About the Festival

On the occasion of our 25th anniversary, SLIFF celebrates with several fond looks backward. To commemorate the special occasion, SLIFF offers screenings of two newly restored works from the first festival in 1992 — “Daughters of the Dust” and “Delicatessen” — which appropriately bookend the festival on our two weekends.

We also pay tribute to two men with strong ties to Cinema St. Louis. Kim Tucci, our current and longtime chair — and treasured St. Louis institution — receives a Lifetime Achievement Award. And filmmaker Brian Hohlfeld — who served a term as CSL’s chair when he took a break from LA and returned for a time to his hometown of St. Louis — is honored with our Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award. Two other award-winners this year are also natives of St. Louis: Disney animator Marlon West, who is given a Cinema St. Louis Award, and producer Kimberly Steward, who receives one of our Women in Film Awards.

But SLIFF is far from parochial: Although we work to spotlight the local filmmaking scene and the glittering array of talent that the city has produced, we also look well beyond St. Louis. This year’s fest honors a particularly diverse and high-profile selection of filmmakers: Comedian Jerry Lewis, filmmaker Charles Burnett, and documentarian Gordon Quinn all receive Lifetime Achievement Awards, and actress Karen Allen is honored with a Women in Film Award.

For more information on our eight honorees, see Awards.

Given the significance of the anniversary, SLIFF wanted to engage in some nostalgic reverie but also was determined to address the present and look to the future. Mean Streets: Viewing the Divided City Through the Lens of Film and Television is a program that emphatically does both, and we’re especially pleased to offer itsentire slate of features and shorts for free.

SLIFF continues to provide the opportunity for St. Louis filmgoers to view the finest in world cinema — international films, documentaries, American indies, and shorts that can only be seen on the big screen at the festival. We also present our usual array of festival buzz films and Oscar contenders, including “Elle,” “Jackie,” “Lion,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “A Quiet Passion,” “The Red Turtle,” and “Toni Erdmann.”

Festival Highlights

Archival Presentations

In addition to screening the freshest and finest cinematic works of today, SLIFF offers Archival Presentations that survey film history. A pair of new restorations — “Daughters of the Dust” and “Delicatessen” — looks back at the first fest, and several other films of the past play as part of our awards programs (“Harold and Maude,” “He Said, She Said,” “Killer of Sheep,” “The Nutty Professor,” and a new restoration of “To Sleep with Anger.”) SLIFF annually features silent films with live accompaniment, and this year we provide two new restorations: Fritz Lang’s “Destiny” (with the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra) and Oscar Micheaux’s “Within Our Gates” (with Stace England and the Salt Kings). We’re especially please to screen — from 35mm — the criminally underseen Missouri-shot horror film “Eyes of Fire.”

Cycle to Ovarian Psycos

Local bicycling advocacy group The Monthly Cycle holds a group ride to the Nov. 10 screening of “Ovarian Psycos,” a documentary profile of the LA cycling group of the title. Since forming in the summer of 2010, the Ovarian Psycos have made it their mission to cycle for the purpose of reclaiming their neighborhoods and creating safer streets for women. See the listing in “Feature Films” for more info. Most of The Monthly Cycle's events are exclusively for women and non-binary cyclists, but all genders are welcome to join this ride. Visit the group's Facebook page for more information. Riders gather at 5:45 p.m. at Gelateria Del Leone, 3197 S. Grand Blvd., with roll-out at 6:15 p.m. The film screening at the .ZACK begins at 7:30 p.m.

Free Programs

SLIFF continues its tradition of offering a large selection of free events to maximize its outreach into the community and to make the festival affordable to all. This year, we offer nearly 60 free events. In addition, for the 13th year, we present the Georgia Frontiere Cinema for Students Program, which provides free screenings to St. Louis-area schools. Among this year’s free programming: the Human Rights Spotlight, Mean Streets, SLIFF/Kids’ weekend of films at Washington U., and a quartet of master classes. SLIFF again offers free screenings of all of the fest’s documentary-shorts programs. See Free Events for full details. 

