Information about SLIFF 2015 is will be on the site in early October. Below is information from 2014.


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

Named as one of Variety’s Top 10 Producers in 2014,  Katie Mustard has an impressive resume for a young producer. An Honors graduate of the USC film school, Katie has overseen the production of 35 movies, 20 short films, 3 feature documentaries and dozens of commercials in just under a decade. Last year, Katie Produced 5 films including Simon Helberg’s WE’LL NEVER HAVE PARIS (SXSW 2014) with Alfred Molina and Maggie Grace; Paul Bettany’s directorial debut SHELTER (TIFF 2014) with Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie; & the Documentary feature THE CONSOLE WARS with Scott Rudin and Seth Rogen. This January, Katie had her Ninth film premiere at the Sundance Film Festival with Desiree Akhavan’s debut APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR.  Other past Sundance premieres include Andrew Dosunmu’s RESTLESS CITY; THE GREATEST (Pierce Brosnan, Carey Mulligan, Susan Sarandon); NIGHT CATCHES US (Kerry Washington and Anthony Mackie) which went onto be nominated for an Independent Spirit Award; & the highly acclaimed short IN THE MORNING which screened before the US Congress on Human Rights. As a physical producer, her credits include MADE IN CHINA (winner Best Feature at SXSW 2009); Natalie Portman’s short film EVE (Venice FF 2008 starring Lauren Bacall, Ben Gazzara, and Olivia Thirlby); THE SON OF NO ONE (Sundance 2010 with Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, & Channing Tatum); THE MISSING PERSON (Sundance 2009 with Michael Shannon & Amy Ryan); & A CASE OF YOU (Tribeca 2013 with Evan Rachel Wood, Justin Long, Sam Rockwell, & Vince Vaughn).  Katie has also worked in the Studio space with Paramount Pictures on films such as THE DEVIL INSIDE which top'd the box office scales as the largest grossing genre film of its time.  Currently, Katie is producing DAUGHTER OF GOD staring Keanu Reeves & STICKY NOTES with Ray Liotta, Rose Leslie and Justin Bartha. Katie is represented by UTA.

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 Narrative Feature: "Marshall the Miracle Dog" directed by Jay Kanzler
TV5MONDE Award for Best International Film: ""Belle and Sebastian" directed by Nicolas Vanier
Leon Award for Best Documentary (named in memory of the late civic leader Leon Strauss): "Walking Man" directed by Joshua Salzberg

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.

Best Documentary Feature: "Zemene" directed by Melissa Donovan

Documentaries in competition: The Overnighters, Partners for Peace, Queers in the Kingdom, When God Left the Building, Zemene

Best Narrative Feature: "Still Life" directed by Uberto Pasolini

Narratives in competition: 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, 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. 

Midrash Award Winner: "Good Conduct" directed by Patrick Rea

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; Bob Oesch, attorney at law and leader of Midrash St. Louis; Michele Oesch, film aficionado and nonprofit fundraiser; Aditya Siram, SLIFF volunteer and pop-culture gadfly; and Brea McAnally, photographer and founder/co-director of The Luminary Center for the Arts.

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.

New Filmmakers Forum Award Winner: "Amira & Sam" directed by Sean Mullins

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: "The Gunfighter" directed by Eric Kissack

Best Animated Short: "Rabbit and Deer" directed by Péter Vácz

Best Documentary Short: "Minerita" directed by Raúl De la Fuente

Best International Short: "Dead Hearts" directed by Stephen W. Martin

Best Live Action Short: "Dead Hearts" directed by Stephen W. Martin

Best Local Short: "9 to 5 Feet Under" directed by Terry Ziegelman

Best Short Short (less than 5 minutes): "Cockmasters" directed by Jeremy Corray

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 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:

Best Documentary Feature: "Evolution of a Criminal" directed by Darius Clark Monroe

Documentaries in competition: Above All Else, Alex & Ali, Evolution of a Criminal, Stray Dog, Tomorrow We Disappear

Best Narrative Feature: "Human Capital" directed by Paolo Virzì

Narratives in competition: 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,; and Jim Tudor, Twitch and

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