Awards

Major Filmmaker Awards

Contemporary Cinema Award
Doug Pray

A documentary director, cinematographer, and editor, Doug Pray specializes in exploring unique subcultures. His work includes the Emmy Award-winning “Art & Copy” (2009), a film about advertising and creativity; “Surfwise” (2008), a portrait of the nomadic, 11-member Doc Paskowitz family (often referred to as the "first family of surfing"); “Big Rig” (2008), a documentary about truck drivers; “Infamy” (2005), a documentary about graffiti culture; “Red Diaper Baby” (2004), a solo-performance film starring Josh Kornbluth; “Scratch” (2001), a documentary about DJ culture; and “Hype!” (1996), a documentary about the explosion and exploitation of the Seattle grunge scene of the early ’90s. In addition to his documentaries, Pray has directed a number of nonfiction-style commercials and commissioned short films. In 2006, he won an Emmy Award for an advocacy campaign about HIV/AIDS awareness. Pray has a B.A. in sociology from Colorado College and an M.F.A. from UCLA's School of Film and Television. He resides in Los Angeles and is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. SLIFF screens his most recent film, "Levitated Mass."

Previous winners of the Contemporary Cinema Award, which honors filmmakers in mid-career doing challenging, innovative work, include Terry Zwigoff, Alex Gibney, Jason Reitman, Jay and Mark Duplass, and Arsen Anton Ostojic.

Women in Film Award
Katie Mustard

Recently named one of Variety’s Top 10 Producers to Watch, Katie Mustard is CEO of Mustard & Company. As an independent producer, she has overseen 35 feature narratives, three feature documentaries, 20 shorts, and dozens of commercials in less than a decade. Among her recent work are Simon Helberg’s “We’ll Never Have Paris,” which premiered at SXSW; Paul Bettany’s directorial debut, “Shelter,” which debuted at Toronto; and the documentary feature “The Console Wars.” Currently, Mustard is producing “Daughter of God,” starring Keanu Reeves and Mira Sorvino, and “Sticky Notes,” with Ray Liotta, Rose Leslie, and Justin Bartha. Mustard has had nine films premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, including Desiree Akhavan’s debut, “Appropriate Behavior” (which played in 2014), “Restless City,” “The Greatest,” and “Night Catches Us” (which was later nominated for an Independent Spirit Award). Other producing credits include “Made in China,” “The Son of No One,” “The Missing Person,” and “A Case of You.” Born in Kansas City, Mustard grew up in Columbia, Mo., where she attended Hickman High. She’s an honors graduate of the USC Film School. Mustard has two feature films screening at SLIFF: “Growing Up and Other Lies” and “I Believe in Unicorns.”

Previous Women in Film Award winners include Yvonne Welbon, Barbara Hammer, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Marsha Hunt, Ry Russo-Young, Pamela Yates, Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg, and Nina Davenport.

Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award
Timothy J. Sexton

Oscar®- and Emmy-nominated screenwriter Timothy J. Sexton was born and raised in St. Louis, where he attended St. Louis University High. Sexton is the creator and producer of the Lifetime TV series “The Lottery” (2014), and his screenplays include the recent “Cesar Chavez” (2014), directed by Diego Luna, and Alfonso Cuaron’s “Children of Men” (2006), which was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar®. His teleplay credits include the TV movies “Walkout” (2006), directed by Edward James Olmos; “Live from Baghdad” (2002), whose teleplay -- co-written with a current St. Louis resident, Richard Chapman -- was Emmy-nominated; the HBO film “Boycott” (2001), directed by Clark Johnson; and “For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story” (2000), which won the Paul Selvin Award from the Writers Guild of America. Sexton also served as a narrative consultant on the Emmy-winning documentary “Art & Copy” by Contemporary Cinema Award honoree Doug Pray. Sexton attended Colorado College, and after graduating he spent four years living in Mexico. SLIFF screens Sexton’s new film, “The Liberator.”

Previous winners of the Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award – which honors St. Louisans making significant contributions to the art of film – include Bob Gale, George Hickenlooper, Ken Kwapis, Cedric the Entertainer, James Gunn, Jenna Fischer, the Charles Guggenheim family, Jeremy Lasky, Michael Beugg, Beau Willimon, and AJ Schnack.

Audience Choice Awards

Audience voting determines the winner of three awards from among the films in competition:

Best Film Award
TV5MONDE Award for Best International Film
Leon Award for Best Documentary (named in memory of the late civic leader Leon Strauss)
 

Juried Competition Awards

Interfaith Documentary and Feature Awards

A jury gives Interfaith Awards to both a documentary and a narrative, choosing from among 10 competition films (five in each category), which were selected for their artistic merit; contribution to the understanding of the human condition; and recognition of ethical, social, and spiritual values.

Documentaries: The Overnighters, Partners for Peace, Queers in the Kingdom, When God Left the Building, Zemene
Narratives: Honey, My Sweet Pepper Land, Run Boy Run, Stations of the Cross, Still Life

The documentary jury is Delcia Corlew, Cinema St. Louis board member; Janet Herrmann, former Cinema St. Louis board member; Paul Marsh, retired architect; Pier Marton, artist/filmmaker and former university professor; and Pat Scallet, filmmaker and editor.