Georgia Frontiere Cinema for Students Program

SLIFF offers free daytime screenings for children and teens from participating St. Louis-area schools. This year’s selections — both classic and contemporary, with many accompanied by the filmmakers — include “Adama,” “Belle and Sebastian: The Adventure Continues,” “Bob’s Tour,” “Coming Through the Rye,” “Gentlemen of Vision,” “King of the Hill,” “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise,” “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice,” “Piglet’s Big Movie,” “She Started It,” “Show Me Democracy,” and “Sounder.” See Cinema for Students for full information.

Sponsored by Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rosenbloom (in honor of Georgia Frontiere) with support from Albrecht Family Foundation

Busing sponsored by Nancy & Ken Kranzberg with support from Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation and Ward & Carol Klein

Human Rights Spotlight

This selection of documentaries focuses on human-rights issues in the U.S. and the world. Screenings take place from Nov. 4-6 and 11-13 at Washington U.; all films are free and open to the public. The12 programs of the Human Rights Spotlight feature accompanying directors and subjects and/or post-film discussions with experts. For additional films related to human rights, see Films by Subject.

Sponsored by Monsanto Human Rights and Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society for International and Area Studies at Washington University

Live-Performance Programs

SLIFF always offers a robust selection of films that feature music. This year is no exception, and the fest includes a fine selection of music-related documentaries and narratives. See Music Spotlight for the full list. But the highlight of the Music Spotlight are the programs with live performances. Not to be missed is “These C*cksucking Tears: A Night with Lavendar Country,” a film-and-concert combo featuring the pioneering gay country singer Patrick Haggerty backed by a band of local musicians. There’s also plenty more live music on offer: The documentary “Feral Love” — about feral-cat caretaker and New York Philharmonic violist Dorian Rence — features a short performance after the screening, and SLIFF screens a pair of silents with musical accompaniment: Fritz Lang’s “Destiny” (with the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra) and Oscar Micheaux’s “Within Our Gates” (with Stace England and the Salt Kings). Finally, after the free screening of “Gentlemen of Vision,” the subjects of the film offer a sure-to-astonish step performance.

Sponsored by Nancy & Ken Kranzberg

Master Classes

SLIFF provides a quartet of free master classes open to all. The programs, which take place on both Saturdays of the fest, are held at Washington U.’s West Campus Library. On Nov. 5, a trio of classes focuses on documentary issues: fair use and copyright with Diane Carson and Robert Johnson Jr., archival footage with Brian Woodman, and editing with Robert Greene. And on Nov. 12, filmmaker Kevin Willmott offers a master class on screenwriting for independent film. See Special Events for more information.

Sponsored by American Culture Studies (AMCS) Program at Washington University

Mean Streets: Viewing the Divided City Through the Lens of Film and Television

Mean Streets is a program of The Divided City: An Urban Humanities Initiative. With the support of the Mellon Foundation, Washington U.’s Center for the Humanities, in partnership with the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design, is engaged in a four-year initiative called The Divided City, which addresses one of the most persistent and vexing issues in urban studies: segregation. SLIFF’s Mean Streets program primarily focuses on the racial divide in St. Louis and other U.S. cities, but also offers an international perspective with “Bogdan’s Journey” and “The Peacemaker,” which deal with ethnic and religious divisions. In partnership with Washington U.’s The Common Reader, SLIFF provides essays that address the subject of the divided city. Visit commonreader.wustl.edu in late October to read the work.

Sponsored by Center for the Humanities at Washington University and Washington University Libraries

Presented in partnership with Missouri History Museum and The Common Reader

New Filmmakers Forum

The New Filmmakers Forum (NFF), a juried competition of works by first-time feature filmmakers, is an annual highlight of SLIFF. The featured films this year are “42 Seconds of Happiness,” “Comfort,” “Creedmoria,” “To Keep the Light,” and “The Wedding Party.” The filmmakers accompany the screenings at the Tivoli from Nov. 11-12, and they participate in a roundtable discussion at the free NFF Coffee on Nov. 13 at the Hi-Pointe Backlot. The screenings and coffee are hosted by the Missouri Film Office’s Andrea Sporcic. The NFF Emerging Filmmaker Award — nicknamed the Bobbie in honor of the late Bobbie Lautenschlager, NFF’s longtime curator — is presented at SLIFF’s Closing-Night Party at the Urban Chestnut Grove Brewery & Bierhall.

