Cinema St. Louis (CSL) is thrilled to announce plans to acquire the Hi-Pointe Theatre as their new base of operations and programming beginning in January 2023.

Opening in 1922, the Hi-Pointe Theatre has been a cherished landmark for multiple generations of film lovers, and CSL plans to continue that tradition for years to come.

The Hi-Pointe Theatre is the oldest locally owned and continuously-operating arthouse theater in St. Louis. In 1977 the James family acquired the theater, and under their stewardship, the theater has become an iconic St. Louis landmark.

The James family shared: “After 45 years of owning the beloved Hi-Pointe Theatre, we have decided that it is time to end our run. We have been blessed to share this theater with 3 generations of our family and have had the privilege of helping it reach the magical age of 100 years. We know that Cinema St Louis is the perfect sequel to our story. They share the same passion and vision, and we are confident that they will be able to carry on our family’s legacy for the next 100 years. We thank you for your continued patronage, dedication, and support through the years. We will miss you all.”

Hi-Pointe Theatre

Cinema St. Louis’ vision is to create cinematic experiences that enrich, educate, entertain, and build community. The organization has presented programming for more than 30 years when they’ve been able to secure venues.

This acquisition would allow the organization to offer diverse, year-round programming and affordable experiences in the most continual and sustainable manner possible.

CSL’s Executive Director, Bree Maniscalco, stated that “Cinema St. Louis is grateful for this opportunity to not only preserve the last remaining arthouse cinema in St. Louis but also to finally create a permanent home for the organization and make film accessible for the entire St. Louis community. CSL will host its annual film festivals, educational programming, and filmmaker seminars at the Hi-Pointe Theatre. The organization will also offer repertory film series throughout the year as well as screenings of first-run films.”

This acquisition will:

  • Use film festivals and special events to establish the Hi-Pointe as a unique regional destination to draw visitors to St. Louis.
  • Increase access to film and filmmaking for underrepresented audiences.
  • Showcase local talent and bring global, well-recognized films to St. Louis.
  • Expand free educational and enrichment opportunities to K-12 students through filmmaking camps and screenings throughout the year.

For additional information on CSL visit: https://www.cinemastlouis.org.

Cinema St. Louis

For more than 30 years, Cinema St. Louis (CSL) has served as the region’s go-to arts nonprofit for educating and inspiring audiences of all ages through film. Annually, the organization hosts the St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) —  included among USA Today’s 10 Best “Film Festivals Worth Traveling To” — as well as the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, QFest St. Louis, Classic French Film Festival, and Golden Anniversaries. In addition, Cinema St. Louis seeks to engage younger audiences, exposing them to the possibilities of becoming filmmakers, through free hands-on filmmaking camps and screenings through Cinema for Students.

Inside the upstairs Backlot

By Lynn Venhaus

After decades in the entertainment business, Alex Winter has become a multi-hyphenated mainstay, renowned for his work in front of and behind the camera.

Now 57, he remains the face of Bill S. Preston, Esq., in pop culture, but has directed notably high-profile documentaries “Zappa,” “Showbiz Kids” and his tech trilogy, “Downloaded,” “Deep Web” and his latest, “The YouTube Effect.”

“The YouTube Effect” will be one of the opening night films of the 31st annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival. It will be shown at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3, at the Galleria 6 Cinemas.

This cautionary tale is meant to be a nuanced look at the tech revolution, how it has evolved, good and bad.

Produced with Gale Anne Hurd, the film examines the impact of YouTube on society, how it has made our lives easier and more enriched, while also presenting dangers that make the world a more perilous place.

“The growth of the online community since I made ‘Downloaded’ and ‘Deep Web’ has made a big impact on society, and Gale and I were looking to tell a story about the changes occurring, and where do we go from here,” he said during a phone interview.

The film had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in June and is currently on the festival circuit, most recently at the Montclair Film Festival.

“It’s been going great,” he said. “We’re bringing it to a lot of festivals, and really happy with the reception.”

Winter is pleased that it’s included in this year’s fest in St. Louis, where his previous films “Downloaded,” “Deep Web” and “Zappa” were also screened.

“I love the festival. It’s my third time in it. I’m always really happy to be part of it and I’m grateful for the film to be shown there so that people in St. Louis can see it,” he said. “I’m not able to be there, things didn’t work out with my schedule, but I’m long overdue for a visit back. I have family and friends there.”

Winter lived in St. Louis as a child, and his first acting gig, a commercial for Kentucky Fried Chicken, was filmed under the Arch, while his first stage role was at the Muny, when he was 10, as one of the orphans in “Oliver!” that starred Vincent Price as Fagin.

