Cinema St. Louis is delighted to again offer in-person screenings during the 30th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF), held Nov. 4-21, 2021.

Because the effects of the pandemic continue, this year’s fest will be a hybrid — with a significant number of virtual screenings also available — but in-person screenings will be held on all three screens of the Tivoli Theatre from Nov. 4-14 and Nov. 18-21. 

Other in-person screenings will take place at Washington University’s Brown Hall Auditorium (on the weekends of Nov. 5-6, 12-14, and 19-21) and Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium (on the evenings of Nov. 5-14). 

In addition, the St. Louis Public Library’s Central Library Auditorium will serve as the in-person venue for six Golden Anniversaries screenings of films from 1971. Those screenings will be held on the afternoons of Nov. 6-7, 13-14, and 20-21. 

Finally, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis will partner with SLIFF on two in-person screenings on the evenings of Nov. 4 and 11.

For those who prefer to view from home, many (though not all) of the films that receive in-person screenings will be available virtually through our partner Eventive from Nov. 4-21. SLIFF will also feature a substantial number of films, shorts programs, and livestreams that can only be accessed virtually. 

To protect the safety and health of patrons, SLIFF will require masks and proof of vaccination at in-person screenings. No concessions will be available at any of the venues, including the Tivoli, to ensure audience members remain masked throughout films. Full information on the festival’s Covid-19 policies appear below.

Program Overview

The 30th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival, a presentation of the nonprofit Cinema St. Louis (CSL), continues to provide the opportunity for St. Louis filmgoers to view the finest in world cinema — international films, documentaries, American indies, and shorts that can only be seen at the festival.

 This year, after an all-virtual festival in 2020, SLIFF is pleased to offer a large selection of in-person events, including at all three screens of the Tivoli Theatre, which has been shuttered since the onset of the pandemic. For those who prefer to watch at home, we’ll still provide plenty of options, with nearly 100 virtual programs and livestreams.

Robert Greene

            SLIFF begins on Nov. 4 with a powerful new Missouri-based documentary, “Procession,” which is directed by Robert Greene, the filmmaker-in-chief at the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the University of Missouri. In the film, six men from Kansas City, Mo. — all survivors of childhood sexual assault at the hands of Catholic priests and clergy — come together to direct a drama-therapy-inspired experiment designed to collectively work through their trauma. Greene, who will receive SLIFF’s Contemporary Cinema Award, and many of the film’s subjects will attend the screening to participate in a compelling post-film Q&A.

            On the festival’s final day, SLIFF offers a Tribute to Mary Strauss, which includes a screening of Mary’s favorite film, “Sunset Boulevard.” Mary has played an absolutely essential role in Cinema St. Louis’ evolution, and we’re delighted to honor her with a Lifetime Achievement Award during our 30th edition.

            We’ll also honor two other filmmakers: Documentarian and native St. Louis Nina Gilden Seavey, who will present a free special-event program called “My Fugitive” at the fest, will receive the Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award; and documentarian Deborah Riley Draper, whose film “Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority” screens at SLIFF, will receive the Women in Film Award.

The festival will screen more than 400 shorts and features, and the 2021 SLIFF offers an especially impressive array of the year’s most heralded films, including selections from such destination fests as Sundance, Berlin, SXSW, Hot Docs, Tribeca, Cannes, Venice, Telluride, Toronto, and New York. 

            Among the most enticing English-language studio films are Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” (winner of the People’s Choice Award at Toronto), Mike Mills’ “C’mon C’mon” (with Joaquin Phoenix), Michael Pearce’s “Encounter” (with Riz Ahmed and Octavia Spencer), Stephen Karam’s “The Humans” (with Richard Jenkins, Beanie Feldstein, Stephen Yeun, and Amy Schumer), Clint Bentley’s “Jockey” (with Clifton Collins and Molly Parker), Reinaldo Marcus Green’s “King Richard” (with Will Smith), and Eva Husson’s “Mothering Sunday” (with Colin Firth and Olivia Colman). 

