Field Sessions are close encounters between artists that provide an unsurpassed intimacy that can’t be achieved in a multi-person panel. Each session is a conversational deep dive into the ideas that shape nonfiction filmmaking in 2023. 

All Field Sessions take place at Compass Inc (1107 University Ave) and are free & open to the public. 

Friday, Mar 3 / 11am-Noon

Kristen Lovell (The Stroll) and Michèle Stephenson & Joe Brewster (Going To Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project) center Black, queer and trans community stories through intimate, personal connections and precious archives. Through beautiful, personal retelling, using animation and afrofuturism, the filmmakers frame their subjects within the lens to reproduce a transformative representation of often underrepresented communities. The filmmakers will discuss their work to preserve history and imagine new queer futures that center healing and the love of our chosen families.

Saturday, Mar 4 / 11am-Noon

Terra Long (Feet in Water, Head on Fire) and Sebastian Pinzon Silva and Canela Reyes (La Bonga) weave their narratives through intimate, community-based stories centered on the connection to land and heritage in Southern California and Colombia, respectively. Through beautifully shot sensory experiences, the filmmakers showcase the ecosystem of the community and weave together personal stories of struggles and successes. The filmmakers, along with their collaborators, will examine the use of the lens to lead viewers through meditative journeys about community bonding and healing through the process.

Saturday, Mar 4 / 2:30pm-3:30pm

Amiel Courtin-Wilson (Man on Earth) and Elizabeth Mirzaei (Natalia) center their cameras on intimate, character-driven stories that are told through a lens of care and healing. Each filmmaker’s close bond with their protagonists radiates throughout the storytelling in vulnerable and tender scenes. Through this discussion, the filmmakers will dive into the ethics of storytelling centered on connections and healing in an individual and communal sense.

Sunday, Mar 5 / Noon-1pm

Persian-American director Sierra Urich (Joonam) and Danish-Pakistani director Anita Mathal Hopland (Moosa Lane) aim their cameras to examine their family’s immigrant, intergenerational stories. They grapple with the distance from their motherlands and cultures through intimate, raw personal stories and nuanced conversations. Both filmmakers will discuss their impetus towards first-person narratives, uncovering the proximity of ancestry and challenge of belonging.


Friday, Mar 3 / 9:30am-10:30am / meet at the Blue Note
Sunday, Mar 5 / 11am-Noon / meet at the Uprise Gallery 

Join Art Installations Curator, Sarah Nguyen, as she takes you through a guided walking tour of the public art installations and exhibitions offered this year. 

Friday, Mar 3 / 1pm-2:15pm / Compass Inc.

Film criticism is a vital part of the film ecosystem, promoting the visibility of films and filmmakers to connect with audiences. In an “ask me anything” style panel, film critics will reflect on the realities and challenges of the profession. To help foster a transparent environment, the session will be off-the-record and we ask what is discussed in the room, stays in the room. This event is presented in partnership with Seen journal and will be moderated by Dessane Lopez Cassell, Editor-in-Chief of Seen.

This event is free and open to all but please sign up in advance via this form.

Friday, Mar 3 / 3pm-4pm / Compass Inc.

This year we relinquished control of the bumpers shown prior to each film screening and commissioned four artists with an open brief to share an experiment with us. The bumpers were created by filmmakers Jude Chehab, Onyeka Igwe, Ésery Mondésir, and Tulapop Saenjaroen. This session invites the artists to share their creative process for making T/F bumpers.



Friday, Mar 3 / 9pm-10:20pm / Talking Horse Productions 

This year our cozy campfire crops up on St. James street at Talking Horse where Springfield’s own Steven Senger guides us through an evening of storytelling. Filmmakers Chloe Abrahams (The Taste of Mango), Milisuthando Bongela (Milisuthando), Alexander Abaturov (Paradise)—among others—share tales about the scenes that got away. S’more-y treats provided by Jill and Goldie’s Bagels. Ticket required.


