The 30th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival opens with a powerful Missouri-based documentary by acclaimed documentarian Robert Greene, the filmmaker-in-chief at the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the University of Missouri. With director Robert Greene, Contemporary Cinema Award honoree, and “Procession’s” subjects/co-creators. The film is followed by what’s sure to be a compelling Q&A. With director Robert Greene, Contemporary Cinema Award honoree, and “Procession’s” subjects/co-creators.
“American Underdog” tells the inspirational true story of Kurt Warner (Zachary Levi), who went from a stock boy at a grocery store to a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Hall of Fame quarterback. With Kurt and Brenda Warner.
Nina Gilden Seavey was 12 years old on May 4, 1970, the day the Air Force ROTC building on the Washington University campus burned to the ground in an anti-war protest. Her father, civil-rights attorney Louis Gilden, represented several students arrested and sentenced on federal charges, the only such charges levied against protesters in the U.S. With Nina Gilden Seavey, Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award honoree, and Sarah Fenske, host of St. Louis Public Radio's "St. Louis on the Air."
The surrealist movement — started by Guillaume Apollinaire and eventually led by André Breton — had its roots in France, and the earliest films that adhered to its principles also originated there. This program features a trio of foundational films. With live music by the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra.
SLIFF honors philanthropist Mary Strauss with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this tribute program on the fest’s final day. St. Louisans are certainly familiar with Mary’s many accomplishments — such as the restoration of the Fox Theatre — and acts of civic generosity, but she’s also been a major figure in the history of Cinema St. Louis. After the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mary, there will be an intermission, and at 5 pm her favorite film, “Sunset Boulevard,” will screen. Attendees of the tribute can stay for the film, of course, but we’ll also welcome other audience members to join us for the free screening.
During this master class, the Entertainment & Media attorneys of Capes Sokol will share their insights in the legal needs of filmmakers, including business formation, deal structure, network and distribution contracts, talent agreements, production legal, rights acquisition and clearance, licensing, and copyright and trademark protection.
The festival interviews multiple SLIFF alum Ryan Eslinger, who was born and raised in the St. Louis area, about his diverse career in film as a multi-hyphenate. Ryan’s debut film — made while he was still in school — was “Madness and Genius,” which starred Tom Noonan and was shot in 18 days on high-definition video for $20,000.
SLIFF holds a conversation with William Joyce, who has achieved worldwide recognition as an author, illustrator, and pioneer in the digital and animation industry. His most recent film, “Mr. Spam Gets a New Hat,” plays the fest in the SLIFF/Kids Family Shorts 1 virtual program. Bill began his film career on “Toy Story” and has since been a producer/director/screenwriter/production designer in both animation and live action. In 2009, he founded Moonbot Studios, a multimedia storytelling company producing books, apps, films, and video games. Conducting the interview with Bill is former Cinema St. Louis Award honoree Brian Hohlfeld.
As part of the New Filmmakers Forum (NFF), SLIFF holds a conversation with the participating directors: Justin Blake Crum (“Papaw Land”), Hunter Hopewell (“Shellfish”), Paula Rhodes (“Delicate State”), Isabel del Rosal (“Walk with Me”), and Alana Waksman (“We Burn Like This”). The event is moderated by Andrea Sporcic Klund, the film commissioner at the Missouri Division of Tourism, who leads the discussion of both the directors’ five films and general issues related to American-independent filmmaking.
The fest talks with Sam Zvibleman about his ever-ascending career as an award-winning film and television writer/director. Sam is the co-creator and director of Hulu’s “Pen15,” Emmy-nominated for Best Comedy Series. Before that, Sam received the Canadian Screen Award for Best Director for the CBC limited series “The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island.”
This seminar will address issues related to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) documentary filmmakers, exploring such topics as the opportunities and specific challenges that exist in the doc world and examining the question of who should properly tell certain stories.
The festival comes to a conclusion with a free closing-night awards presentation. SLIFF presents both its juried-competition awards, which include the Spotlight on Inspiration Documentary Award and its $5,000 cash prize, and audience-choice awards.