The Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival will return Nov. 3-13, 2016. Below is information regarding the 2015 festival.

Cinema for Students

2015 Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival Georgia Frontiere Cinema for Students Program

“Movies can and do have a tremendous influence in shaping young lives.”
– Walt Disney

Free Film Screenings for St. Louis-Area Students (Grades 1-12)

Sponsored by Lucia Rosenbloom and Chip Rosenbloom
(in honor of Georgia Frontiere)
the ​Albrecht Family Foundation
and the St. Louis Rams
Busing sponsored by the Jeffrey T. Fort,
Jeffrey T. Fort Charitable Fund of the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation

Cinema St. Louis and the 24th Annual St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) present their 12th year of free educational film programming, the Georgia Frontiere Cinema for Students (CFS) Program.

Screenings are scheduled Friday, Nov. 6, and Monday-Friday, Nov. 9-13, at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA), St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library, St. Louis University’s Center for Global Citizenship, and Plaza Frontenac Cinema.

In addition to the free screenings, we are offering Free Busing, thanks to the generosity of the Jeffrey T. Fort Charitable Fund of the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation. Cinema St. Louis will pay for up to $500 per school in busing costs (in special cases, we can exceed this amount; inquire when booking a program). This applies to programs at all venues. All schools are eligible, but we would ask districts and private schools whose budgets already include funding for field trips to defer, allowing schools with fewer resources to take advantage of the program. We have a $10,000 cap, so this will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis; early registration for programs is thus encouraged.
CFS also offers In-School Presentations of 17 programs (including 11 films not available at the venues) during the time frame of Nov. 9-13.
CFS offers a diverse selection of films for grades 1-12, allowing students and educators to explore world cinema as a supplement to their current subjects of study. The films can enhance each student’s education by providing exposure to various aspects of science, history, social studies, language, music, theater, literature, and culture. Select programs are accompanied by the filmmakers. This year, CFS is featuring film adaptations of works of fiction at the St. Louis Public Library, including the locally shot “Marshall’s Miracle,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Romeo + Juliet,” “Shiloh,” and a program of Weston Woods’ animated adaptations of award-winning children’s books.
The CJ’s Journey Foundation is also hosting a Short-Essay Contest in conjunction with CFS. Students whose school is participating in CFS’s In-School Presentations program will be eligible to enter the contest for a possible cash prize and publication. All schools and students in the greater St. Louis area are eligible for participation in the contest. Visit the CJ's Journey website for rules and guidelines.

Screening Locations

COCA, 524 Trinity Ave. in University City
Plaza Frontenac Cinema, 210 Plaza Frontenac in Frontenac
St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library, 1301 Olive St. in downtown St. Louis City
St. Louis University’s Center for Global Citizenship, 3672 W. Pine Mall in midtown St. Louis


To make reservations (see the online reservation form below) or inquire about in-school presentations, contact Brian Spath: 314.289.4153 (phone) 314.289.4159 (fax) Documents updated as of Sept 2, 2015.
DOWNLOAD - Letter to Educators (.pdf)
DOWNLOAD - 2015 Cinema for Students Films & Schedule (.pdf)
or DOWNLOAD - Reservation Request Form for Films (.pdf)
or DOWNLOAD - Bus Reimbursement Form (.pdf)




Friday, Nov. 6

Marshall’s Miracle SOLD OUT
Jay Kanzler, U.S., 2014, 90 min., in English, live-action narrative
10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 6, St. Louis Public Library
Appropriate for grades 4-8
Website for more info: Marshall’s Miracle
Based on the children’s picture book “Marshall the Miracle Dog” by Cynthia Willenbrock and Lauren Heimbaugh, this locally shot family film focuses on 12-year-old Finn (Lucas Carroll), who endures daily torment from the bullies at his school. But his life begins to change the day that he encounters a Labrador Retriever named Marshall. When Finn first finds the dog, Marshall is being held in deplorable conditions by an animal hoarder who keeps 60 dogs penned up on her isolated ranch. The boy sees something of himself in Marshall: Both are bullied, but both are brave. By saving Marshall from the dogs that are attacking him, Finn pulls off a daring rescue. Inspired by a true story, “Marshall’s Miracle” stars Shannon Elizabeth, Lauren Holly, and Matthew Settle. 
With director Kanzler, author Willenbrock, and Marshall.

