Camp True/False

At True/False, we recognize that many students are already documentarians; they are constantly recording, archiving, and compiling fragments of their daily lives. They are making rhetorical and editorial decisions on social media platforms. They are in a world of ever-changing media, and it is essential to have the skills to be thoughtful, discerning creators and consumers.

Now in its eighth year, Camp True/False is an essential festival program led by the year-round Community Partnerships and Education Team. We believe that we have a responsibility as a mission-driven arts organization to provide accessible educational opportunities through cinema, and this free program, focused on documentary filmmaking and media literacy, has been a successful and impactful approach. Camp T/F is a vital tool for students across Missouri that not only encourages students to explore careers within the arts, but inspires the participants—especially those less accustomed to seeing themselves represented in media—to see themselves as capable storytellers whose voices and contributions have value.

Camp takes place Friday through Sunday of True/False for high school students—who, pre-pandemic, came to Columbia from all across the country (since 2020, efforts have been much more locally focused by necessity). Students follow a thoughtfully curated path through the festival, and beyond watching films, they have access to filmmakers, opportunities to make media art through workshops, establish lifelong connections with other student storytellers, and engage deeply on topics of media literacy.

Through this media literacy lens, we ask students to actively consider what they are ingesting: why a piece of media was made, what its central message is, whose perspective and bias it acknowledges—and doesn’t. All media is text, and it is our belief that students have within them the potential to be both media-makers and critics. We want them to leave this program with skills to interrogate media beyond film and the ability to be more civically and critically engaged in their own communities.

In Fall 2024, we will begin accepting applications for both Camp Campers as well as Camp Counselors for True/False 2025! Stay tuned for dates and details. For questions about all things Camp, contact our Education Programmer, Gabby Galarza.

Video by Audrey Roloff