Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight

Sponsored by Mary Strauss

#sugarwater

Saturday, November 5 at 1:00pm

The documentary “#sugarwater” provides a revealing behind-the-scenes look at the groundbreaking Graeae (pronounced Grey Eye) Theater Company, whose mission emphasizes the integration of deaf and disabled performers into its productions. The documentary records... Read more

Agents of Change

Friday, November 4 at 7:30pm

As the civil-rights, Black Power, and anti-Vietnam War movements made national headlines in the late 1960s, another, less-known struggle for inclusion was taking place on college campuses. Exemplified by protests at San Francisco State and Cornell University (with... Read more

Among Wolves

Saturday, November 12 at 4:00pm
Sunday, November 13 at 6:00pm

Twenty years after the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to struggle with little help from those in power. In one small mountain town, however, an unorthodox leader has emerged, determined to help those around him finally escape from the shadow of war. A born... Read more

Art of the Prank

Saturday, November 5 at 5:30pm

“Art of the Prank” offers a hilarious and provocative profile of New York artist Joey Skaggs, the godfather of the media hoax. Famed for such media fictions as the Celebrity Sperm Bank, the Cathouse for Dogs, the Fat Squad, and the Portofess (a mobile confessional... Read more

Bang! The Bert Berns Story

Saturday, November 12 at 6:00pm

Music meets the Mob in this biographical documentary, narrated by the E Street Band’s Steven Van Zandt, about the life and career of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bert Berns, the most important ’60s songwriter and record producer whose name you’ve never... Read more

Bob's Tour: Understanding What We See

Saturday, November 5 at 4:00pm

Washington University graduate Jun Bae profiles Bob Hansman, a beloved architecture professor at the school. In its portrait of a white man with a black son, the film provides an intimate look at Hansman and his insights into segregated St. Louis. The film follows... Read more

Bogdan's Journey

Sunday, November 13 at 3:00pm

“Bogdan’s Journey” is a story about conflict and reconciliation, about contemporary Poland and its Jewish past. Kielce, Poland, was the site of Europe’s last Jewish pogrom. In 1946, townspeople killed 40 Holocaust survivors seeking shelter in a downtown building,... Read more

Camden: Love/Hate

Saturday, November 12 at 3:00pm

“Camden: Love/Hate” follows six teenagers from Camden, N.J., as they document the story of their city, from the glory days of the postwar boom to today’s violent and fraught reality. After learning filmmaking skills at a last-chance high school, the Camden Center... Read more

The Children of the Noon

Saturday, November 5 at 4:00pm

“The Children of the Noon” begins as a beautifully shot and composed observational work that quietly documents the goings-on at an orphanage in the Kenyan village of Nchiru. During its gentle first half, the film provides a discreet look into the orphans’ lives... Read more

Contemporary Color

Saturday, November 5 at 8:30pm

In “Contemporary Color,” 10 of the country’s elite color-guard teams — the flag-flipping, sequin-studded crème de la crème of the “sport of the arts” — sync-step with musical luminaries for a bacchanalia of beats, sabre-spinning, and glitter cannons. The organizer... Read more

Davi's Way

Sunday, November 6 at 4:00pm

Legendary character actor Robert Davi has appeared in more than 130 films, including beloved cult classic “The Goonies” — as the opera-singing villain — and Bond film “License to Kill.” Almost inevitably typecast as the bad guy because of his rugged looks, Davi... Read more

Doc Shorts: An Artist's Eye

Friday, November 11 at 5:00pm

Doc Shorts: Beyond the Talking Head

Friday, November 4 at 5:00pm

Doc Shorts: Black Lives Matter

Saturday, November 12 at 7:00pm

Doc Shorts: Craft

Wednesday, November 9 at 5:00pm

Doc Shorts: Eccentricity

Monday, November 7 at 5:00pm

Doc Shorts: Humans of Syria

Tuesday, November 8 at 5:00pm

Doc Shorts: Justice

Friday, November 4 at 5:05pm

Doc Shorts: Valor

Thursday, November 10 at 5:00pm

Double Bill: Long Live the King and King Kong

Sunday, November 6 at 6:00pm

SLIFF bows down to the King — Kong, that is — with a double bill of “Long Live the King” and the 1933 classic that introduced the giant gorilla to the awestruck world. The documentary “Long Live the King” explores the enduring... Read more