Monday, Nov. 9

Get in the Way: The Journey of John Lewis FEW SEATS REMAIN
Kathleen Dowdey, U.S., 2015, 60 min., in English, documentary
9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 9, COCA
Appropriate for grades 9-12
Also available for in-school presentation (with director) on the afternoon of Nov. 9.
In 1965, the historic Selma march known as Bloody Sunday was a turning point in the civil-rights movement. John Lewis – now a revered U.S. congressman, then a young student – co-led peaceful protesters seeking voting rights for African Americans in the South. Coming face to face with a wall of club-wielding Alabama state troopers, Lewis maintained a steadfast, nonviolent stand. Hours later, televised images of the ensuing assault shocked Americans to the core as they witnessed appalling racial oppression. “Get in the Way” is the first biographical film about Lewis, a respected legislator and elder statesman who continues to practice nonviolence in his unwavering fight for justice.
With director Dowdey.
Romeo Is Bleeding 
Jason Zeldes, U.S., 2015, 93 min., in English, documentary
9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 9, SLU
Appropriate for grades 9-12 (strong language)
Website for more info: Romeo Is Bleeding
A fatal turf war between neighborhoods haunts the city of Richmond, Calif., in the Bay Area. Donté Clark transcends the violence in his hometown by writing poetry about his experiences. Using his voice to inspire those around him, he and the like-minded youth of the city mount an urban adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” with the hope of starting a real dialogue about violence in the city. Will Richmond force Donté to compromise his idealistic ambitions? Or will Donté help end Richmond’s cycle of trauma?
With subject Clark and director Zeldes.
Dale Rosenbloom, U.S., 1996, 93 min., in English, live-action narrative
12 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9, St. Louis Public Library SOLD OUT
10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 9, St. Louis Public Library
11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, Saint Louis University
Appropriate for grades 5-9 (rated PG)
Based on the Newbery Medal-winning book by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, “Shiloh” tells the story of young Marty Preston (Blake Heron), who wants to keep a beagle dog that followed him home. He even names him Shiloh. Unfortunately, his father (Michael Moriarty) insists the pup be returned to its rightful owner, hunter Judd Travers (Scott Wilson of “The Walking Dead”), even though Judd abuses the dog. After Shiloh is abused again, he returns to Marty, who then hides him away in a backyard shed. But when a stray dog attacks and badly hurts Shiloh, Marty needs to turn to his father for help.
Ota Benga
Niyi Coker Jr., U.S./Cameroon/Congo/France/Switzerland/U.K., 2015, 55 min., in English, documentary
Noon Monday, Nov. 9, SLU
Appropriate for grades 9-12
Also available for in-school presentation (with guest on select dates; inquire about availability)
In 1904, Congolese pygmy Ota Benga was removed from Central Africa and brought to St. Louis for exhibition at the World’s Fair as evidence of an inferior species. At the end of the fair, Ota Benga was sent to New York City’s Bronx Zoo, where he was housed with primates and displayed with monkeys as the “missing link” between human and apes. In the eyes of his captors, he served as living proof of Darwin’s theory of evolution. This revealing documentary is directed by University of Missouri-St. Louis professor Niyi Coker Jr.
With director Coker.