“Belfast”

Major international titles include “A Chiara” from Jonas Carpignano, “Ahed’s Knee” from Nadav Lapid, “France” from Bruno Dumont (“Slack Bay”), “A Hero” from Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”), “Hit the Road” from Panah Panahi, “Memoria” from Apichatpong Weerasethakul (“Tropical Malady”), “One Second” from Zhang Yimou (“House of Flying Daggers”), “Paris, 13th District” from Jacques Audiard (“A Prophet”), “Petite Maman” from Céline Sciamma (“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”), “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” from Ryūsuke Hamaguchi (“Happy Hour”), and “The Worst Person in the World” from Joachim Trier (“Oslo, August 31st”). SLIFF also offers a pair of films from Radu Jude (“Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn” and “Uppercase Print”) and a trio of works by Hong Sangsoo (“In Front of Your Face,” “Introduction,” and “The Woman Who Ran”).

Significant documentaries include Joshua Altman & Bing Liu’s “All These Sons,” John Maggio’s “A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks,” Rex Miller & Sam Pollard’s “Citizen Ashe,” Andrea Arnold’s “Cow,” Mobolaji Olambiwonnu’s “Ferguson Rises,” Brandon Kramer’s “The First Step,” Matthew Heineman’s “The First Wave,” Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s “Flee,” Julie Cohen and Betty West’s “Julia,” Peggy Callahan & Louie Psihoyos’ “Mission: Joy,” Max Lowe’s “Torn,” Debbie Lum’s “Try Harder!,” and Emily and Sarah Kunstler’s “Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America.”

And that’s just scratching the surface of the 2021 lineup, which includes nearly 20 American indies, 29 shorts programs, and eight free archival selections. Below are some of the other highlights of this year’s SLIFF:

The Divided City 

SLIFF’s The Divided City program focuses on the racial divide in St. Louis and other U.S. cities. The films are supported by The Divided City: An Urban Humanities Initiative, a program of Washington U.’s Center for the Humanities that addresses one of the most persistent and vexing issues in urban studies: segregation. 

Sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at Washington University

“The First Wave” documentary

Free and Discounted Programs

SLIFF continues our tradition of offering a large selection of free and discounted events to maximize the fest’s outreach into the community and to make the event affordable to all. In addition, for the 18th year, we present the Georgia Frontiere Cinema for Students Program, which provides free screenings to St. Louis-area schools. This year features 31 free in-person programs, including all screenings at the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis Public Library, and Washington University. We’re also offering a pair of free screenings at the Tivoli, a free in-person master class, and six free livestreams. And the fest features 31 virtual programs at the special price of $5. 

Georgia Frontiere Cinema for Students Program

SLIFF offers free daytime screenings for children and teens from participating St. Louis-area schools. This year’s selections include shorts, documentary features, narrative features, and shorts programs. See the Cinema for Students section of the SLIFF website for full information.

Sponsored by Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rosenbloom (in honor of Georgia Frontiere) and the Hawkins Foundation, with support from the Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation 

Human Rights Spotlight

This selection of documentaries focuses on human-rights issues in the U.S. and the world. 

Sponsored by Sigma Iota Rho Honor Society for International and Area Studies at Washington University and the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute

Master Classes and Seminars

SLIFF provides four free master classes — one in-person event and three livestreams — and a seminar. See the Special Events section of the SLIFF website for full information.

Sponsored by the Chellappa-Vedavalli Foundation

New Filmmakers Forum

The New Filmmakers Forum (NFF), a juried competition of works by first-time feature filmmakers, is an annual highlight of SLIFF. The featured films this year are “Delicate State,” “Papaw Land,” “Shellfish,” “Walk with Me,” and “We Burn Like This,” and the filmmakers will participate in a free roundtable discussion. The screenings and roundtable are hosted by the Missouri Film Office’s Andrea Sporcic Klund. The NFF Emerging Filmmaker Award — nicknamed the Bobbie in honor of the late Bobbie Lautenschlager, NFF’s longtime curator — is presented at SLIFF’s Closing-Night Awards Presentation. 

Sponsored by Barry & Jackie Albrecht and Pat Scallet

Race in America: The Black Experience

Because the events in Ferguson continue to resonate in St. Louis and the country, SLIFF again offers a large number of programs organized under the title Race in America: The Black Experience.  To maximize accessibility and promote dialogue, 12 of the 26 programs in Race in America are free. 