Double Bill: The Nutty Professor and Jerry Lewis: The Man Behind the Clown

Saturday, November 12 at 1:00pm

Since his earliest days, SLIFF Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Jerry Lewis had the masses laughing with his visual gags, pantomime sketches, and signature slapstick humor. But Lewis was far more than just a funny performer. After his breakup with partner Dean... Read more

Dream/Killer

Saturday, November 12 at 7:30pm

Many St. Louisans likely have dim memories of the 2001 murder of Columbia (Mo.) Tribune sports editor Kent Heitholt. But for the Ferguson family, that tragic event has remained all too vivid. Convicted of the crime — which took place when he was a 17-year-old high... Read more

The Eagle Huntress

Thursday, November 10 at 6:45pm

In “The Eagle Huntress,” 13-year-old Aisholpan trains to become the first girl in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter. Many old Kazakh eagle hunters vehemently reject the idea of a woman taking part in their ancient tradition, but... Read more

Enlighten Us: The Rise and Fall of James Arthur Ray

Saturday, November 5 at 3:00pm

“Enlighten Us” relates the cautionary tale of motivational star James Arthur Ray, tracing his meteoric rise and fall, and focusing on his return to the lucrative world of self-help after a negligent-homicide conviction. At his career’s height, Ray was overwhelmed... Read more

A Family Affair

Sunday, November 6 at 3:30pm

On his 30th birthday, filmmaker Tom Fassaert receives a mysterious invitation from his 95-year-old grandmother Marianne to come visit her in South Africa. Tom’s knowledge of Marianne is slight, limited to the predominantly negative stories told by his father, Rob... Read more

Feral Love

Friday, November 11 at 7:30pm

World-class violist Dorian Rence, who has performed with the New York Philharmonic for 40 years, has devoted her life to playing music, but she’s just as passionately committed to caring for a small colony of feral cats in the railroad tunnels of New York City.... Read more

Free Cece!

Saturday, November 12 at 2:30pm

On her way to the store with a group of friends, trans African-American woman Chrishaun Reed “CeCe” McDonald was verbally insulted — with both racial and trans-phobic slurs — and then brutally attacked outside a bar. In the altercation that followed, a man was... Read more

Gary Numan: Android in La La Land

Friday, November 11 at 9:00pm

In the late ’70s and early ’80s, Gary Numan, the godfather of electronic pop music, took the sound of early electronica and fused it with an white-faced, black-eyed “android” alter ego, creating a unique sound and inspiring a legion of admiring Numanoids. Topping... Read more

Gentlemen of Vision

Thursday, November 10 at 7:30pm

In the world of competitive stepping, the Gentlemen of Vision are the ones to beat. Offstage, the teen members of GOV — as the team is known — are growing up in the struggling working-class suburbs of St. Louis. Although GOV is based in Riverview Gardens, its... Read more

Germans & Jews

Sunday, November 13 at 2:30pm

Provocative and enlightening, “Germans & Jews” offers a new perspective on a complex history. Today, Europe’s fastest-growing Jewish population is in Berlin. Germany is considered one of the most democratic societies in the world, assuming the position of... Read more

Girl on Girl

Wednesday, November 9 at 7:30pm

“Girl on Girl” provides an illuminating group portrait of six women struggling with feminine-lesbian invisibility. Indistinguishable from straight women, feminine lesbians find that their day-to-day experience is plagued by interrogation and by society’s... Read more

Gold Balls

Tuesday, November 8 at 4:30pm

Tennis has long been associated with high-profile stars and young phenoms, but a growing number of active senior tennis players continue to compete long after athletes in other sports have hung up their cleats. For players age 80 and older, this is the world of... Read more