His father co-founded Mid-America Dance Company (MADCO) and his mother worked in the dance department at Washington University.

In a previous interview, he spoke about his bond with St. Louis.

“I have a special place in my heart for the city. I’ve always considered myself a Midwesterner. The Midwest has a strong cultural identity, and I have an affinity for it, those core values. I still have a lot of friends there. I spent my formative years there, from 5 to 12, and my dad and brother stayed there, so I was back a lot. It’s always been a second home to me. I feel anchored there,” he said during a phone interview in 2015.

The YouTube Effect

Looking at YouTube

Self-described as a research fanatic dove into this expansive subject.

While he thinks YouTube has been “very equitable in its business model,” for people being able to monetize it as a platform, there needs to be safeguards.

“So that people can have the full spectrum of experiences. There needs to be accountability. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s good for people to be aware about it,” he said.

Winter thinks the public needs to take more responsibility about the input and influence, and push for more regulations, not be passive about it.

Winter said he is concerned about “the misinformation apocalypse” and the negative fallout from political ideologies, especially conspiracy theories.

“There is a lot of power in that,” he said, noting how social media gave voice to marginalized people.

YouTube has been singled out as how the Christ Church mass shooter in New Zealand in 2020 (51 people in two mosques) became radicalized.

The movie seeks to find a balance, he said.

“There are a lot of good things going on on You Tube. I’m not wagging a finger at them,” he said. “I respect technology. It’s here to stay. We need to figure out safeguards, changes need to be made.”

Here’s the trailer: https://www.facebook.com/YouTubeEffect/videos/1137513703766536/

Winter said he is in negotiations for the film to become available on streaming services.

“I can’t talk about it, but we’re hoping to have it wide in early January-February,” he said.

For more information, visit: https://www.cinemastlouis.org/sliff/festival-home

Alex Winter (left) and Keanu Reeves in a promotional photo for Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

Fest Favorite

Winter appeared at the festival in 2015, when he received the prestigious Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award after his documentary, “Deep Web,” kicked off that year’s St. Louis International Film Festival.

“Deep Web” is the inside story of a digital crime saga that caught his attention. With access to the Ulbricht family, he told the story of  Ross William Ulbricht, the 30-year-old entrepreneur who was accused of being “Dread Pirate Roberts” as the creator and operator of the online black market Silk Road. He looked at the thought leaders behind the so-called Deep Web and its future.

A finalist for a distinguished Cinema Eye Honors Award, “Deep Web” was produced and narrated by Keanu Reeves, Winter’s good friend since they portrayed Bill and Ted.

He was also in attendance to present the 1989 cult classic that catapulted him into pop culture history, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” recounting anecdotes about the making of the movie prior to its late-night showing at the Tivoli.

The fest also showed acclaimed 2013 documentary, “Downloaded,” about the rise and fall of Napster and a look at the digital revolution.

“I was fascinated by the online communities that started in the late 1980s. It was clear that this was a major shift in communication. Bitcoin, Silk Road and other anonymous digital sites were the first on a large scale,” he said in 2015.

In 2020, when the fest went virtual, his documentary, “Zappa,” was in the line-up.

His look at the complex and visionary iconoclast Frank Zappa took six years to make, and he received cooperation from the family.

“Getting the family’s support was vital to the project,” he said. “There has never been a definitive biography about him. I am extremely happy to do it. He was a great artist at a turbulent time in history.”

It is available to watch on Hulu and can be rented or purchased on several platforms.

The year “Zappa” came out, during the global coronavirus pandemic, was also the year his very personal documentary, “Showbiz Kids,” premiered on HBO, and the third installment of “Bill and Ted,” “Face the Music” was one of the most anticipated films in 2020.

“That was a very strange year,” he said. “Things I had been working on all popped out at once.”

“Face the Music” shot to no. 1 in U.S.

“It came out at the right time, and a lot of people got to see it. I’m glad it gave fans some fun then,” he said.

Winter said he and Keanu had a great time making the film and won’t shut the door on another one.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “We’re always playing around with ideas on where the story could go, what are the possibilities. I always say never say never.”

Other Career Highlights

His movie career took off with “The Lost Boys” in 1987, then came the juggernaut of Bill & Ted, and they reunited for a sequel in 1991.

His 1993 science fiction-horror-comedy “Freaked,” which he co-wrote and co-directed with his college pal-collaborator Tom Stern, is revered as another cult classic.

Another feature he wrote and directed, “Fever,” a 1998 dark tale starring Henry Thomas and Teri Hatcher, was selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival.

His work on Cartoon Network, where he voiced the Adult Swim character the King Mole Man and on “Robot Chicken,” and MTV’s “The Idiot Box,” a sketch comedy series he developed with Stern, was also highly regarded.

He is a graduate of New York University’s film school. Today, his production company is behind commercials for Ford, Peugeot, Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Nickelodeon and 1800 Tequila.

He’s directed music videos for Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ice Cube, Extreme and Helmet.

He was on Broadway in productions of “The King & I” with Yul Brynner, and “Peter Pan” with Sandy Duncan.

With Stern, Winter starred in, co-directed and co-wrote the hit MTV comedy series, “The Idiot Box” and starred in their theatrical co-directing debut, “Freaked,” released by Twentieth Century Fox.

Another documentary was “The Panama Papers,” about the corruption scandal and the journalists who broke the story.

Next up is a cameo role as a cab driver in “Blue’s Big City Adventure,” to be streamed on Paramount Plus on Nov. 18. He’ll be seen in “Absolute Dominion” on Netflix next year, and a film “Destroy All Neighbors” on Shudder.

For the 2015 BND feature: https://www.bnd.com/living/magazine/article42065412.html

Cover Photo by Eric Charbonneau/Invision for AwesomenessTV/AP Images

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 30: Director Alex Winter speaks onstage at the TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 at The Manhattan Center on April 30, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

Josh Guffey’s crime drama “All Gone Wrong” won seven awards, including Best of Fest, at the closing-nights awards ceremony in the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill on Sunday, July 24. The Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, an annual presentation of the nonprofit Cinema St. Louis (CSL), serves as the area’s primary venue for films made by local artists.

The Showcase screened works that were shot in the St. Louis region or were written, directed, or produced by St. Louis-area residents or by filmmakers with strong local ties who are now working elsewhere. The Showcase’s 14 film programs ranged from narrative and documentary features to multi-film compilations of fiction, experimental, and documentary shorts.

The closing-night awards presentation took place in the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill on Sunday, July 24. Announced were nearly two dozen Showcase jury awards — including a $500 prize to the overall Best Showcase Film.

Cinema St. Louis staff also announced the films that will move on to the 31st Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival in November. SLIFF is set for Nov. 3-13, returning to theatres. Schedule to be announced in October. (Note: “All Gone Wrong” debuted at the 2021 SLIFF).

Below are the winners.

Jake Kaufman

Narrative jury awards:

Best Costumes – “All Gone Wrong”

Best Makeup/Hairstyling –  Shaina Paulson & Jose Carlos Guillen, “Viral”

Best Use of Music – Lupe Medina, “Paragon”

Best Sound – Sean Kilker, “Hungry Dog Blues”

Best Production Design/Art Direction – Cameron McCarthy, “All Gone Wrong”

Best Special/Visual Effects – Shane Dioneda, “Space Race”

Best Editing – Bret Hoy, “All Gone Wrong”

Best Cinematography – Levi Kirby, “All Gone Wrong”

Best Screenplay – Jason Millner, “Hungry Dog Blues”

Amy Hargreaves “Hungry Dog Blues”

Best Actor – Jake Kaufman, “All Gone Wrong”

Best Actress – Amy Hargreaves, “Hungry Dog Blues”

 Best Ensemble Cast – “Un-resolved

Best Direction – Jason Millner, “Hungry Dog Blues”

Best Animated Film – Michael Long, “Island Hopping”

Best Comedy – Rick Petty, “Bird Bullies”

Best Drama – Jason Millner, “Hungry Dog Blues”

Best Narrative Film under 20 minutes – Adrian Todd Zuniga, “Hold Me, Don’t Touch Me”

Best Narrative Feature over 20 minutes – Josh Guffey, “All Gone Wrong”

‘A New Home” documentary

Documentary & Experimental jury awards:

Best Animated Documentary or Experimental Film – Van McElwee, “World Skin”

Best Use of Music – Dana Christian & Lyah LeFlore-Ituen, “Poetry in Motion: St. Louis Poets Take the Mic”

Best Sound – Alvin Zamudio & Steve Cakouros, “A New Home”

Best Editing – Seth Ferranti, “Night Life”

Best Cinematography – Gabe Sheets, “Who is Syd?”

Best Direction – Gabe Sheets, “Who is Syd?”

Best Documentary under 20 minutes – Gabe Sheets, “Who is Syd?”

