The 2018 festival will take place Nov. 1-11, 2018. Below is information regarding the 2017 festival.

Mr. Handy's Blues


Sunday, Nov. 5 at 7:00pm

“Mr. Handy’s Blues” chronicles the life of William Christopher (aka W. C.) Handy, known worldwide as the Father of the Blues. Handy’s trajectory to success is an against-all-odds odyssey that took him from a strict religious home in Northern Alabama, to a low point of despair in St. Louis, to becoming one of the most revered composers of the 20th century. Handy’s vision, love of music, and talent transforms the oral traditions of his African-American countrymen into a unique and commercial musical genre: the blues. Interviews with Taj Mahal, Bobby Rush, and Vince Giordano bring Handy’s story to life, and Handy himself is present in rare archival footage and audio. “Mr. Handy’s Blues” also features performances of Handy’s songs — including such standards as “St. Louis Blues,” “The Memphis Blues,” and “Beale Street Blues” — by current artists.

$15 for special event
86 min.

Directed by

Joanne Fish



Film Category

Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight Music Spotlight Race in America: The Black Experience Show-Me Cinema Women in Film Spotlight


African American Music


With director Fish and a live musical performance by pianist Ethan Leinwand, vocalist Valerie Kirchoff, and trumpeter TJ Muller.

Sponsored by

Linda & Erv Rhode

Film Website

Official Website

Shown with

Blues & Ragtime: The Sounds of St. Louis

Blues & Ragtime: The Sounds of St. Louis

St. Louis Artworks

The story of how ragtime music — with it local roots — became the foundation for much of modern blues, R&B, and hip-hop.

With Mark Clark of St. Louis Artworks.
11 min.