Gypsy: Rock & Roll Nomads

Saturday, November 5 at 2:00pm

One of the bedrock bands on which KSHE built its foundation as a progressive-rock powerhouse, Gypsy has a long and deep relationship with St. Louis. Although the band never quite achieved widespread fame on the national level, the band became a KSHE favorite and... Read more

The Happy Film

Saturday, November 12 at 1:00pm

Famed Austrian graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister is doing well. He lives in New York, the city of his dreams, and he’s fabulously successful in his work, which includes designing album covers for the Rolling Stones, Jay-Z, and the Talking Heads. But in the back... Read more

Hotel Dallas

Friday, November 11 at 7:00pm

By turns ethereal, meditative, and surreal, “Hotel Dallas” — a frequently funny, consistently experimental hybrid of fiction and nonfiction — premiered at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. Blurring the lines between memoir, documentary re-enactment,... Read more

I Am the Blues

Friday, November 4 at 7:30pm

“I Am the Blues” celebrates the elder statesmen (and women) who continue to make music down in the Delta, from impromptu jams in living rooms to performances in grand concert halls. Embarking on a musical journey through the swamps of the Louisiana bayou, the juke... Read more

Indivisible

Sunday, November 13 at 6:00pm

Providing moving proof that love knows no borders, “Indivisible” chronicles the very real plight of the people at the heart of our nation’s immigration debate. Renata, Evelyn, and Antonio were young children when their parents brought them to the U.S. in search of... Read more

It's a Rockabilly World

Saturday, November 12 at 9:00pm

SLIFF alum Brent Huff (“Cat City”) — a native of Springfield, Mo., and a Mizzou grad — returns to the fest with a lively documentary on rockabilly, both the music and the burgeoning subculture that’s grown up around it. Performers such as relative newcomer Drake... Read more

Jerry Lewis: The Man Behind the Clown

Saturday, November 12 at 1:00pm

Since his earliest days, SLIFF Lifetime Achievement Award honoree Jerry Lewis had the masses laughing with his visual gags, pantomime sketches, and signature slapstick humor. But Lewis was far more than just a funny performer. After the breakup of his famed... Read more

Kate Plays Christine

Sunday, November 6 at 1:00pm

A gripping, nonfiction psychological thriller, Robert Greene’s “Kate Plays Christine” follows actress Kate Lyn Sheil (“House of Cards,” “The Girlfriend Experience,” “Listen Up Philip”) as she prepares for her next role: playing Christine Chubbuck, a Florida... Read more

The Last Laugh

Sunday, November 13 at 3:00pm

Offering fresh insights into a frequently examined subject, “The Last Laugh” asks a deliberately provocative question: Is the Holocaust an absolutely off-limits topic for comedy? History shows that the victims of the Nazi concentration camps used humor as a means... Read more

Legs: A Big Issue in a Small Town

Friday, November 4 at 7:30pm

Set in Sag Harbor, a small, frozen-in-time village in the tony Hamptons, “Legs” recounts the controversy that results when a local gallery installs Larry Rivers’ large sculpture of a woman’s legs. Because the artwork is attached to the side of a building, local... Read more

The Liberators

Monday, November 7 at 7:30pm

Medieval art treasures seized by the Nazis go missing at the end of World War II. Were they destroyed in the chaos of the final battles? Or were these 1,000-year-old masterpieces — worth an estimated $350 million — stolen by advancing American troops? For more... Read more

Long Live the King

Sunday, November 6 at 6:00pm

“Long Live the King” explores the enduring fascination with one of the biggest stars — both literally and figuratively — in Hollywood history: the mighty King Kong. Produced and directed by Frank Dietz and Trish Geiger, the creative team behind the award-winning “... Read more

