By Joi Dai
The 27th Annual St. Louis International Film Festival will be held November 2 through the 11th, 2018. Cinema St. Louis offers programs that provide glimpses of the human experience from around the world: addressing issues of race, ethnicity, and sexual identity. In January 1992, a team of nonprofits and universities (Grand Center, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Film Partnership, Webster University, Legacy Productions, and Washington University) were established to present the first St. Louis Film Festival in April 1992. The St. Louis Film Festival Inc. was established as a Missouri non-profit corporation in July 1992.
In 1998, the organization changed its name to the St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) in order to emphasize the event’s increasing international material. For 15 years now, SLIFF has presented the Georgia Frontier Cinema for Students Program: which provides free screenings to St. Louis-area schools. SLIFF offers free daytime film screenings for children and teens from participating St. Louis-area schools. This year’s selections include shorts, documentary features, narrative features and shorts programs.
SLIFF continues it’s tradition of offering a large selection of free events to maximize the outreach into communities, along with making the festival affordable to all. On the first weekend, the festival screenings offer free family friendly shorts programs at The Gathering with free screenings of “Inventing Tomorrow” and “Modest Heroes” at The Tivoli. Cinema St. Louis also presents a selection of family films each year, including a pair of free screenings on the second weekend at the Missouri History Museum: “The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales”, and also “Mary and the Witch’s Flower.” A selection of family documentaries will also play at The Gathering, Missouri History Museum and Tivoli, with a focus on human-rights issues in the U.S. and around the world.
A large number of programs organized under the title “Race in America: The Black Experience” will be offered: these commemorate the unjust history in Ferguson. Among the highlights of this series are the narrative features “Green Book”, “If Beale Street Could Talk” and “Little Woods”. The documentary features “Say Her Name”, “This One’s for the Ladies”, “United Skates”, along with the St. Louis-focused “The Color of Medicine”. There will also be the Doc Shorts: “Black Voices”, and “Where the Pavement Ends”.
The festival also ensures a significant amount of attention is devoted to the contributions of women in film. This year is highlighted by Women in Film Award honoree – actor and director – Melanie Mayron, while she accompanies the screening of “Snapshots”. SLIFF also examines the current state of women in the film industry through Tom Donahue’s “This Changes Everything”. Seven significant film figures will be honored with SLIFF awards: Joe Edwards and John Goodman with Lifetime Achievement Awards; Jason Reitman with a Contemporary Cinema Award; Jim Finn, Jane Gillooly, and Karyn Kusama with Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Awards; and Melanie Mayron with a Women in Film Award.