Sponsored by William A. Kerr Foundation 

Show-Me Cinema

Films made in St. Louis and Missouri or by current and former St. Louisans and Missourians are an annual focus of SLIFF. This year’s lineup of Show-Me Cinema is typically strong, featuring 18 feature films, three shorts programs, and four special events.

Sponsored by the Missouri Division of Tourism and Missouri Film Office

SLIFF/Kids Family Films                                                         

Cinema St. Louis presents a selection of eight family programs, including two documentaries and two free collections of shorts. Because patrons younger than 12 are not able to attend in-person screenings this year, all SLIFF/Kids programs are offered virtually.

Tivoli Theatre in University City

COVID-19 POLICIES FOR SLIFF IN-PERSON ATTENDANCE

The safety of our patrons, filmmakers, and volunteers is Cinema St. Louis’ top priority. To ensure everyone is protected, SLIFF has instituted a number of policies for the duration of the festival. 

These policies will be strictly enforced for the protection of everyone. 

Guests must follow the instructions of SLIFF staff members and volunteers. SLIFF reserves the right to deny admission or dismiss any customer for noncompliance. 

The following policies will apply during SLIFF:

  • Proof of full vaccination (at least two weeks after the final dose) of any FDA-approved vaccine is required for all staff members, volunteers, audience members, and filmmakers at each in-person screening and event.
  • Methods of confirming proof of full vaccination are:
    • CDC Vaccine Card and valid photo ID.
    • A photo of a CDC Vaccine Card and valid photo ID.
  • Guests should arrive no earlier than 30 minutes before the scheduled screening time. Any guests arriving earlier will be asked to wait outside in line until the theaters are prepared for seating.
  • Only guests age 12 or older will be permitted to attend.
  • Masks are required for everyone at all times in indoor spaces, and the face coverings must be consistent with the current CDC guidelines.
    • Paper masks, scarves, neck gaiters, shirts pulled up, masks with holes/filters/breathing valves, and makeshift masks are not acceptable.
    • New disposable surgical masks are available to all audience members.
    • Masks must completely cover the mouth and nose and must be replaced if wet or soiled.
    • PPE may be inspected for compliance or issued as needed.
  • No concessions will be available at any venue, and no eating or drinking will be permitted in the theaters. Outside food or drink will also not be permitted.
  • Guests should stay home if not feeling well or exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19 in the past 10 days.
  • Guests who have tested positive for Covid-19 within the past 10 days must stay home.
  • Guests are asked to wash hands as often as possible, use hand-sanitizing stations, and cover nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.

Gloria Swanson and William Holden in “Sunset Boulevard”

TICKET AND PASS INFORMATION

TICKET PRICES

Individual tickets, for either in-person or virtual screenings, are $15 for general admission, $11 for Cinema St. Louis members and students with valid and current photo IDs. Prices are all-inclusive; no additional fees will be added.

The Tribute to Mary Strauss (held on Nov. 21) is $25 and includes a screening of “Sunset Boulevard,” which follows the event.

SLIFF also offers 31 free in-person screenings, six free livestreams, and 31 virtual programs for a special $5 price. Complete information can be found in the Free Events and Discounted Events sections of the festival website.

Free in-person screenings do not require a ticket.

PASS PRICES

Passes can be used for either in-person or virtual screenings and can be used to purchase multiple tickets for an in-person event. Three forms of passes are available:

Sponsors

Title Sponsor: Whitaker Foundation

Sustaining Sponsors: Albrecht Family Foundation, Chellappa-Vedavalli Foundation, Hawkins Foundation, Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation, Ward & Carol Klein, Nancy & Ken Kranzberg, Missouri Arts Council, Missouri Division of Tourism, National Endowment for the Arts, Regional Arts Commission, Chip Rosenbloom & Lucia Rosenbloom, Mary Strauss, Trio Foundation of St. Louis, TV5Monde, William A. Kerr Foundation

Presenting Partners: Center for the Humanities at Washington University, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, The Divided City, Eventive, Film & Media Archive at Washington University Libraries, Film & Media Studies Program at Washington University, Simple DCP, St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis Public Radio, Webster University Film Series

For more information, the public should visit cinemastlouis.org

Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation (FPACF) is pleased to announce online registration is now open for the 11th Annual St. Louis Teen Talent Competition for high school students in the bi-state St. Louis Metropolitan area.  There are no fees to participate or register. This year the Preliminary Round of the competition will be conducted solely by video submissions.

