Cinema at Citygarden

Cinema at Citygarden – a biennial program organized by Cinema St. Louis (CSL) and funded by the Gateway Foundation – is pleased to announce the winners of its sixth juried competition. The competition was open to St. Louis-area filmmakers. Participants created short works that incorporated Nature as a key element. 

The program will debut on Citygarden’s video wall on Friday, May 31. The videos will play on a loop from 5-10 p.m. daily through the end of June. The video wall is set within a limestone wall that arcs across two blocks.

The three-person jury for the competition consisted of Kamau Bilal, a documentarian (“Baby Brother,” “Crown Candy,” “What Kind of Man”) and an assistant professor of film studies at UM-Columbia; native St. Louisan Jim Finn, an avant-garde filmmaker (“The Drunkard’s Lament,” “The Juche Idea,” “Interkosmos”) and an associate professor of film and video at the Pratt Institute; and native St. Louisan Jane Gillooly, a filmmaker of experimental documentaries and narratives (“Where the Pavement Ends,” “Suitcase of Love and Shame,” “Today the Hawk Takes One Chick”) and a professor of media arts at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. 

The three winning works, whose filmmakers receive cash prizes, are the following:

First-Place Award ($1,500): Word Play 

By Brittanie A. Goldsby, Jon Taylor, DOA Ron G., Ackurate, Carleone Carle, Terrell Blaze, Tank the Machine, Kyarra L.A., Viva La Fame, and Mazzy Talks

Brittanie A. Goldsby and Jon Taylor team up to gain insight into who is on the rise in St. Louis, how they've developed as artists, and how they continue to evolve the sound of music in the Midwest. 

Jury Comments: We all agreed “Word Play” had a lot of heart and really surprised us. The “Game of Thrones” knockoff title sequence going to a guy singing on a tank then to the conference-table rap and a Bressonian montage of black St. Louis just blew our minds. We thought of the way that nature is seen in the middle of the city — through parks with special vehicle displays, as design elements for parking lots, or just trees in a backyard. 

Second-Place Award ($1,000): Green Lemon Buggy

By the Opera Bell Band and co-directors Jess Adkins and Shane Devine

Jessica Adkins and Shane Devine are members of the Opera Bell Band. Adkins is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy, and Devine is an upholstery apprentice. 

Jury Comments: “Green Lemon Buggy” was the kind of film that we saw as kids in the ’80s or ’70s on KPLR-TV and had a nice message about eating vegetables and keeping the rabbits away. With original music, singing, and construction-paper animation, we thought it had the whole package. Bravo!

Third-Place Award ($500): The Exchange Student

By Nathan Bowman and the Hazelwood North Middle School Filmmaking Club

Nathan Bowman is a teacher of eighth-grade English language arts and founder of the  Hazelwood North Middle School Filmmaking Club, which has been creating films starring middle-schoolers since 2013.

Jury Comments: As an eighth-grade student film, “The Exchange Student” is amazing. We especially loved the message of the film. We want to give a special mention to Taliena Sanders for her role as the Future Exchange Student. We thought she gave a moving Afro-futurist performance worthy of Octavia Butler and N.K. Jemisin.

In addition, seven other competition films will be featured as part of the video-wall presentation:

Art Hill, by Patrick Delhougne

GroundLess, by Jerod Welker

Instar, by Coalfather Industries

Menagerie, by Ken Koste

Nature of Sound, by Jon Alexander

Pizzicato, by Zlatko Ćosić

St. Louis, by Dylan Kuehner

Cinema St. Louis will also screen the three competition winners — as well as other Cinema at Citygarden competition entries chosen by CSL — as part of the Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, held July 12-14 and 19-21 at Washington U.’s Brown Hall. Those films will then be eligible for consideration by the Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival, held Nov. 7-17.

Among the most beloved public spaces in St. Louis, Citygarden is a two-block oasis of plants and trees, water, and internationally renowned sculpture in the heart of downtown’s Gateway Mall. Opened in 2009, the garden is free and open to the public 365 days a year. It’s been a hit since the day it opened, and the garden continues to attract visitors from all over the St. Louis area, the nation, and the world with its blend of beauty and serenity and fun. In 2011, it received one of the nation’s most prestigious honors in urban planning, the Urban Land Institute’s Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award.  

For more information about Citygarden, click here.