The Man Who Saw Too Much

Saturday, November 12 at 3:30pm

“The Man Who Saw Too Much” provides a compelling portrait of Mexican photographer Enrique Metinides, who’s increasingly recognized as the contemporary equivalent of Weegee. For most of his career, Metinides worked for downscale, sensationalist newspapers, shooting... Read more

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

Wednesday, November 9 at 7:30pm

“Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise” is the first feature documentary about the world-renowned writer, performer, and activist. This richly textured film provides a comprehensive look at Angelou’s life and work, including her St. Louis roots, her years in Ghana during... Read more

Men in the Arena

Saturday, November 12 at 7:30pm

A touching story of friendship, struggle, and triumph, “Men in the Arena” follows the journey of two friends on the Somali national soccer team who face impossible odds to fulfill their dreams. After surviving two decades of war, Saadiq, 17, and Sa’ad, 20, the... Read more

Milwaukee 53206

Sunday, November 13 at 12:00pm

The stories that “Milwaukee 53206” tells reflect a common way of life for millions of households across the nation — the tragic result of a uniquely American era of mass incarceration. The United States now has the most prisoners of any nation in the world, both... Read more

Mr. Gaga

Sunday, November 6 at 7:00pm

Ohad Naharin, artistic director of Israel’s Batsheva Dance Company, is regarded as one of the most important choreographers in the world. Profiling Naharin at a critical turning point in his personal life, “Mr. Gaga” introduces viewers to a man who combines an... Read more

My Life as a Film

Wednesday, November 9 at 7:00pm

When Eva Vitija came of age, her father gave her a feature-length film about her life. Far from pleasing Eva, the film infuriated her. Her father, filmmaker Joschy Scheidegger, documented his family obsessively, and his daughter had vainly attempted to get away... Read more

Nana

Sunday, November 6 at 12:30pm

At 22, filmmaker Serena Dykman had always known that her maternal grandmother, Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant, was an Auschwitz survivor, but she never dared or cared to inquire more about the Nana she had lost at 11. But after witnessing the terrorist attacks in... Read more

Night School

Saturday, November 5 at 1:00pm

“Night School” examines adult education and the dropout epidemic plaguing inner-city America. The film provides an inside look at a cutting-edge high school located in one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in America and the brave students who attend it.... Read more

The Nine

Saturday, November 12 at 6:30pm

“The Nine” is an intimate and unflinching portrait of a ravaged community living on Modesto's South Ninth Street — "The Nine” — a barren, forgotten street in California’s Great Central Valley (the setting for “The Grapes of Wrath” and Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant... Read more

No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson

Sunday, November 6 at 7:00pm

On Valentine's Day 1993, 17-year-old Bethel High School basketball star Allen Iverson was bowling in Hampton, Va., with five high-school friends. It was supposed to be an ordinary evening, but it became a night that defined Iverson's young life. A quarrel soon... Read more

Off the Rails

Saturday, November 5 at 1:00pm

“Off the Rails” tells the remarkable true story of Darius McCollum, a man with Asperger’s syndrome whose overwhelming love of transit has landed him in jail 32 times for impersonating New York City bus drivers and subway conductors and driving their routes. As a... Read more

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice

Sunday, November 6 at 2:45pm

In 1936, 18 African-American athletes — dubbed the “black auxiliary” by Hitler — participated in the Berlin Olympic Games, defying Nazi Aryan supremacy and Jim Crow racism. Despite their achievements, history forgot all except one, Jesse Owens. “Olympic Pride,... Read more

Opening-Night Reception and St. Louis Brews

Thursday, November 3 at 6:30pm

SLIFF kicks off our 25th anniversary with a beer blast: a suds-centric reception and a work-in-progress screening of “St. Louis Brews,” Bill Streeter’s celebration of all things hops-related in... Read more

Other People’s Footage: Copyright & Fair Use

Saturday, November 5 at 10:00am

The centerpiece of a free master class on fair use and copyright, “Other People’s Footage” explores the three questions crucial to determining fair-use exemptions. The film presents helpful illustrative examples from nonfiction, fiction, and experimental films... Read more