Students will be vying forscholarships, special awards, prizes, and the opportunity to compete in the Finals on the Fabulous Fox Theatre stage. This event showcases the most talented teens in our region who excel in the performing arts. Past Finalists have performed on tour with Hamilton, on NBC’s The Voice, American Idol, in The Muny, with the Chamber Music Society of St. Louis, at the Sheldon Concert Hall, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, at Gateway Grizzlies & St. Louis Cardinals games, and area festivals.

Contestants must be enrolled in the 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grade in the 2020-2021 school year and must attend a high school/home school within a 50-mile radius from the St. Louis Gateway Arch. Acts may be a solo or up to six students performing as a group. Performing arts categories include (but are not limited to): singers, dancers, actors, musicians, comedians, ventriloquists, and circus skill artists. Acts may perform original or published material. High school students can respond to the “Call for Entries” and register on-line at www.foxpacf.org.

Executive Director Judith Cullen noted, “This year, talented teens can compete in our first round by simply registering and submitting a video; there is not another scholarship opportunity as easy as this anywhere in our St. Louis area.”

Finalists in past years have included aerialists, classical and pop singers, a whistler, pianists, a harpist, ukulele artists and other musicians, dancers, jugglers, bands, and baton twirlers. The 2020 winner of the competition was freestyle, hip hop dancer DemBari Taneh from Kirkwood High School who won a $8,000 scholarship and a dance intensive scholarship.

Each round of the competition will have a panel of at least three judges who will adjudicate performances and advance acts to the next round. Judges for the Preliminary and Semi-final rounds are arts professionals from the St. Louis region who are asked to give each act constructive, verbal feedback following each performance. The Finalists will compete on the Fabulous Fox stage.

Students placing First, Second and Third will win college scholarships. Contestants who advance to the Semi-final Round will be eligible for various prizes, special awards, and scholarships. A complete list is available at www.foxpacf.org.  Finalists will also be provided unique performance opportunities within the St. Louis area arranged by FPACF and by request.

“We are always gratified and happy with the response to this event from students, parents, arts organizations and the community. We are thrilled to provide the opportunity for students to perform at the Fox and on other stages around St. Louis. We are pleased that we are able to put talented young people in the spotlight,” said Mary Strauss, FPACF Board President and creator of the St. Louis Teen Talent Competition.

Call for Entries

11th Annual St. Louis Teen Talent Competition

DEADLINE: Dec. 31, 2020

Register on-line: https://www.foxpacf.org/programs/teen-talent-competition/

Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation fosters, promotes, and encourages young people in the
St. Louis region to discover and participate in the joy and wonder of live performances.

In addition to the St. Louis Teen Talent Competition, the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation
also produces a variety of other performing arts programs including
Kids’ Night at the Fabulous Fox, Broadway Master Classes, Educational Encores,
and is a producing partner of the 5th Annual St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awar

The Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis (TWSTL) will increase its reach this summer with a new radio show. “Something Spoken: Tennessee Williams On the Air” is set to launch on July 11. The program will air every other Saturday at 5 p.m. on Classic 107.3 FM. The festival decided to embark on this new venture because “It is important now to unify, elevate and enrich humanity during this very challenging year,” explains Carrie Houk, Executive Artistic Director of TWSTL.

Each episode of “Something Spoken: Tennessee Williams On the Air” will consist of fully produced Williams’ one-act plays along with interviews with scholars, directors and actors. Specific details of each broadcast will be posted on the websites of both Classic 107.3 (classic1073.org) and TWSTL (twstl.org).

Ken Page

Broadway legend and St. Louisan Ken Page will narrate and noted Williams scholar Tom Mitchell will offer commentary on each episode. Performers will include: Nisi Sturgis; Rayme Cornell; J. Samuel Davis; Bob Harvey; Anita Jackson; Tony Merritt II; Elizabeth Teeter; Bradley Tejeda; Rachel Tibbits; Donathan Walters; Kelley Weber; Donna Weinsting and Maggie Wininger.  Brian Hohlfeld, David Kaplan and Tim Ocel will be directing.

