Columbia, Missouri—With equally deep senses of loss and pride, the Ragtag Film Society shares the news that our long-time, visionary film programmer, Chris Boeckmann, is leaving the organization and moving on to new adventures. We will miss his exceptional talent and voice as a programmer, his thoughtfulness as a writer and critic, and his kindness and good humor, but we are eager to see what he will accomplish next in the film world and beyond.
Over the past 14 years, Boeckmann has grown alongside True/False; from his early days as a festival intern (beginning in 2006), to Fest film programmer (starting in 2009), Ragtag Cinema programmer (2017-2019), and most recently, as RFS Director of Programming (2019-2020). Chris has always been a voracious film watcher and researcher, steadily rising to become one of the world’s preeminent documentary programmers, in no small part due to his diligence, curiosity and persistence in tracking down unseen and unheralded work. During his time at RFS, Boeckmann has been instrumental in visioning initiatives small and large; from carefully crafting hundreds of personalized submission response letters to artists and shepherding our burgeoning screening committee in their consideration of the documentary form, to creating new programs.
Boeckmann spearheaded the Neither/Nor Series, a festival retrospective sidebar that pairs a film writer with an underappreciated body of form-challenging documentary work in critical exploration; the inaugural presentation of this series was presented at the 2013 iteration of True/False. Neither/Nor is supported by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and has shone a light on a wide variety of ground-breaking film movements from Poland, Iran, and the UK’s Black Audio Film Collective, among others.
As a person, colleague, and curator, Boeckmann is genuinely invested in issues of justice and fairness. In his work with RFS he has embodied those values—taking every chance to challenge existing power structures onscreen and off, programming diverse work at Ragtag Cinema, and collaborating with our Community Partnerships and Education team to advance RFS’ Media Literacy initiatives. He will always have an esteemed place in the history of RFS and in how we watch, talk about, and digest film.
About his departure Boeckmann said, “I’m so grateful for my time with this organization. I’ve had the great fortune of working alongside many generous, talented, and patient colleagues who have pushed me to grow as a viewer, a programmer, and a person. I’m indebted to them and proud of the work we’ve done together. I’m also grateful to the thousands of people in the mid-Missouri community who have made this work so rewarding. Most recently, it’s been an honor to program alongside Amir and Jeanelle. I’m excited to see them build on this past edition.”
As the organization heads into a critical year for our communities and industry given a global pandemic, we will lean even more into our continual work of re-imagining what a film festival is and can be. In the service of that aim, we are pleased to announce that True/False Co-Founder David Wilson will be re-joining the team to serve as Interim Artistic Director for the coming year. We are grateful to have his vision, his creative optimism, and his deep well of knowledge in tackling this unusual juncture. We are also delighted that Amir George and Jeanelle Augustin—both of whom, in their short time with True/False, have already begun to make a lasting impact—will be returning to the True/False programming team with Wilson.