2013 SLIFF Film Awards
Major Filmmaker Awards
Jon Jost - Lifetime Achievement Award
One of the pre-eminent figures in American-independent filmmaking, Jon Jost was born in Chicago in 1943 of a military family, growing up in Georgia, Kansas, Japan, Italy, Germany, and Virginia. Expelled from college in 1962, he began making 16mm films in January 1963. After 10 years of making short works, Jost made his first feature-length film (“Speaking Directly”) in 1974. The self-taught Jost has made 34 feature-length works and more than 30 short works, all of which he conceived, wrote, photographed, directed, and edited; in most cases, he also produced. Among his best-known films are “Last Chants for a Slow Dance” (1977), “All the Vermeers in New York” (1990), and “Homecoming” (2004). His work has shown widely in museums, film archives, and festivals. New York’s Museum of Modern Art presented a complete retrospective of Jost’s work in January 1991, and the show subsequently traveled to such institutions as the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Harvard Film Archive, the UCLA Film Archive, and the Viennale festival. Jost has received numerous grants, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and several National Endowment for the Arts production grants. The Independent Feature Project/West presented the filmmaker with its John Cassavetes Lifetime Achievement Award in March 1991. Jost spent four years teaching in the Graduate Department of Communications and Arts at Yonsei University. He retired as Distinguished Professor in July 2011 and resumed full-time filmmaking, photography, and painting. He presently lives in his 1991 Subaru Legacy wagon and through the kindness of good friends. SLIFF screens both his first film, "Portrait," and his latest, Coming to Terms. Directors who have previously been honored with a SLIFF Lifetime Achievement Award include Roger Corman, John Sayles, and Rob Nilsson.
Oliver Stone - Lifetime Achievement Award
A three-time Academy Award® winner, Oliver Stone has written and directed more than 20 full-length feature films, among them some of the most influential and iconic films of the last decades. Stone was born in 1946 in New York City. He wrote a novel at 19 – “A Child's Night Dream” – about his youth, which was published in 1997 by St. Martin’s Press. He served in the U.S. Army Infantry in Vietnam in 1967-68 and was decorated with the Bronze Star for Valor. After returning from Vietnam, he completed his undergraduate studies at New York University Film School in 1971, where he made several short films. He has also worked as a taxi driver, merchant sailor, messenger, advertising salesman, and production assistant on porno films. Stone’s films have often reached wide, international audiences and have had significant cultural impact. These include “Salvador” (1985), “Wall Street” (1987), “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989), and “The Doors” (1991). Many of his films have been at deep odds with conventional myth, including “Platoon” (1986), “JFK” (1991), “Natural Born Killers” (1994), “Nixon” (1995), and “World Trade Center” (2006). His other films include “U Turn” (1997), “Any Given Sunday” (1999), “Alexander” (2004), “W.” (2008), “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” (2010), and “Savages” (2012). Before establishing himself as a leading director, Stone wrote screenplays, many of them controversial, including the Oscar®-winning “Midnight Express” (1979), “Conan the Barbarian” (1982), “Scarface” (1983), and “Year of the Dragon” (1985). His documentaries include “Persona Non Grata” (2003), “South of the Border” (2009), and a trio of works on Fidel Castro – “Comandante” (2003), “Looking for Fidel” (2004), and “Castro in Winter” (2012). His latest work, “The Untold History of the United States” (2012), is a monumental 10-hour interrogation of the conventional triumphalist narrative of U.S. history. SLIFF screens the director's cut of JFK. Directors who have previously been honored with a SLIFF Lifetime Achievement Award include Paul Schrader, Michael Apted, and Joe Dante.