“The peak of my virtuosity was in the one-act plays.

Some of which are like firecrackers on a rope.” – Tennessee Williams

“Williams felt that one-acts were his strongest format,” Houk points out. “He started out in St. Louis writing one-act plays, and one of his biggest breaks was winning a competition sponsored by the Group Theater in New York—the first time he signed his name as ‘Tennessee’ rather than ‘Tom.’  He wrote more than 70 throughout his career—sometimes edgy, often experimental, and always infused with his unsurpassed poetry.  Many of them have been presented at the Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis.”

“Something Spoken: Tennessee Williams On the Air” will be sponsored by Mary Strauss, Jane and Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation, Ted Wight, John Russell and Terry Schnuck, with more patrons to be announced in the coming weeks.

TWSTL’s reboot of their Fifth Annual Festival this fall will focus on Williams’ youth and time spent with The Mummers, an offbeat St. Louis theatre company that tried out a number of his early plays and is immortalized in Williams essay “Something Wild.” As long as conditions remain safe to produce, “Tennessee Williams: Something Wild” will run October 22 through November 1 at The Link Auditorium (thelinkauditorium.org), formerly The Wednesday Club and the theatre where The Mummers performed. 

About the Festival

Star on Walk of Fame in the Delmar Loop

The Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis was established in 2016 by Carrie Houk, the award-winning producer, casting director, actor, and educator.   The Festival, which aims to enrich the cultural life of St. Louis by producing an annual theater festival and other artistic events that celebrate the artistry and life of Tennessee Williams, was named the 2019 Arts Startup of the Year by the Arts & Entertainment Council.

In 2014, Houk produced Williams’ Stairs to the Roof with such success that the on- going annual Festival was established. The inaugural Festival was themed “Tennessee Williams: The St. Louis Years,” followed by “The Magic of the Other” in 2017 and “The French Quarter Years” in 2018. The 2019 festival featured Night of the Iguana and A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur. As the years have passed, the awards have mounted. Last year’s St. Louis Theater Circle gave them eleven nominations and seven awards, and this year’s seven nominations garnered four more awards. The Festival has attracted thousands to its readings, panel discussions, concerts, exhibitions, and productions.

Lead sponsorship of the festival is provided by Emerson.  The Festival is also funded in part by Mary Strauss, Ken and Nancy Kranzberg, The Whitaker Foundation, Regional Arts Commission, the Missouri Arts Council, Missouri Humanities Council, Trio Foundation of St Louis and the Arts and Education Council.

About Tennessee Williams

Tennessee Williams drawing by Al Hirschfeld

Born Thomas Lanier Williams III in 1911 in Mississippi, Williams moved to St. Louis at age seven, when his father was made an executive with the International Shoe Company (where the City Museum and the Last Hotel are now located). He lived here for more than two decades, attending Washington University, working at the International Shoe Company, and producing his first plays at local theaters. He credited his sometimes difficult experiences in St. Louis for the deeply felt poetic essence that permeates his artistry. When asked later in life when he left St. Louis, he replied, “I never really left.” Most people are familiar with the famous works that have garnered multiple Pulitzer Prizes, Tony Awards and Academy Awards, such as The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Suddenly Last Summer. He also wrote hundreds of additional plays, stories, essays, and poems, many of which are only now seeing the light of day as his estate permits greater access. He is today considered by many leading authorities to be America’s greatest playwright.

About Classic 107.3

Classic 107.3, “The Voice for the Arts in St. Louis”, broadcasts at 107.3 FM and on KNOU 96.3 HD2 with a mission to support the cultural landscape in the St. Louis region through programming and outreach efforts. Classic 107.3 plays a variety of music from classical to jazz, opera to blues, Broadway and more, and features local programming including the “Slatkin Shuffle”, hosted by conductor Leonard Slatkin, and Musical Ancestries™, designed to educate school-aged children about world music. In addition, the station airs interviews with artists, musicians, creators and performers, bringing their stories and events to the attention of the St. Louis community. Classic 107.3 is a non-profit station, receiving support from listeners as well as organizations like PNC, the William T. Kemper Foundation and others. More information, as well as live streaming, archived interviews, and podcasts can be found at www.classic1073.org.