Radioactive waste, racial injustice, murder mysteries and selling drugs on the internet are all topics for the screen in this year’s Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival. According to festival Executive Director Cliff Froehlich, the two-week long run of screenings will be unlike previous efforts.
“It’s fairly overwhelming I have to admit. This is the largest festival we’ve ever mounted,” said Froehlich.
The event features more than 450 feature-length, documentary and short films. The work comes from more than 70 countries, and 30 come from St. Louis or the surrounding area. Some films were produced by area directors, some include local actors, and some are tackle area-specific issues. Including movies that are locally produced is just one festival tactic directed at broadening the its appeal. Organizers also tried to address affordability for potential viewers.
“We’ve been increasing our free programming throughout the past several years and this year we’re going to have 67 free programs, which makes the festival accessible to absolutely everybody,” Froehlich said.
The executive director insisted the festival still had offerings tailored to the true cinephile. Screenings begin Thursday night and run through Nov. 15.
Over the next four days St. Louis Public Radio reporters and writers will review films from the festival. These reviews will be organized by issues facing the St. Louis region: Crime, Education, Racial Justice, and Quality of Life. These categories will not feature films that literally address these issues in the region but offer a breadth of perspectives on these topics.