Arsen Anton Ostojic - Contemporary Cinema Award
Arsen Anton Ostojic received a B.A. in film directing from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb, Croatia, in 1990 and an M.F.A. in filmmaking from New York University in 1994. Before making his first feature, Ostojic directed a trio of awarding-winning shorts that played at festivals worldwide: “Decorations” (1988), “The Bird Lover” (1993), and “Life Drawing” (2001). He made his feature debut with “A Wonderful Night in Split” (2004), which won 24 domestic and international awards and was the official Croatian candidate for the Academy Awards. His follow-up, “No One’s Son” (2008), won six Gold Arenas (including Best Film and Best Director) at the Pula Film Festival in Croatia; the film was the official Croatian candidate for the Academy Awards and was cited by the European Film Academy as one of the best European films in 2009. Ostojic’s new film, “Halima’s Path,” received the Audience Award at the Pula Film Festival with the highest vote in the recent history of the festival; it has won 22 awards and screened at more than 20 film festivals. Ostojic also teaches film production at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb. In addition to directing his own work, he has served as an assistant director, production manager, or line producer on about 20 feature films in Europe and in the U.S. SLIFF screens both his first feature, A Wonderful Night in Split, and his latest, Halima's Path. Previous winners of the Contemporary Cinema Award, which honors filmmakers in mid-career doing challenging, innovative work, include Terry Zwigoff, Alex Gibney, Jason Reitman, and Jay and Mark Duplass.
Nina Davenport - Women in Film Award
Nina Davenport has been making feature-length documentary films since graduating from Harvard College in 1990, where her mentors were Robb Moss, Ross McElwee, and Robert Gardner. She grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and lives in Brooklyn. Davenport’s films have all been to varying degrees autobiographical. Her first film, “Hello Photo” (1994), is a poetic and cinematic essay about her travels in India. It premiered at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and received many festival awards, including Best Documentary at Melbourne. Her second film, “Always a Bridesmaid” (2000), is a humorous and poignant account of her love life. It aired on HBO/Cinemax and on Channel Four’s “True Stories.” Davenport’s third feature documentary, “Parallel Lines” (2003), is a lyrical road movie about her journey from California back home to New York in the aftermath of 9/11. It premiered at IDFA and aired on the BBC series “Storyville.” Her film “Operation Filmmaker” (2007) explored the relationship between filmmaker and subject, as it followed an Iraqi film student who traveled from war-torn Iraq to a Hollywood movie set. That film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and aired on the PBS series “Independent Lens.” SLIFF screens her newest film, First Comes Love. Previous Women in Film Award winners include Yvonne Welbon, Barbara Hammer, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Marsha Hunt, Ry Russo-Young, Pamela Yates, and Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg.
AJ Schnack - Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award
A native of Edwardsville, Ill., AJ Schnack is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. His feature-documentary credits include “Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns)” (2002), which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and was released theatrically in North America by Cowboy Pictures; “Kurt Cobain About a Son” (2006), which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was released theatrically in North America, France, Japan, Brazil, and Australia; and “Convention” (2009), which premiered as the Centerpiece Film at the AFI Silverdocs Film Festival and was acquired and released by IFC Films/Sundance Selects. Schnack has two films screening at this year’s SLIFF: We Always Lie to Strangers, co-directed with David Wilson, which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival; and Caucus, which screened at Hot Docs and AFI Docs. Schnack was nominated for a 2007 Independent Spirit Award for “Kurt Cobain About a Son” and was the first recipient of AFI Silverdocs’ Cinematic Vision Award. He was an editor on Michael Rapaport’s “Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest,” which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, and won the Producers Guild Award for Best Documentary. He is the founder and co-chair of the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking, which held its sixth edition at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City in January 2013. From 2005-2011, he wrote a popular nonfiction-film blog, All these wonderful things. 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, and Beau Willimon.
Audience Choice Awards
Audience voting determines the winner of three awards from among the films in competition:
Juried Competition Awards
Alliance of Women Film Journalists’ EDA Awards @ SLIFF
Interfaith Documentary and Feature Awards
Midrash St. Louis Film Award
NFF Emerging Director Award: The Bobbie
Two juries choose the winners of seven awards from among the shorts in competition:
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; Michael Haffner, film reviewer, journalist, and contributor to the Web sites Very Aware, We Are Movie Geeks, and Destroy the Brain; Melissa Howland, LA editor for We Are Movie Geeks; Stefene Russell, culture editor of St. Louis Magazine and member of the Poetry Scores arts collaborative; James Harrison, director of the Webster University Film Series; and Matt Tierney, director of content distribution for Fullscreen, a YouTube multi-channel network.
The documentary-shorts jury is Chad Freidrichs, director of “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth” and former professor of filmmaking at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo.; Ben Scholle, documentarian and assistant professor of communication at Lindenwood University; and Bill Streeter, director of “Brick by Chance and Fortune” and creative director of Hydraulic Pictures film-production company.