The feature jury is Alma Merabet, intellectual-property manager for media-related issues; Sandra Olmsted, adjunct professor of film at Southwestern Illinois College and film critic for TheCinematicSkinny.com, Independent News, and FloValley News; Tom Stockdale, retired minister; Joya Uraizee, associate professor of English at St. Louis University; and Betty White, retired professor of English.

 

Midrash St. Louis Film Award

Midrash St. Louis engages myriad aspects of American culture – hot topics, deep subjects, music, arts, and film – and seeks to give and receive commentary on the subjects and issues that matter to people in St. Louis and that form and shape our views and lives. 
 
The Midrash St. Louis Film Award celebrates St. Louis-related films of honesty and artistry that portray the need or the hope for reconciliation or redemption, believing these to be among the most powerful and worthy themes to explore in film. Eligible work includes feature and short films largely shot in St. Louis or directed by persons with strong local ties. The award comes with a cash prize of $500.
 
The award jury is Michael Leary, research ethicist at Washington University and co-editor of Filmwell.org; Bob Oesch, attorney at law and leader of Midrash St. Louis; Michele Oesch, film aficionado and nonprofit fundraiser; and Aditya Siram, SLIFF volunteer and pop-culture gadfly.

 

NFF Emerging Director Award: The Bobbie

The New Filmmakers Forum (NFF) annually presents the Emerging Director Award. Five works by first-time feature filmmakers compete for the prize, which includes a $500 cash award.

Panasonic Disc Manufacturing Corporation of America (PDMC) is sponsoring an additional prize for the winner of NFF. The prize consists of a disc-replication service package valued at approximately $4,000. The package includes professional disc replication and packaging of 1,000 BD25 (25GB Blu-ray discs), which includes four-color offset printing and packaging in Blu-Ray Amaray® cases with embedded cover wrap art (using artwork supplied by the winner). Panasonic is proud to support promising new talent with this award and commends the SLIFF for the important role it plays in providing an excellent platform for these talents to be known.

Since its inception, NFF was co-curated by Bobbie Lautenschlager. Bobbie died in the summer of 2012, and SLIFF honors her memory by nicknaming the NFF Emerging Director Award as the Bobbie.

NFF Films: Amira & Sam (Sean Mullin), Druid Peak (Marni Zelnick), I Believe in Unicorns (Leah Meyerhoff), Listening (Khalil Sullins), Wildlike (Frank Hall Green)

This year’s NFF jury is Timothy J. Sexton (chair), Oscar®-nominated screenwriter of “Children of Men” and “The Liberator”; Matt Amato, award-winning commercial and music-video director and screenwriter/director of “The Makings of You”; Doc Crotzer, editor on “Glee,” “Sons of Anarchy,” and “Wayward Pines”; Carson Minow, managing director of First Punch Film Production; and Stefene Russell, culture editor of St. Louis Magazine and member of the Poetry Scores arts collaborative.

Shorts Awards

Two juries choose the winners of seven awards from among the shorts in competition:

Best of Fest
Best Animated Short
Best Documentary Short
Best International Short
Best Live Action Short
Best Local Short
Best Short Short (less than 5 minutes)

The SLIFF shorts competition is officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, making the winners in the Best of Fest, Best Animated, and Best Live Action categories eligible to submit for Oscar® consideration.

The narrative-shorts jury is Denise Bitidis, independent film producer; James Harrison, director of the Webster University Film Series; Melissa Howland, LA editor for We Are Movie Geeks; Matt Tierney, senior manager of strategic development at Comcast; and Andy Triefenbach, owner and editor-in-chief of DestroytheBrain.com and programmer of the Late Nite Grindhouse series.

The documentary-shorts jury is Kathy Corley, documentarian and professor and chair of Electronic and Photographic Media at Webster University; Virginia Lee Hunter, former photographer for the LA Weekly, author of “Carny: Americana on the Midway,” and cinematographer of the documentary “Carny”; Ben Scholle, documentarian and assistant professor of communication at Lindenwood University; and Stacey Woelfel, associate professor at the School of Journalism and director of Jonathan Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the University of Missouri.

St. Louis Film Critics’ Joe Pollack Awards

In conjunction with the St. Louis Film Critics organization, SLIFF holds juried competitions for documentary and narrative features. The awards are named in honor of the late St. Louis Post-Dispatch critic Joe Pollack. The winners are picked by two juries composed of five St. Louis film critics. SLIFF chose five films to compete in each category:

Documentaries: Above All Else, Alex & Ali, Evolution of a Criminal, Stray Dog, Tomorrow We Disappear
Narratives: The Bit Player, The Dark Valley, Five Star, Human Capital, The Liberator

The narrative jury is Lynn Venhaus (head), Belleville News-Democrat; Jim Batts, We Are Movie Geeks; Diane Carson, KDHX (88.1 FM); Karl Sides, TheFlickFanatic.com; and Jim Tudor, Twitch and ZekeFilm.net.

The documentary jury is Martha K. Baker (head), KDHX (88.1 FM); Mathew DeKinder, Suburban Journals of St. Louis and matsentertainment.com; Tom O’Keefe, KTRS (550 AM), TalkSTL.com, and ReviewSTL.com; Mark Reardon, KMOX (1120 AM) and KMOV (Channel 4); and Pete Timmermann, PLAYBACK:stl.