Our History

In January 1992, nonprofits and universities collaborated to establish the St. Louis Film Festival, which later evolved into the renowned St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) and paved the way for Cinema St. Louis (CSL).

CSL expanded into a year-round film hub, officially rebranding as Cinema St. Louis in 2002, demonstrating a broader commitment to programming. At its core, CSL believes in film's power for education, inspiration, and cultural exchange, exemplified by initiatives like the Cinema for Students Program, launched in 2003 under SLIFF. From the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase to QFest, CSL's festivals showcase inclusivity and artistic expression. From the Classic French Film Festival to free summer Filmmaking Camps for teens, CSL engages audiences of all ages and backgrounds in cinematic arts, extending its reach beyond festivals through educational initiatives and partnerships.

In 2023, CSL acquired the historic Hi-Pointe Theatre to provide a consistent venue for high-quality film programming, expand education opportunities, and offer local filmmakers an affordable showcase. Additionally, it attracts nationwide visitors for events, serves as a rental venue, honors members and volunteers, and celebrates film as cultural art through themed series and festivals.