2013 SLIFF Film Awards

For information on the jury members and the eligible films for the various competitions, see the information that follows Major Filmmaker Awards below.
Audience Choice Awards
Best Film Award: “One Chance,” directed by David Frankel 
Best International Film Award: “Philomena,” directed by Stephen Frears
Leon Award for Best Documentary (named in honor of the late civic leader Leon Strauss): “Harlem Street Singer,” directed by Simeon Hutner & Trevor Laurence
Alliance of Women Film Journalists’ EDA Awards @ SLIFF
Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature: “Watchtower,” directed by Pelin Esmer
Special Mention for Dramatic Excellence: “Three Worlds,” directed by Catherine Corsini
Best Female-Directed Documentary Feature: “Gideon’s Army,” directed by Dawn Porter
Special Mention for Documentary Excellence: “Uranium Drive-In,” directed by Suzan Beraza
Interfaith Awards
Best Documentary Feature: “Honor Diaries,” directed by Micah Smith
Best Narrative Feature: “The Jewish Cardinal,” directed by Ilan Duran Cohen
Honorable Mention, Narrative Feature: “Halima’s Path,” directed by Arsen Anton Ostojic
Midrash St. Louis Film Award
Winner: “Forty-Seven Views of Leslie Laskey,” directed by David Wild ($500 cash prize)
New Filmmakers Forum Emerging Director Award (The Bobbie) 
Winner: “This Is Where We Live,” directed by Marc Menchaca and Josh Barrett ($500 cash prize)
Shorts Awards
Best of Fest:  “The Boy with a Camera for a Face,” directed by Spencer Brown
Best Animated Short: “Junkyard,” directed by Hisko Hulsing
Best Documentary Short: “Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution,” directed by Matthew VanDyke
Special Jury Mention, Documentary Short: “The Children Next Door,” directed by Doug Block
Best International Short: “The Last Border,” directed by Daniel Butterworth
Best Live-Action Short: “Shanghai Strangers,” directed by Joan Chen
Best Local Short: “The Painter,” directed by Nate Townsend
Best Short Short (less than five minutes): “The Life of Death,” directed by Marsha Onderstijn
St. Louis Film Critics Association Joe Pollack Awards 
Best Documentary Feature: “Blood Brother,” directed by Steve Hoover
Special Jury Mention, Documentary Feature: “The Pleasures of Being Out of Step,” directed by David Lewis 
Best Narrative Feature: “Key of Life,” directed by Kenji Uchida

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:

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

Juried Competition Awards

Alliance of Women Film Journalists’ EDA Awards @ SLIFF

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) was founded in 2006 by Jennifer Merin, Maitland McDonagh, Joanna Langfield, and Jenny Halper. Its members are highly qualified professional female movie critics, reporters, and feature writers working in print, broadcast, and online media.
AWFJ’s purpose is to support work by and about women – both in front of and behind the cameras – through intra-group promotional activities, outreach programs, and presentation of the annual EDA Awards in recognition of outstanding accomplishments by and about women in the movies. AWFJ has now expanded the EDA Awards program to include presentation of woman-oriented awards at outstanding film festivals.
The EDAs are named in honor of AWFJ founder Jennifer Merin’s mother, Eda Reiss Merin, a stage, film, and television actress whose career spanned more than 60 years.
At SLIFF, EDA Awards will be presented in two feature categories, documentaries and narratives. SLIFF chose five films in each category, and AWFJ juries evaluated the films in competition and choose a winner. The selected films:
The narrative jury is Michelle McCue (chair), Cate Marquis, Maitland McDonagh, Sheila Roberts, and Julide Tanriverdi. The documentary jury is Jennifer Merin (chair), Laura EmerickCynthia FuchsJette Kernion, and Susan Wlosczcyna.

Interfaith Documentary and Feature Awards

A jury gives Interfaith Awards to both a documentary and a feature, 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.
The 2013 Interfaith Sidebar selection committee was David Gast (chair), retired board chairman of the Carl F. Gast Co.; 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; Alma Merabet, intellectual-property manager for media-related issues; Pat Scallet, filmmaker and editor; Tom Stockdale, retired minister; Adrienne Wartts, film-appreciation instructor; and Betty White, retired professor of English.
The documentary jury is Kanak Gautam, associate professor of healthcare management at St. Louis University; Janet Herrmann; and Pat Scallet. The feature jury is Sandra Olmsted, adjunct professor of film at Southwestern Illinois College and film critic for, Independent News, and FloValley News; Joya Uraizee, associate professor of English at St. Louis University; and Betty White.

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, adjunct professor at Fontbonne University, and co-editor of; Michele Oesch, film aficionado and nonprofit fundraiser; Aditya Siram, SLIFF volunteer and pop-culture gadfly; and Bob Oesch, attorney at law and leader of Midrash St. Louis.


NFF Emerging Director Award: The Bobbie

The New Filmmakers Forum (NFF) annually presents the Emerging Director Award, nicknamed the Bobbie. Five works by first-time feature filmmakers compete for the prize, which includes a $500 cash award. The Bobbie is named in honor of Bobbie Lautenschlager, who co-curated NFF until her death in 2012.
NFF Films: 9 Full Moons (Tomer Almagor), Farah Goes Bang (Meera Menon), How We Got Away with It (Jon Lindstrom), Sleeping with the Fishes (Nicole Gomez Fisher), This Is Where We Live (Josh Barrett & Marc Menchaca)
This year’s NFF jury is Sam Adams (chair), a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Onion A.V. Club, and a contributing editor at Philadelphia City Paper, where he served as film editor from 1999-2007; Harper Barnes, author of “Never Been a Time: The 1917 Race Riot That Sparked the Civil Rights Movement” and freelance film critic for the St. Louis Beacon; Diane Carson, professor emeritus of film at St. Louis Community College at Meramec and adjunct professor of film studies at Webster University; Carson Minow, St. Louis filmmaker and managing director of First Punch film-production company; and Andrew Wyatt, film critic for St. Louis Magazine’s Look/Listen arts-and-entertainment blog


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; 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.


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 will be picked by two juries composed of five St. Louis film critics. SLIFF chose eight films to compete in each category:
The narrative jury is Sandra Olmsted (head),, The Independent News, and FloValley News; Mathew DeKinder, Suburban Journals of St. Louis and Mat's; Mark Reardon, KMOX (1120 AM) and KMOV (Channel 4); Pete Timmermann, PLAYBACK:stl; and Lynn Venhaus, Belleville News-Democrat.
The documentary jury is Cate Marquis (head), St. Louis Jewish Light; Martha K. Baker, KDHX 88.1 radio; Maxamillion Foizey, “Max on Movies” on FM News Talk 97.1; Rob Levy, and; Ronnie Roy, The RRoy Report; and Jim Tudor, Twitch and