The 17th annual St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase kicks off this weekend with 87 films made by local artists. It runs July 16-20 at the Tivoli Theatre in University City.
On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Chris Clark, the artistic director of Cinema St. Louis, which produces the showcase, joined host Don Marsh to give a preview of what films and filmmakers will be highlighted.
You can find a full rundown of the showcase on Cinema St. Louis’ website here.
"There's always lots of moving parts. With 87 filmmakers, getting films from 87 humans is always a complicated task," Clark said. "It is a big, complicated, vibrant body, but we're ready to go. We started taking submissions at the end of January. I was still prying things out of people's fingers a few weeks ago."
This showcase is what Clark calls the "junior version" of St. Louis International Film Festival, which also seeks to highlight local filmmakers. For this showcase, each film has some tie to St. Louis, whether it be in production, direction, actors or subject matter.
"All films have a strong, relevant 314, 636, 618 connection," Clark said. "This was a record year for submissions. We had nearly 160 choices to whittle down to things that worked well together and were the very best possible films."
Here are a few titles to keep an eye out for at the showcase:
"It is a documentary we're doing about the Bridgeton Landfill situation. The director is not from St. Louis but the character is the Bridgeton landfill," Clark said. "It is a third film in as many years about the topic. It is an outsider's perspective, someone who came from outside of the area and recognized this terrible problem, interviewing scores of people living in the area, activists trying to make a change. 'Atomic Homefront' is an HBO film and will be on later in the summer."
"I Am The Dance of Life;" showing Sunday, July 16 at 12:30 p.m.
"If you don't know the name Susan Stone, you will know her as the infamous 'Dance of Life' dancer," Clark said. "There's a 30 minute documentary about her that I found quite revealing and quite poignant. She has a somewhat bad reputation in town, some people find her annoying. But the backstory of why she does what she does is heartbreaking. It is a revelatory story."
"Phantom Glory: The Bob Little Story;" showing Sunday, July 16 at 12:30 p.m.
"There's a documentary about a man who was a World War II fighter pilot that worked for McDonnell Douglass, helping them make fighter planes," Clark said. "He had flown the planes and was the most decorated, most hours of any similar pilot in existence."
"Tonight She Comes;" showing Sunday, July 16 at 9:30 p.m.
"There's a gooey, racy horror film in the mix: 'Tonight She Comes,'" Clark said. "There's always one horror film."
"Palacios;" showing Sunday, July 16 at 4:45 p.m.
"There's a beautiful, understated black and white narrative feature called 'Palacios,' by local filmmaker Bobby Herrera, who in his past has made many decorated films," Clark said. "It was something that was literally shot four years ago, in 2013, and life got in the way. It stayed on a shelf and he finally dusted it off and went through many hours of footage, putting together this stunningly, heartachingly beautiful story with just two people."
"Gabe;" showing Thursday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m.
"Gabe is a 70 minute documentary that charts the teen and young adult years of Gabe Weil, who was adopted by [Richard and Josephine] Weil from Central America," Clark said. "Within a year or two of adoption, they realized he wasn't like the other children and was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. It charts his younger years and then picks up when he's a teenager and doesn't want to just sit in his chair and wait for the end. ... He moved forward like he had no disability. It is a very empowering story of this young man's will."
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