Tuesday, Nov. 10

The Whole World Was Watching: Photographs and Videos of Ferguson by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
90 min. (approx.), special event
9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, COCA
Appropriate for grades 9-12
Website for more info: Pulitzer Prizes
Also available for in-school presentation; inquire about available dates.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s photography staff won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography for their coverage of the Michael Brown shooting and the subsequent events in Ferguson and St. Louis. The Pulitzer Prize organization cited the paper for “powerful images of the despair and anger in Ferguson, Mo., stunning photojournalism that served the community while informing the country.” This program features photos and videos of Ferguson, including recently shot material, accompanied by live commentary about the images and the events by members of the Post-Dispatch photography staff.
With St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographers/videographers.
Romeo + Juliet
Baz Luhrmann, U.S., 1996, 120 min., in English, live-action narrative
10 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, St. Louis Public Library
Appropriate for grades 9-12 (rated PG-13)
Baz Luhrmann (“The Great Gatsby”) adapts this classic Shakespearean romantic tragedy for the screen, updating the setting to a postmodern city named Verona Beach. In this version, the Capulets and the Montagues are two rival gangs. Juliet (Claire Danes) is attending a costume ball thrown by her parents. Her father (Paul Sorvino) has arranged her marriage to the boorish Paris (Paul Rudd) as part of a strategic investment plan, but Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) attends the masked ball, and he and Juliet fall in love.
The King and the Mockingbird (Le roi et l’oiseau)
Paul Grimault, France, 1980, 83 min., in French with English subtitles, animated narrative
Noon Tuesday, Nov. 10, Plaza Frontenac
Appropriate for grades 4-8
In this recently restored animated classic, based on a fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, the King of Tachycardia reigns tyrannically over the kingdom. Only the talkative, brightly feathered Mockingbird dares to make fun of him. The King is in love with a beautiful shepherdess in a painting that hangs on his wall, but she is in love with the brave little chimney sweep in the painting next to hers. When the King’s painted doppelganger declares his intention to marry the shepherdess, she and the chimney sweep run away to escape him. When they save a little bird that has carelessly become caught in one of the King’s traps, the Mockingbird is grateful and promises to help them in return for their kindness.

Wednesday, Nov. 11

Goodbye Theresienstadt
Carl Otto Dethlefsen & Jonatan Jerichow, Czech Republic/Denmark, 2015, 58 min., in Danish with English subtitles, documentary, 85 min. total running time with short
9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, COCA
Appropriate for grades 9-12
More than 7,000 Jews escaped from Denmark to Sweden when the occupying Germans rounded up Danish Jews in October 1943, but 470 men, women, and children were captured and put into cattle cars bound for the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Seventy years after they were miraculously rescued from the camp, six Danish Jews who were children at the time return to Theresienstadt. The survivors tell of their failed escape to Sweden, the horrible journey to the camp, the appalling conditions in Theresienstadt, and their rescue in the final weeks of the war. 
With the 27-min. documentary short “Picking Up the Pieces” (see description under In-School Presentations) 