Out of the Box: Ending the Cycle of Incarceration

Friday, November 4 at 7:30pm

In the spring of 2000, the federal judges of the Eastern District of Missouri selected Doug Burris as the new chief probation officer and charged him with reversing a potentially dangerous trend: At the time, the district exceeded by 30 percent the national... Read more

Ovarian Psycos

Thursday, November 10 at 7:30pm

The Ovarian Psycos gear up and ride out into the night, fanning out in pairs of two, four, and six. In constant motion, cruising up and down the storied streets of Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles, and Lincoln Heights, they call out to new riders to join them in a... Read more

The Peacemaker

Saturday, November 5 at 7:30pm

This inspiring documentary profiles international peacemaker Padraig O'Malley, who helps make peace for others but struggles to find it for himself. The film captures Padraig's isolated life in Cambridge, Mass., and follows him over five years to some of the most... Read more

The Prison in Twelve Landscapes

Saturday, November 12 at 4:30pm

An essential documentary, Brett Story’s incisive and wide-ranging “The Prison in Twelve Landscapes” critically examines the prison system and its place — social, economic, and psychological — in American society. More people are imprisoned in the United States... Read more

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

Sunday, November 6 at 12:00pm

It began as a housing marvel. Two decades later, it ended in rubble. But what happened to those caught in between? “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth” tells the story of the transformation of the American city in the decades after World War II, through the lens of the infamous... Read more

Raising Bertie

Friday, November 11 at 7:30pm

“Raising Bertie” is an intimate portrait of three African-American boys coming of age in rural North Carolina. Set in Bertie County, a rural African-American-led community in Eastern North Carolina, the documentary takes audiences deep into the emotional lives of... Read more

Rawstock

Sunday, November 6 at 7:00pm

“Rawstock” — a co-presentation with Washington University Libraries’ Film & Media Archive — makes a return engagement to SLIFF, offering another celebration of the educational films of yesteryear. A fresh batch of the shorts will screen — for free! — at Stage... Read more

Requiem for a Running Back

Saturday, November 5 at 7:30pm

Director Rebecca Carpenter’s father, Lew Carpenter, was a world-championship running back for Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers. When he dies, her family receives a surprise call from Boston University’s brain bank, which asks for Lew’s brain for study. BU’s... Read more

Robert Shaw: Man of Many Voices

Wednesday, November 9 at 7:30pm

Largely self-taught, with only scant formal musical training, the remarkable Robert Shaw defied expectations by emerging from the world of pop music to achieve near-godlike status as a maker of choral music and to establish himself as a major conductor with the... Read more

Santoalla

Sunday, November 6 at 1:00pm

A pitch-perfect rural mystery, “Santoalla” chronicles what happens when a progressive Dutch couple, Martin Verfondern and Margo Pool, escape the constraints and complications of the city by decamping to the Spanish countryside. Exhausted after a fight against... Read more

Screenagers

Saturday, November 12 at 4:15pm

Today’s children and teens, with their rapid-fire thumbs and six-second attention spans, sometimes appear to be scrolling through life. Recognizing the symptoms in her own kids, physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston researched the problem and discovered that the... Read more

Searching for Home

Saturday, November 5 at 6:00pm
Saturday, November 12 at 6:30pm

A former exchange student at UMSL — his doc short “Harvard Man” appeared at the 2014 St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase — director Hari Secic returns to St. Louis with his first feature, a vérité portrait of a man torn between two counties. A Bosnian Muslim, Sead... Read more

Seed

Saturday, November 12 at 12:15pm

“Seed” chronicles the David-and-Goliath battle now being fought to ensure the diversity of the Earth’s seed stock.The stakes couldn’t be higher. Few things are as miraculous and vital as seeds. Like tiny time capsules, they contain the songs, sustenance, memories... Read more

She Started It

Tuesday, November 8 at 7:30pm

Following five women over two years as they pitch venture capitalists, build teams, bring products to market, fail, and start again, “She Started It” takes viewers on a global roller-coaster ride from San Francisco to Mississippi, from France to Vietnam. Along the... Read more

