Festival Awards

28th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival Awards

Presented Nov. 17, 2019


SLIFF presented one honorary and three major filmmaking awards during the course of the 2019 festival: Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Awards to Josh Aronson and Brad Schiff; Women in Film Award to Lisa Cortes; and a Lifetime Achievement Award to longtime SLIFF mega-supporter Marcia Harris.


Shorts Awards

Juries choose the winners of seven awards from among the shorts in competition. The SLIFF shorts competition is officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, making the winners in the Best of Fest, Best Animated, Best Live Action, and Best Documentary categories eligible to submit for Oscar® consideration. The 2019 winners:

  • Best Documentary Short: “Charon” directed by Cullen Parr
  • Best Local Short: “St. Louis Superman” directed by Sami Khan & Smriti Mundhra
  • Best Short Short: “Grab My Hand: A Letter to My Dad” directed by Camrus Johnson & Pedro Piccinini
  • Best International Short: “Winter in the Rainforest” directed by Anu-Laura Tuttelberg
  • Best Animated Short: “Two” directed by Emre Okten
  • Best Live-Action Short: “Miller & Son” directed by Asher Jelinsky
  • Best of Fest: “The Neighbor’s Window” directed by Marshall Curry


Interfaith Awards

Juries gives Interfaith Awards to both a documentary and a narrative, choosing from among 16 competition films (eight in each category), which were selected for their artistic merit; contribution to the understanding of the human condition; and recognition of ethical, social, and spiritual values. The 2019 winners:

  • Best Documentary Feature:  “Objector” directed by Molly Stuart
  • Best Narrative Feature: “Cold November” directed by Ismet Sijarina


St. Louis Film Critics Association Joe Pollack and Joe Williams Awards

In conjunction with the St. Louis Film Critics organization, SLIFF holds juried competitions for documentary and narrative features. The awards are named in honor of the late St. Louis Post-Dispatch critics Joe Pollack (narrative) and Joe Williams (documentary). The winners are picked by two juries composed of St. Louis film critics. SLIFF chose eight films to compete in each category. The 2019 winners:

  • Best Documentary Feature: “We Believe in Dinosaurs” directed by Clayton Brown & Monica Long Ross
  • Best Narrative Feature: “Sorry We Missed You” directed by Ken Loach


New Filmmakers Forum Emerging Director Award (The Bobbie)

The New Filmmakers Forum (NFF) annually presents the Emerging Director Award. Since its inception, NFF was co-curated by Bobbie Lautenschlager. Bobbie died in the summer of 2012, and SLIFF honors her memory by nicknaming the NFF Emerging Director Award as the Bobbie. Five works by first-time feature filmmakers competed for the prize, which includes a $500 cash award. The 2019 winner:

  • Emerging Director Award (“The Bobbie”): “Princess of the Row” directed by Van Maximilian Carlson


Spotlight on Inspiration Documentary Award

This juried competition awards a $5,000 prize to a feature documentary that focuses on people working to make the world a better place and that inspires audience members and leaves them with a sense of hope for the future. The 2019 winner:

  • My Name is Pedro” directed by Lillian LaSalle


Best of Fest Audience Choice Awards

Audience voting determines the winner of three awards from among the films in competition. 

The 2019 winners:

  • Leon Award for Best Documentary Film: “Objector” directed by Molly Stuart
  • TV5MONDE Award for Best International Film: “Balloon” directed by Michael Herbig
  • Best Film: “Just Mercy” directed by Destin Daniel Cretton