Thursday, Nov. 12

One in a Minion: Behind the Scenes of Animation with Glenn McCoy 
90 min. (approx.), special event
9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, COCA
Appropriate for grades 6-12 
Website for more info: Glenn McCoy
Glenn McCoy, who lives in the St. Louis area, is a provocative editorial cartoonist for the Belleville News-Democrat, the creator of the syndicated daily comic strip “The Duplex” and (with his brother) the one-panel cartoon “The Flying McCoys,” and the author of such children’s books as “I See Santa Everywhere” and “Penny Lee and Her TV.” But those jobs don’t keep the multi-award-winning cartoonist sufficiently busy, so he also works as a designer, writer, and director of animation for several TV and feature studios, including Dreamworks SKG, 20th Century Fox, and Walt Disney. More recently, he’s worked as a storyboard artist and idea man for Illumination Entertainment/Universal Picture’s hugely popular “Despicable Me,” “Despicable Me 2,” and “Minions,” and he’s directed a “Minions” short that will be released next year. In this program, Glenn will take students behind the scenes of animation, presenting and discussing assorted character designs, concept art, and storyboard sequences on which he’s worked. He’ll also show a sampling of finished movie animation, including a pilot he wrote and directed for Fox television, an excerpt from a pilot he created for Disney TV, a short Flash animation he directed for Illumination, a clip from a TV show he helped develop for Nick at Night, and a few shorts in pitch form.
With cartoonist/animator McCoy.
Welcome to Unity
Katharine Mahalic, U.S., 2015, 98 min., in English, documentary
9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, SLU
Appropriate for grades 9-12 
Website for more info: Welcome to Unity
Also available for in-school presentation (with director on select dates; inquire about availability)
“Welcome to Unity” records the surprising developments that occur when seven exchange students, including two from Muslim backgrounds, move into a Christian home in rural America for a school year. Filmed in collaboration with local American teens and the exchange students – who hail from Taiwan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Germany, Serbia, and Kyrgyzstan – “Welcome to Unity” documents how these temporary residents integrate into a small Oregon town, not only learning to live the American Way but even becoming the stars of their high-school football team (despite never having played the game). Lighthearted but revelatory, the documentary shows that adolescence is a universal experience. 
With director Mahalic.
The Write Stuff: Animated Adaptations of Children’s Books by Weston Woods
75 min., in English, animated shorts
10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, St. Louis Public Library
Appropriate for grades 1-4
Website for more info: Scholastic Teachers Site
Also available for in-school presentation 
Since 1953, the Weston Woods studio has been producing award-winning animated adaptations of the world’s best children’s literature, including many Caldecott and Newbery honorees. Part of Scholastic Books (publisher of “Harry Potter”), Weston Woods has a vast library of extraordinary cartoons that make use of the finest animators, actors, and musicians available. This program features eight of Weston Wood’s award-winning films, including two adaptations of classic works by Maurice Sendak, “Where the Wild Things Are” (7 min.) and “In the Night Kitchen” (7 min.) (Sendak is also featured at an exhibit on view at the library during CFS); the Caldecott Medal-winning “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers” (10 min.); two winners of the Andrew Carnegie Award for Excellence in Children’s Video, Patrick McDonnell’s “Me … Jane” (about Jane Goodall) (9 min.) and “The Curious Garden” (10 min.); Caldecott Honor Books “One Cool Friend” (13 min.) and “Blackout” (7 min.); and Oscar nominee “Doctor De Soto” (10 min.).
Once in a Lifetime (Les héritiers)
Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar, France, 2014,  105 min., in French with English subtitles, live-action narrative
Noon Thursday, Nov. 12, Plaza Frontenac
Appropriate for grades 10-12 (strong language)
A dedicated history teacher at a French high school, Anne Gueguen (Ariane Ascaride), is determined to give the best education she can to her underprivileged inner-city pupils. Overcoming their apathy, however, proves more difficult than expected. Frustrated but undaunted, Anne tests her multicultural classroom with a unique assignment: a national competition on the theme of child victims of the Nazi concentration camps. The project is initially met with extreme resistance, until a face-to-face encounter with a Holocaust survivor changes the students’ attitudes dramatically. Despite their long-shot odds of winning, these once-rebellious teens soon begin to see themselves in a whole new light. Based on a true story, “Once in a Lifetime” demonstrates the enduring impact of the Holocaust in transforming future generations.

Friday, Nov. 13

To Kill a Mockingbird - 50 seats left!
Robert Mulligan, U.S., 1962, 129 min., in English, live-action narrative
10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 13, St. Louis Public Library
Appropriate for grades 6-12
Website for more info: NEA Big Read: To Kill a Mockingbird
This much-loved classic is based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of 1960. Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) is a lawyer in a racially divided Alabama town in the 1930s. Despite enormous pressure, he agrees to defend a young black man who is accused of raping a white woman, serving as an example of courage and conviction to his daughter, Scout (Mary Badham).

Jeremy (El Jeremías)
Anwar Safa, Spain, 2015,  99 min., in Spanish with English subtitles, live-action narrative
Noon Thursday, Nov. 13, Plaza Frontenac
Appropriate for grades 4-8
“Jeremy” is the story of a misfit. An extremely bright little boy – a certified genius– Jeremy struggles to succeed in the face of the ignorance and poverty of his family. And despite being only 8 years old, he’s forced to anticipate the most difficult decision of his life: What does he want to be when he grows up?


