By Ray Pride


Tracy Lane has been part of Ragtag Film Society since 2009, and has served as its Executive Director since 2010. On May 1, Tracy informed the Board of Directors that she has accepted a position as Executive Director at Roots N Blues. Her last day with Ragtag Film Society will be June 3, 2018.

Ragtag Film Society is ever grateful to Tracy for the tremendous accomplishments during her tenure as Executive Director. In the past nine years under Tracy’s leadership, Ragtag Film Society has grown from a fledgling cinema arts organization into an award-winning not-for-profit arts business that has broad influence on Columbia, Missouri, and the world beyond our borders. Festival attendance and cinema membership have both grown tremendously during Tracy’s tenure. “What Tracy was able to accomplish with cinema memberships as Executive Director was remarkable,” said Board member Jeremy Root. “As we have watched independent cinemas around the country struggle and disappear from lack of support, thanks to Tracy’s strong leadership, Ragtag Film Society is on the opposite trajectory. Our membership roll has grown from around 300 to 1600, and True/False barely has enough capacity to meet demand.”

Tracy also made sure that Ragtag Film Society was ready to embrace the future of cinema. In 2012, Tracy led a community fundraising effort to facilitate the cinema’s conversion to DCP, a new industry standard projection technology protocol that required all new projection equipment for both theaters. This enabled Ragtag Cinema to continue to show first-run independent films to audiences in mid-Missouri.

Ragtag Film Society Vice-President Sarah Catlin summarizes the organization’s sentiments well: “Having been on the search committee that hired Tracy nine years ago, I’m both sad to see her go and extremely happy she has this new opportunity. Under her leadership, Ragtag Cinema and the True/False Film Fest have developed into vibrant programs. She will be an excellent director for Roots N Blues.”

The Ragtag Film Society Board is undertaking an examination of its organizational needs as it begins the challenging task of filling the void that will be left by Tracy’s departure. Board President Charlie Nilon noted, “We have a strong organization with dedicated and creative staff at all levels of the cinema and festival. This strength will give the Board time to undertake a careful, deliberative process as we evaluate our organization’s leadership needs.”

Tracy Lane will continue to serve Ragtag Film Society through Sunday June 3. Her last official function as Executive Director will be to oversee “Ragtag’s Like Totally Awesome Party” at 7:00 PM on Sunday, June 3 at The Roof, atop the Broadway Hotel. Tickets are available at the Ragtag Cinema box office and online. Please join us on June 3 and help the Board thank Tracy for being, like, totally awesome.

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch