St. Louis Filmmakers | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Filmmakers

People line the sides of West Florissant during a protest held to marke the one year anniversary of Michael Brown's death.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

After a Ferguson police officer fatally shot Michael Brown Jr., local artist Damon Davis hit the streets. What he saw there conflicted with TV news reports and social media posts he’d seen that emphasized clashes between protesters and police.

“It was absolutely nothing like what was being portrayed by the media,” Davis said.

Instead of clashes with police, he noticed people exercising their first amendment rights. So when budding filmmaker Sabaah Folayan contacted Davis about collaborating on a documentary about the protests, he felt compelled to work with her. That documentary, “Whose Streets?” will be released locally and across the nation tonight. 

Luke Terrell, Amelia Weil and Brian Chao joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss the documentary "Gabe," about Gabe Weil.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Louisan Gabe Weil was a child, he was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a severe form of the hereditary disease that decreases muscle mass and produces progressive weakness over time. Life expectancy for those with the disease is short, but Weil made it his goal to get a college degree.

In December 2013, Weil did just that, graduating from Washington University, at which point doctors also told him he was misdiagnosed and might live well into his 50s. He had to start rethinking how he would approach his life knowing he had many more years.

Former St. Louisan Lynn Cohen plays Grandma in the film "The Pickle Recipe."
Provided | Jewish Film Festival

The St. Louis Jewish Film Festival is celebrating 22 years of cinema that explores historical and modern-day Jewish themes.

One of the 16 movies in this year’s schedule features an actor who influenced a generation of St. Louis theater professionals — and is also known for her role in “Sex in the City.”

Kansas City native Lynn Cohen stars in a comedy about the quest for a grandmother’s secret pickling formula.  Festival organizer Zelda Sparks said some St. Louisans may recognize Cohen from the local Jewish Community Center, where she directed youth theater in the 1970s.

A still from student film "Grieve" depicts a solemn young black man's face against a brick wall.
Provided by Washington University

As Washington University student Sagar Brahmbhatt went through training in the school’s Uncle Joe’s Peer Counseling program, he was struck by the value of a fundamental emotion: grief.  Brahmbhatt learned that internalizing emotional pain without an outlet can be harmful and that grieving is healthy. 

“Once you do accept grief, although you do feel sad, you’re more at peace with it” he said.  “And eventually, once you go through the grieving process, you may get better.”

The "March March" during True/False Film Fest in 2016 includes the Papier-mâché-d heads of the festival's co-founders Paul Sturtz and David Wilson.
Courtesy Kelly Moffitt

In a “post-truth” era of “alternative facts,” the importance of media literacy, and questioning why different media is made the way that it is, has reemerged in American society.  

Such media literacy values are baked into True/False Film Fest, a four-day mid-Missouri festival devoted solely to documentary filmmaking. This year the festival will take place from March 2-5 and screen some 35 nonfiction films that urge audiences to define the line between real and fake.

Children hold anti-rascist signs while standing on the lawn at a Ferguson related protest.
Provided by Lucas Alvarado Farrar

A local filmmaker aims to bring international audiences an authentic take on the protests that occurred in Ferguson two years ago after then-officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown.

Director Damon Davis’ documentary “Whose Streets” takes an unflinching look at the Ferguson protests from the position of protesters and activists.  The film debuts today at the internationally recognized Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. 

War without the gore, self-help gurus who can’t seem to help themselves, take-downs of late-stage capitalism, and a buddy movie about a duck that might make you run for the nearest tissue.  From domestic films to foreign films, features and documentaries, the St. Louis International Film Festival has something for just about everyone's taste.

For the St. Louis International Film Fest,  which starts with an opening reception Thursday evening, St. Louis Public Radio is bringing you our take on 25 key films.

Jun Bae, a graduate of Washington University and rising documentary filmmaker, made a documentary about Washington University professor Bob Hansmen's bus tours of St. Louis.
Kelly Moffitt | St.Louis Public Radio

When Jun Bae, originally from Tokyo, Japan, first came to Washington University, he didn’t come to make documentaries. And then the protests in Ferguson following the police-shooting death of Michael Brown happened. Because of that, Bae, now a graduate of the university, entered into the world of photojournalism.

What he saw? “A divided city,” Bae told St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter. Bae said he sees this division in schools and resources that are divided unequally, but most blatantly in the look of the city itself.

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.

Wikimedia Commons

Happy Back to the Future Day!

It’s a little known fact about town that "Back to the Future" was the partial brainchild of St. Louis native Michael Robert “Bob” Gale.

In the movie, Marty McFly, played by Michael J. Fox, uses a DeLorean time machine to travel back in time where he meets his high-school parents. 

Courtesy of Dale Sweet

Beginning July 19, Cinema St. Louis will hold its annual St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase featuring works created by St. Louis artists and films with strong local ties.

The four-day event includes 88 films ranging from full-length fiction features to documentaries and multi-film compilations of fiction. Screenings for all films will take place at the Tivoli Theatre.