Best Documentary Feature over 20 minutes – Joe Puleo, “A New Home”

Best Experimental Film – Pier Marton, “(a human) being”

UN-RESOLVED

Films invited to SLIFF:

Bird Bullies directed by Rick Petty

Ethan and Edna directed by Andy Compton

(a human) being directed by Pier Marton

Hold Me, Don’t Touch Me directed by Adrian Todd Zuniga

Hungry Dog Blues directed by Jason Millner

Interstellar Gunslinger directed by Nate Carroll

Island Hopping directed by Michael Long

A love letter to Brian, Lesley, and Michelle directed by Hettie Barnhill

The Lungs directed by Zlatko Cosic

A New Home directed by Joe Puleo

Night Life directed by Seth Ferranti

Poetry in Motion: St. Louis Poets Take the Mic directed by Dana Christian

Space Race directed by Shane Dioneda

Un-Resolved directed by Bruce Carlton Cunningham

Viral directed by Michael Rich

Who is Syd? directed by Gabe Sheets

World Skin directed by Van McElwee

Chellapa-Vedavalli Foundation Best of Fest Essy Award $500 cash prize: 

Josh Guffey, All Gone Wrong
To see the trailer, visit: https://youtu.be/_aOd9DrPoSs

To see the trailer of the documentary feature winner, “A New Home,” visit: https://youtu.be/dnmVnGjdn9M

The 14th Annual Robert Classic French Film Festival — sponsored by Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation — celebrates St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s cinematic legacy. This year’s featured films span the decades from the 1920s through the 1990s, offering a revealing overview of French cinema.

The fest annually includes significant restorations, and this year features seven such works, including a brand-new restoration of Luis Bunuel’s “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” which is part of our year-long Golden Anniversaries programming, which features films celebrating their 50th anniversaries.

In honor of St. Louis’ own Josephine Baker and her installation in France’s Panthéon on Nov. 30 of last year, the fest will present her silent film debut, “Siren of the Tropics,” with an original score and live accompaniment by the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra.

Every program features introductions and discussions by film or French scholars and critics. All films are in French with English subtitles.

The Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation is the event’s title sponsor.

Venue: Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium in Webster Hall, 470 E. Lockwood Ave.

Tickets: Tickets are $15 for general admission; $12 for students and Cinema St. Louis members. Webster U. students are admitted free. Advance tickets can be purchased through the Cinema St. Louis website.

Passes: Two types of passes are available: Five-Film Passes are $65, $50 for CSL members; All-Access Passes are $120, and $95 for CSL members.

More Info: 314-289-4150, cinemastlouis.org

Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg in “Breathless”

FILM SCHEDULE

For film synopses,  see the CSL website

7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 5

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie/Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie

Luis Buñuel, France, 1972, 102 min., color, French, Latin & Spanish, restoration, DCP

Intro and discussion by Cliff Froehlich, former executive director of Cinema St. Louis and adjunct professor of film studies at Webster University.

Josephine Baker in “Siren of the Tropics”

7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 6

Siren of the Tropics/La sirène des tropiques

Henri Étiévant & Mario Nalpas (uncredited), France, 1927, 86 min., black-and-white, silent, DVD

With live accompaniment by the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra

Intro and discussion by Pier Marton, video artist and self-described “Unlearning Specialist at the School of No Media.”

7:30 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 7

Beau travail

Claire Denis, Djibouti/France, 1992, 99 min., color, French, Italian & Russian, restoration, DCP

Intro and discussion by Diane Carson, professor emerita of film at St. Louis Community College at Meramec and film critic for KDHX (88.1 FM).

7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 12

Fantastic Planet/La planète sauvage

René Laloux, Czechoslovakia/France, 1973, 72 min., color, French, restoration, DCP

Intro and discussion by Andrew Wyatt, editor of and film critic for Cinema St. Louis’ The Lens blog.

7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 13

Breathless/À bout de souffle

Jean-Luc Godard, France, 1960, 90 min., black-and-white, English & French, restoration, DCP

Intro and discussion by Kathy Corley, documentary filmmaker and professor emerita of film at Webster University.

7:30 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 14

Amélie/Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain

Jean-Pierre Jeunet, France, 2001, 122 min., color, French, DCP

Intro and discussion by Jean-Louis Pautrot, professor of French and International Studies in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Saint Louis University.

The Battle of Algiers

7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 19

The Battle of Algiers/La battaglia di Algeri

Gillo Pontecorvo, Algeria/Italy, 1966, 121 min., black-and-white, Arabic & French, Blu-ray

Intro and discussion by Salim Ayoub, Bruce P. Robert Endowed Professor in French and Francophone Studies and director of the Centre Francophone at Webster University.

7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 20

Le cercle rouge

Jean-Pierre Melville, France, 1970, 140 min., color, French, restoration, DCP

Intro and discussion by Robert Garrick, attorney, former contributor to the davekehr.com film blog, and contributor to Cinema St. Louis’ The Lens blog.

