Enduring ‘Q’ exposes quirkiness of festival

Avantika Khatri

Festival-goers are among the first in Q to see “Summer of Giacomo.” Some waited for more than 90 minutes just to receive a Q number. Photo by Avantika Khatri
At 1:20 p.m. documentary enthusiasts filled the side patio in the Ragtag . In spite of the wind and precipitation that the tarp covering did not hold back, they were all there to see “Secret Screening Orange” at 2:30 p.m.
While trying to figure out what was going on, I found another man waiting for the showing of “Summer of Giacomo” at 3 p.m. Finally at 1:30 p.m. the Secret Screening Gold folks left, and then the Giacomo folks trickled in for the Q.
A True/False volunteer distributes Q numbers no earlier than an hour before each screening, so we were to wait until 2 p.m. before acquiring our golden tickets. Though 30 minutes is not a long wait, it was cold. But in the spirit of True/False, the filmgoers were amiable and quirky, making the wait an enjoyable experience. Two tango teachers performed in front of us until finally at 2 p.m. I secured my ticket, third in the Q to see the film at the Little Ragtag.
I ran into an old friend in line, but she did not get a Q number because only the first 30 people get Q numbers at that venue. However, a  Q number does not guarantee a movie screening, either, particularly for smaller venues or immensely popular films. That’s why it’s important to be one of the first in line to get the number. Not everyone does.
True/False asks that everyone with Q numbers report to the movie 15 minutes early, when volunteers begin calling people forward. Anyone who misses the call is bumped to the end.
I arrived a few minutes early and met a fellow Q-er. It was his fifth True/False and my first, and later when I Q-ed for Secret Screening Red, I met a couple from St. Louis. They were state chairs of American Field Service (AFS), which hosts international students, including Michelle Munch, a senior at RBHS last year. Luck would have it they knew Michelle, and the only people from Columbia they knew were Michelle’s host parents.
The Q is an essential True/False experience. It may be chilly; it may be long, but a person can meet the most interesting people and witness the weirdness that is Columbia.
By Avantika Khatri