In-School Presentations

SOLD OUT Get in the Way: The Journey of John Lewis (with its director) – read description above – is available for in-school presentations on the afternoon of Nov. 9 only. Appropriate for grades 9-12
SOLD OUT The Whole World Was Watching: Photographs and Videos of Ferguson by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (with a Post photographer)  – read description above – is available for in-school presentation on select days and times; inquire about availability. Appropriate for grades 9-12

The following films – in English unless otherwise noted – are available as in-school presentations from Nov. 9-13:


Black Girl in Suburbia (Melissa Lowery, U.S., 55 min., documentary feature): While sharing her experiences as an African American growing up in a white suburb, filmmaker Lowery speaks with her 6- and 8-year-old daughters about their own lives and interviews two groups of young women of color growing up in suburban areas. Appropriate for grades 6-12

Code Oakland (Kelly Amis, U.S., 21 min., documentary short): As Silicon Valley spreads into Oakland in search of cheaper real estate, local social entrepreneurs are working to ensure that black youth become leaders and even transformers of the tech revolution. Appropriate for grades 9-12

Goodbye Theresienstadt: See description above. Appropriate for grades 9-12

The Heroin Project (Ashley Seering & Cory Byers, U.S., 54 min., documentary feature): Focused on events in Madison County, Ill., the film raises awareness about the devastating impact of heroin, documenting a widespread problem that affects the entire country. Depending on the date requested, a speaker may be available to accompany in-school screenings for Q&As; inquire about availability. Appropriate for grades 9-12

Monica and Gabriel (Michael Magidson, U.S., 26 min., documentary short): Executed President Nicolae Ceausescu had attempted to orchestrate a population boom in Romania, resulting in an estimated 100,000 orphaned children, including siblings Monica and Gabriel, who overcome seemingly insurmountable odds because of their loving bond and unwavering work ethic. Appropriate for grades 9-12

Ota Benga: See description above. Depending on the date requested, a speaker may be available to accompany in-school screenings for Q&As; inquire about availability. Appropriate for grades 9-12

Picking Up the Pieces (Joshua Tebeau, Poland, 27 min., in English, French & Polish with English subtitles, documentary short): Nine Jewish Holocaust survivors who were children when they were interned tell the story of how they rebuilt their lives after World War II. Appropriate for grades 9-12

Riding My Way Back (Robin Fryday & Peter Rosenbaum, U.S., 28 min., documentary short): A chronicle of one soldier's journey back from the brink of suicide with the help of a horse named Fred. Appropriate for grades 9-12

Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper (Dawn Porter, U.S., 48 min., documentary feature): A look at four programs that exemplify the principles of President Obama’s My Brother's Keeper initiative to improve the life outcomes of boys and young men of color. Appropriate for grades 9-12

Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot (Bill Brummel, U.S., 40 min., documentary short): The story of a courageous group of Alabama students and teachers who fought a nonviolent battle to win voting rights for African Americans in the South. Appropriate for grades 9-12

Teen Press (T.C. Johnstone, U.S., 30 min.,  documentary short): A look at the journalism program at a Santa Barbara, Calif., middle school, in which eight journalism students find out what kind of world they will be inheriting from those who are creating it. Appropriate for grades 6-9

The Trials of Constance Baker Motley (Rick Rodgers, U.S., 25 min., documentary short): At the height of the civil-rights movement, Constance Baker Motley joined the NAACP’s legal team, becoming the only woman in the group. Appropriate for grades 9-12

Welcome to Unity: See description above. Depending on the date requested, the director may be available to accompany in-school screenings for Q&As; inquire about availability. Appropriate for grades 9-12

The Write Stuff: Animated Adaptations of Children’s Books by Weston Woods: See description above. Program includes eight shorts, between 7 and 13 min. long, which can be used in any combination. Appropriate for grades 1-4

Writer (Anneliese Sogn, U.S., 21 min., documentary short): A profile of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Anthony Doerr (“All the Light We Cannot See”), whose works span the globe, taking place in Liberia, South Africa, China, Lithuania, France, Germany, and the U.S. Appropriate for grades 9-12



For all in-school presentations, schools will need to be able to screen the films from DVDs, preferably with a digital projector.

For more information or to make reservations contact Tommy Callahan or Brian Spath:

Cinema St. Louis
3547 Olive St.
St. Louis, MO 63103-1000
314.312.3555 (Tommy Callahan phone)
314.289.4153 (Brian Spath phone)
314.289.4159 (fax)
Download a PDF form or fill out our online form.