports teacher efforts to incorporate more film and multimedia into their classrooms.

We believe that as we catapult into a world of ever-changing media, distribution platforms, and news outlets, we owe our students the skills to be thoughtful, critical consumers of media. They deserve the tools to think consciously about the ways their world is presented to them and the ways they present their world. Our primary goals are to increase the presence of film in core classrooms, help teachers and students learn to read film as text, and to cultivate and enhance critical thinking skills as teachers and students practice analyzing new media.

After a successful pilot year, we’re now accepting applications from interested teachers for the 2019 season! We’re seeking teachers eager to incorporate more film / media literacy into their classrooms and who are able to commit to the meeting and training schedule with minimal absences.  Applications for the 2018-2019 Media Literacy Initiative are currently closed. Stay tuned, applications for the 2019-2020 Media Literacy Initiative will be available in Summer 2019!

Stay in the loop with the initiative’s goings-on via our website news, newsletter, and social media channels
Questions? Contact our Education Director at: [email protected]


Each year, a select group of high school students dive deeply into the True/False Film Fest and experience a weekend of exciting films, music, art, conversations, and workshops with a diverse crew of exceptional guests and local hosts. Starting a couple months before the festival, the Boot Camp convenes to prepare for the fest, discuss relevant issues, share research, and plot their course. Camp T/F brings students with varying interests insider access the fest.


On the Friday morning of the Fest, 10th graders from across all four Columbia public high schools take busses to the Missouri Theatre where a busker greets them with music and they watch a festival film. Afterwards, students participate in a Q&A with a filmmaker and learn about the challenges and subject of the film. For many students, this is their first time in the Theatre and their first T/F experience.

After the screening, several hundred self-selected students walk a few blocks to the North Village Arts District where an afternoon of interactive artist workshops begin! Students break out into small groups and congregate at multiple artistic spaces and studios where a T/F filmmaker, artist, or musician leads a workshop. After a handful of workshops, we reconvene and get ready to march in the March March, T/F’s annual anybody-can-join parade.

Sign-ups will be open for the 2019 DIY Day in January 2019.


T/F is happy to come to you!  If you want someone to come in and talk to your class or club about the Fest, how to get tickets, or this year’s films, we’ve got a whole team of volunteers ready to visit!  In the past, we’ve hosted discussions in Social Studies, Language Arts, Foreign Language, and Theatre classrooms, homerooms, and much more. For more information, contact Allison Coffelt.

T/F also brings the True Life Fund director to all four high schools for an assembly in the days directly preceding the Fest.  In these meetings, the director plays clips of the film, gives background information, and answers questions from students.  It’s a unique opportunity for both the students and the director; both groups often say it’s favorite part of the Fest.


This year, we’re again excited to offer a special window of time, exclusively for educational tickets, for students or educators to reserve a bulk ticket order. This is especially great for teachers who would like to attend a particular film with a class or clubs and organizations who want to see a film as a group. Come February, there will be a short window of time for group ticket requests. The form for group ticket requests will be found here and distributed among interested groups. For more information, contact [email protected].


Of course, you can volunteer! There are plenty of teams that need enthusiastic, committed, responsible volunteers. Dive into the volunteer app or email [email protected] to learn more.