Saturday, Mar 4 / 10pm-Midnight / Showtime Theater @ The Blue Note 

America’s most raucous documentary game show, hosted by Brian Babylon, a Chicago-born comic who can be found on “Why? with Hannibal Buress” and “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”, is back again to surprise and delight its loyal audiences, and convert new fans left, right, and center. Local filmmakers try to stump a panel of Fest filmmakers with their entirely true or entirely false 2 minute shorts. Ticket required. Presented by Showtime


Monday, Mar 6 / Midnight-2:30am / Cafe Berlin

Wind down from T/F 2023 with new and old friends and good food at Cafe Berlin, while being endlessly entertained as Fest guests interact with local airwave provocateurs, Mystery Science Radio 3000. Open to all; admission is free, waffles are not.



Thursday, Mar 2 / 5:15pm-6:30pm / Missouri Theatre

Sponsored by Simmons Bank, our interpretation of an opening night gala has it all: Drink Monday mock-tails, a 360 degree photo booth, Shortwave coffee, live music by Mobile Funk Unit, creative comestibles provided by CACC culinary students, and adult bevs courtesy of Schlafly, Broadway Brewery, Waves Cider Co, and The Blufftop at Rocheport. The party flows between the theater lobby and the Fest’s palatial party pavilion on ninth street with food & bev in both. Come wearing your favorite ballgown, bowtie, or CoMo couture—don’t forget your mask—and toast the 20th Fest prior to the screening of Hummingbirds at the Missouri Theatre. Open to Center and above.


Thursday, Mar 2 / 10:30pm-1am / Dogmaster Distillery

Presented by 30 for 30, this evening’s late-night festivity gives our attending shorts filmmakers some much-deserved limelight. As the evening’s arbiters bibendi, you’ll need to chat them up to get a drink ticket for beer, wine, or one of Dogmaster’s signature cocktails. Open to Super/Silver Circle.


Friday, Mar 3 / 5:15pm-5:45pm / Boone County Courthouse Square to Ninth & Locust

March Missouri merrily into March at this all-ages, community-wide parade that many call the highlight of the year. Costumes encouraged, unironic glee required (just no advertising, politicking, or motorized vehicles). This raucous spectacle is led by our own King of Queens, Ron Ironic Ribiat. Free and open to the public.


Friday, Mar 4 / 5:30pm-6:45pm / Missouri Theatre

A tradition as old as the Fest itself, Reality Bites is our communal breaking of bread (and other delectables). Directly following the March March, let the revelry flow right into The Sculpture Yard and the theater lobby where you can sample tastes from a wide array of Columbia’s best restaurants. Enjoy wine from Les Bourgeois Vineyards on The Blufftop at Rocheport, beer brewed by Schlafly and Broadway Brewery, and cider from Waves Cider Co. while listening to the sweet, sweet tunes of Moriah Bailey inside and Gora Gora Orkestar outside! Open to Center and above.


Friday, Mar 3 / 10pm-1am / Gold Bar

Experience The Gold Bar’s transformation into a full-throttle warehouse rave, as STL’s infamous Materia crew takes command of the ritual @CTION Party. Be there when the Fest weekend drops as doses of hip-hop, house, techno, and more fuse together into a mesmeric sensory package sure to keep you moving till the close. Ticket required.


Saturday, Mar 4 / 4pm-6pm / Orr Street Studios  

Hosted by our friends at Orr Street Studios, the Fête is our banquet to honor visiting fimmakers and fellows featuring sweet and savory offerings from The Bistro. Enjoy wine and brandy courtesy of Les Bourgeois Vineyards and Rocheport Distilling Co., both brought to you by The Blufftop at Rocheport; beer from Schlafly and Broadway Brewery, cider from Waves Cider Co., and hand-brewed coffee from Shortwave Coffee—all while gazing upon new work by the artists of Orr Street Studios. Open to Super/Silver Circle passholders; ticket included in packet.


Sunday, Mar 5 / 5:30pm-7pm / Missouri Theatre & The Sculpture Yard

Prior to Bobi Wine: The People’s President at the Missouri Theatre on Sunday evening, enjoy one last reception to close out the Fest—now catered for nineteen years by the stalwarts at Addison’s restaurant. The drinks flow courtesy of Les Bourgeois Vineyards on The Blufftop at Rocheport, beer brewed by Schlafly and Broadway Brewery, or cider from Waves Cider Co, plus Shortwave coffee for those feeling themselves starting to slow down. You’ll want to stay energized for this. Ticket required. Presented by Addison’s American Grill

Visit our archives for previous year’s programming: