St. Louis International Film Festival

Bill Ferguson maintained his son's innocence for years.
Dream/Killer Film

A weekend selection at the 25th St. Louis International Film Festival tells a different side of a story you may have heard about before. The documentary “Dream/Killer” tracks Bill Ferguson on the quest to free his son, Ryan Ferguson, from jail after he was convicted of second-degree murder and robbery and sentenced to a 40-year jail term in the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt.

Marlon West, who has worked on more than 13 Disney animated features, will return to St. Louis this week to recieve the Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award at the St. Louis International Film Festival.
St. Louis International Film Festival

Marlon West can’t remember a time he wasn’t interested in film, and animation, in particular. After graduating University City High School, he attended Columbia College in Chicago, where he studied film and writing, then moved on to animate Encyclopedia Brittanica films, a Beastie Boys music video and even Michael Jackson’s "California Raisins" commercial.

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.

"St. Louis Brews" is a work-in-progress documentary from local filmmaker Bill Streeter. Extended clips of the film will be shown at St. Louis International Film Festival's opening night on Nov. 3.
Bill Streeter | Hydraulic Pictures

Local filmmaker Bill Streeter is known around town for his work producing corporate videos through his company Hydraulic Pictures, creating Lo-Fi St. Louis, and for his 2011 documentary “A Brick By Chance and Fortune.”

St. Louis International Film Festival

Journalism movies are making a big splash this Oscars season. From “Truth,” the Robert Redford film about the Dan Rather controversy, to “Spotlight,” which follows the Boston Globe investigation of child abuse by Catholic clergy, journalists are once again the center of their own stories.

Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Two filmmakers who were born and raised in University City have returned for the St. Louis International Film Festival to screen their short film “Easy,” which tackles the issue of prescription drug abuse.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday night, Alex Winter stepped back into the movie theater he frequented growing up in St. Louis...this time as an award-winning actor and director. He received the 2015 Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis award during the St. Louis International Film Festival in the main auditorium of the Tivoli Theatre in the Delmar Loop. His award-winning documentary, “Deep Web,” as well as his earlier documentary, “Downloaded,” are playing at the festival.

Images from St. Louis International Film Festival

This year St. Louis Public Radio is reviewing films from The St. Louis International Film Festival that relate to prominent issues facing our city.

In this installment, St. Louis Public Radio looks at films that offer a multitude of perspectives on race as it affects culture on a local, national and international scale: "Four Way Stop," "Goodbye Theresienstadt," "Finding Bosnia," "My Friend Victoria," "Korla!" and "Aram, Aram."

Images from St. Louis International Film Festival

This year St. Louis Public Radio is reviewing films from The St. Louis International Film Festival related to prominent issues facing our city.

Yesterday we reviewed films that dealt with crime and crime prevention. Today we’ll provide reviews of select movies that tackle different perspectives on quality of life issues.

It's a broad topic, so it's a big list: "T-Rex," "The Invitation," Good Ol' Boy," "Keeping Rosy," "Unlikely Heroes," "Frame by Frame," "Radical Grace," "Echo Lake," "24/7/365," "Bounce" and "I Can Quit Whenever I Want."

St. Louis International Film Festival

Nick Berardini was just a journalism student at the University of Missouri when he was sent out on an assignment that would impact his life and his career as a filmmaker. He was sent to Moberly, Missouri to report on a man who died while in police custody after being pulled over for drunk driving.

St. Louis International Film Festival

After Michael Vick was convicted for involvement in a long-running illegal dog-fighting ring, more than 50 pit bulls were left behind. What happened to them? A St. Louis International Film Festival documentary, “The Champions,” answers just that question. It also delves into the discrimination pit bulls face as a breed across the United States…sometimes for unfounded reasons.

St. Louis International Film Festival

For years, Dr. Susan Mackinnon, a professor and plastic surgeon with Washington University, has been working to restore movement in paralyzed limbs through a specialized peripheral-nerve-transfer surgery. Now, her work is coming to light through a documentary screening at the St. Louis International Film Festival next week: “A Spark of Nerve.”

Here at St. Louis Public Radio we know our listeners rely on us for to provide context, quality storytelling, and deep dives into the characters behind today’s news. We’re applying this approach to bring you reviews from this year’s St. Louis International Film Festival organized by the issues facing St. Louis and the surrounding area.

Each day reviews will be organized by issue as explored in select films from the festival. These categories are not literal representations of how these topics manifest in St. Louis but maintain a broader look into the various perspectives we use to address these concerns.

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.

Still from feature film "First Secret City"
St. Louis International Film Festival

Cinema St. Louis’ St. Louis International Film Festival starts next week on November 5, bringing with it a group of films that are sure to inspire some conversation around town. “The First Secret City” is one of them.

In 2010, Marshall the Miracle Dog was rescued from deplorable conditions in southwest Missouri.
(Courtesy: Jay L. Kanzler)

After its world premiere at the St. Louis International Film Festival, "Marshall the Miracle Dog" is ready for another St. Louis showing.

Via Cinema St. Louis

Flipping through the nation’s family album, what’s missing? That question led director Thomas Allen Harris to create “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People,” a film that examines how photography shaped the identity and perceptions of blacks in America.

“In some ways, it is a history lesson, although it’s kind of a different take on history because we have a lot of contemporary artists in the film,” Harris told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday. “In many ways, as they do this, they reshape the way in which we view history.”

Meet Me in St. Louis
(Used with Permission / Missouri History Museum)

On Nov. 22, 1944, a throng of St. Louis theatergoers packed Loew’s State Theater on Washington Avenue for the world premiere of “Meet Me in St. Louis.” 

Although filmed elsewhere, the musical told the story of the Smith family as it struggled with the prospect of leaving St. Louis for New York in advance of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

Seventy years later, the film endures. Critic Roger Ebert once praised it as “one of the most artful, moving, and exquisitely designed musicals in film history.”

In 1833, two men from Giessen, Germany, decided to immigrate to the United States where they hoped to create their own utopia with the freedoms and democracy they desired but did not have under an aristocracy. They recruited hundreds of others and formed the Giessen Emigration Society.

“It was the year 1834 when 500 Germans came over here to Missouri with the big idea of creating a German state as a new state within the United States of America,” Peter Roloff told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

In 17 days, Mark and Eric Norwine walked 200 miles across Missouri. They hope that the documentary about that trek will help change how people talk about mental health.

website

Updated 5:30 p.m. Nov. 14 with new review.

The St. Louis International Film Festival is underway with enough options to ensure that almost everyone can find something of interest.

Some of us in the newsroom of St. Louis Public Radio checked out the list of offerings and asked to review films that caught our interest. As you check out our mini reviews, you should know that several of the movies we requested were not available and that some of us asked for more than time permitted. These are just a taste of what is available.

Wikimedia

The St. Louis International Film Festival, which opens tonight, will pay tribute to the man considered to be the first movie star. Today, he's largely forgotten.

'The Makings of You,' directed by Matt Amato, will open the St. Louis International Film Festival on Nov. 13.
Courtesy of Matt Amato

The 23rd annual St. Louis International Film Festival opens next week with a very St. Louis love story.

“The Makings of You,” starring Sheryl Lee of “Twin Peaks” as Judy and Jay R. Ferguson of “Mad Men” as Wallis, tells the story of a romance between two lonely St. Louisans. Director Matt Amato, a St. Louis native, returned to St. Louis when he began working on the film in June 2013.

“It’s a genuine St. Louis product from top to bottom,” Amato told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday.

Kyle Jacoby / St. Louis Public Radio

    

The St. Louis International Children's Film Festival not only showcases kid-friendly films, but teaches them how to create their own movies and shorts.

In its second year, the festival will feature 19 films over two weekends at six venues, with workshops throughout the week.

Wikipedia

From April 1-6, the 2014 Greater St. Louis Humanities Festival will explore “Migration and Mobility.” A series of programs will examine connections among migration, immigration and culture, locally and globally. Most events are free. For more information, visit the festival website.

For video artist Zlatko Ćosić, the concept of personal and cultural identity is a continuing evolving one. And he likes it that way.

(Courtesy Cinema St. Louis)

Two of the film directors currently screening films at the St. Louis International Film Festival have closer ties than most to St. Louis. Peter Bolte and Brian Jun both grew up in the St. Louis region. Both are graduates of Webster University, and both shot their films on location in St. Louis and Southern Illinois.

(Courtesy Cinema St. Louis)

The systematic plagiarism and fabrication of then-New York Times reporter Jayson Blair a decade ago represents one of the most flagrant and grievous breaks in journalistic trust in modern times. It was a black mark against one of the World's flagship newspapers when his deception was revealed, prompting a detailed retraction from the Times and internal restructuring within the organization.

Tim Fuller

Actress Susan Claassen has had the same look for years. But it wasn't until she saw a show on Edith Head one night on the Biography channel that Claassen realized her appearance was very similar to costume designer Edith Head, whose Hollywood career spanned from 1923 to her death in 1981.

"She [Edith Head] really was an executive woman before there was such a thing," said Claassen. "It was a boy's club when she came in in 1923. And the films are as timeless as her designs."

(Courtesy Cinema St. Louis)

Two new documentary films showing at the St. Louis International Film Festival are taking on the perception and work of public defenders in the criminal justice system.

“I think the biggest public misconception about public defenders is that we don’t care and we are poor attorneys, poor meaning we don’t do a very good job and we don’t know how to try cases,” said Brandy Alexander, assistant public defender for the 20th Judicial Circuit in Florida.

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