Show Me Democracy

Sunday, November 6 at 6:30pm

“Show Me Democracy” asks: Can a small group of young people make a difference in complex and imperfect systems? Following the advocacy and activist efforts of seven college students in the aftermath of events in Ferguson, the documentary chronicles their thoughts... Read more

The Slippers

Sunday, November 13 at 3:30pm

Cinephiles, Oz fans, and Garland groupies will delight in “The Slippers,” which traces the unbelievable history of the sparkly-red footwear sported by Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” There were actually multiple sets of the ruby slippers, and the movie tells the... Read more

Sonita

Sunday, November 13 at 1:00pm

Two-time Sundance Film Festival award winner “Sonita” tells the inspiring story of Sonita Alizadeh, an 18-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran, who thinks of Michael Jackson and Rihanna as her spiritual parents and dreams of becoming a big-name rapper. For the time... Read more

Southern Rites

Saturday, November 12 at 12:00pm

“Southern Rites” highlights the entrenched racial divides and vestiges of racism that stubbornly persist in Montgomery County, Ga. The film follows filmmaker Gillian Laub as she returns to Mount Vernon, where she once photographed the town’s segregated proms. When... Read more

St. Louis Brews

Thursday, November 3 at 8:00pm

SLIFF kicks off our 25th anniversary with a beer blast: a suds-centric reception and a work-in-progress screening of “St. Louis Brews,” Bill Streeter’s celebration of all things hops-related in the Lou. Streeter — an alum of the fest whose 2011 documentary “Brick... Read more

Tower

Sunday, November 13 at 6:00pm

Fifty years ago, the nation’s innocence about gun violence was lost. On Aug. 1, 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes. When the gunshots were finally silenced,... Read more

The Trans List

Saturday, November 12 at 1:00pm

The Trans List, directed by portrait photographer and filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and featuring interviews by trans author and advocate Janet Mock, explores the experiences of Americans who identify as transgender. The film gives a platform to a diverse... Read more

Two Trains Runnin’

Sunday, November 13 at 6:00pm

“Two Trains Runnin’ — featuring the music of Gary Clark Jr. — both pays tribute to a pioneering generation of musicians and cuts to the heart of our present moment, offering a crucial vantage from which to view the evolving dynamics of race in America. In June of... Read more

Two Worlds

Sunday, November 6 at 12:00pm

In “Two Worlds,” a sweet, inspiring family portrait, 12-year-old Laura serves as the viewers’ guide through life with her deaf parents — an existence that’s undoubtedly unusual and challenging but also surprisingly ordinary. Laura is an absolute charmer,... Read more

Waiting for B.

Friday, November 11 at 7:00pm

The charming “Waiting for B.” explores the outer reaches of fandom, profiling a hyper-devoted group of Beyoncé worshipers. Lacking the money to buy primo seats to a stadium concert in Sao Paulo, these Queen B. super-fans camp out for two months to edge as close as... Read more

When War Comes Home

Friday, November 11 at 7:30pm

A documentary complement to “The Sand Box,” “When War Comes Home” focuses on the lives of three soldiers returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The men soon discover that post-traumatic stress affects not only their own lives but also those of their wives... Read more

Who Is Lydia Loveless?

Sunday, November 13 at 6:00pm

Gorman Bechard’s entertaining documentary profile “Who Is Lydia Loveless?” thoroughly explores the titular question. Is she a singer/songwriter, an alt-country queen, a cow punk, or a hard rocker? The second coming of Hank Williams or Patti Smith? Or just a... Read more

The Yatzkans

Sunday, November 13 at 12:00pm

Viewing great historical events from a highly personal perspective, “The Yatzkans” traces the journey of the film’s eponymous family across war-torn 20th-century Europe. When Anna-Célia Kendall’s mother dies, the filmmaker must deal with the remaining personal... Read more