Sponsored by Joni Tackette Casting and John & Diane Kalishman

Parties and Receptions

SLIFF kicks off our 25th anniversary with a beer blast: a suds-centric Opening-Night Reception and a work-in-progress screening of “St. Louis Brews,” Bill Streeter’s celebration of all things hops-related in the Lou. “St. Louis Brews” will quench beer aficionados’ thirst for knowledge, and our opening-night reception will satisfy their actual desire to drink by serving complimentary product from local breweries, including selections from SLIFF’s official beer sponsor, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, and a half-dozen more fine purveyors (Alpha Brewing Company, Civil Life, Earthbound, Griesedieck, Kräftig, and Schlafly). The festival concludes with a free Closing-Night Party at the Urban Chestnut Grove Brewery & Bierhall. SLIFF announces its winners, and complimentary UCBC beers, Mastermind Vodka cocktails, and wines from Röbller Vineyard Winery are served. And at the fest’s midpoint, on Nov. 9, we offer our Tribute to Kim Tucci, which features a cocktail reception and screening of “Harold and Maude.”

Opening-Night Reception and “St. Louis Brews” sponsored by Jon Mendelson REALTORS

Tribute to Kim Tucci sponsored by Albrecht Family, Pittsburgh Pipe, Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation, Saint Ambrose Catholic School, Southern Glazer’s, Greensfelder, Lococo Fine Art Publisher, Luxco, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, and Mastermind Vodka

Closing-Night Party and Awards Presentation sponsored by Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

Race in America: The Black Experience

Because the events in Ferguson continue to resonate in St. Louis and the country, SLIFF again offers a large number of programs organized under the title Race in America: The Black Experience. Among the highlights are the St. Louis-focused “Bob's Tour,” “Doc Shorts: Black Lives Matter,” “Gentlemen of Vision,” “Out of the Box,” and “Show Me Democracy”; the documentaries “Agents of Change,” “Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise,” “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice,” and “The Prison in Twelve Landscapes”; and the narrative features “Everything But a Man” and “How to Tell You're a Douchebag.” To maximize accessibility and promote dialogue, three-quarters of the 32 programs in Race in America are offered for free.

Sponsored by Clark-Fox Family Foundation, Missouri Humanities Council, and Wells Fargo Advisors

Show-Me Cinema

Films made in St. Louis and Missouri or by current and former St. Louisans and Missourians are an annual focus of SLIFF. This year’s lineup of Show-Me Cinema is especially strong, featuring 36 programs. Among the highlights: opening-night film “St. Louis Brews”; narrative features “35 Days,” “The 86,” “American Zealot,” “Cold Moon,” “The Dark Knight Returns,” “Enclosure,” “I Love You Both,” “The Importance of Doubting Tom,” and “No Good Heroes”; the documentaries “Dream/Killer,” “Gypsy,” “It's a Rockabilly World,” “Kate Plays Christine,” and “Men in the Arena”; and the shorts programs “St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase Sampler” and “Van McElwee: Solutions to an Unknown Problem.”

Sponsored by Missouri Division of Tourism, Missouri Film Office, and St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission

SLIFF/Kids Family Films

Cinema St. Louis annually presents a large selection of family films, including a weekend (Nov. 12-13) of five free screenings at Washington U.’s Brown Hall: “Adama,” “Heidi,” “Oddball,” “Phantom Boy,” and “Birds of Passage.” In addition, on both Saturdays at Plaza Frontenac, the fest offers free family-friendly shorts programs.

Presented in partnership with the book “Painting for Peace in Ferguson”

Women in Film Spotlight

The festival always devotes a significant amount of attention to the contributions of women in film. This year’s Women in Film Spotlight is highlighted by screenings featuring our Women in Film Award honorees: “Manchester by the Sea” with producer Kimberly Steward and “Year by the Sea” with actress Karen Allen.