7:30 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 21

Irma Vep

Olivier Assayas, France, 1996, 99 min., color, English & French, restoration, DCP

Intro and discussion by Joshua Ray, film critic for Cinema St. Louis’ The Lens blog and host of The Lens podcast.

“The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie”

By Lynn Venhaus
In his first feature film “Un-resolved,” Bruce Carlton Cunningham Jr. has created a gritty, sprawling tale of revenge not unlike a Shakespearean drama but set on the streets of St. Louis. He not only produced, but directed, wrote and stars as Tremaine in the ambitious project.

The story is about an ex-convict, just released from prison, who attempts to make up for the lost time with his youngest daughter, who is dying, and to reconnect with his oldest daughter, who has befriended a deadly enemy from his past.

The 2 hour and 47 minute film will screen at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 24, at the Brown Hall Auditorium of the Washington University campus, as part of the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase sponsored by Cinema St. Louis. Cunningham will be present, along with members of his cast and crew.

Bruce has been a prolific producer in St. Louis for the past 21 years. As an actor, writer and director, he has appeared in several short films, including “Ricky’s Hurt” (2016), “Retribution” (2015), “Static: A Fan Film” (2018), “Icon: A Fan Film” (2020), “Hardware: A Fan Film” (2021), a feature film, “A New Husband For Christmas” (2020) and a web series, “Gonzo” (2016).

Un-resolved

He graciously answered our Take Ten Questions:

Bruce Cunningham
  1. What is special about your latest project?
    This is my first feature film and I put a lot of work into it to make sure it was a compelling story. It was a long journey making this, but I am glad I completed it and didn’t give up.
  2. Why did you choose your profession/pursue the arts?
    I started acting when I was nine years old. I would watch a lot of T.V. & movies rather than going outside to play or staying up late. I wanted to be a part of the onscreen action: car chases, jumping from buildings, flying through the air, living in different
    worlds and being different characters. That sparked my desire to act and make movies.
  3. How would your friends describe you?
    Humorous. Silly. Down to earth. No filters and no brakes. Focused. Loves to have a good time.
  4. How do you like to spend your spare time?
    I like to read, watch movies, travel, workout, shoot guns, learn new things and spend time with friends and family.
  5. What is your current obsession?
    Hmmmm, that may be private.
  6. What would people be surprised to find out about you?
    I look younger than I am.
  7. Can you share one of your most defining moments in life?
    Becoming a father was very defining because I have someone I have to pour into and be an example for. My daughter keeps me on my toes.
  8. Who do you admire most?
    I admire my mother the most. I love her wisdom and her approach to life and situations.
  9. What is at the top of your bucket list?
    I haven’t really thought about it. I’m still thinking about this one. Maybe act alongside Denzel Washington.
  10. How were you affected by the current pandemic years, and anything you would like to share about what got you through the pre-vaccine part, with shutdowns, and any lesson learned during the isolation periods?

    I definitely did not like to see and hear of all of those people dying of COVID. It was a major change, I spent a lot of time by myself and I changed my perspective on a lot of things. On the bright side, I had more time to edit my film during the shut down and that
    kept me busy.
  11. What is your favorite thing to do in St. Louis?
    Take walks in the park.
  12. What’s next?
    I just finished acting in other projects. Now, I am relaxing and trying to get “Un-resolved” out to the world. Pretty soon, I am going to start writing for the next film.

    1. More About Bruce Carlton Cunningham Jr.

      Birthplace: STL
      Current location: STL
      Family: Single Father of one
      Education: B.S. Video/Film Production & Minor in Theatre. M.S. Managing Information
      Technology
      Day job: Information Technology
      First job: Hardee’s
      First movie you were involved in or made: Retribution
      Favorite jobs/roles/plays or work in your medium? So far, it is between the roles of Tremaine
      (UN-RESOLVED) and George (UNDERNEATH)
      Dream job/opportunity: I would like to do a full action film.
      Awards/Honors/Achievements: None at the moment, but keep watching. When it comes to achievements, finishing my first film would be my latest achievement.
      Favorite quote/words to live by: “If there is a door, then you have to kick it down. If there is no door, then create one and kick it down.”
      A song that makes you happy: “Ali Bombaye”

Unresolved

22nd Annual Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase

Dates: Screenings held July 15-17 and 22-24, 2022

Tickets: Individual tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for Cinema St. Louis members and students with valid and current photo IDs

Locations: All film screenings take place at Washington University’s Brown Hall, Forsyth & Skinker boulevards; the legal-issues master class is held at the offices of Capes Sokol law firm, 8182 Maryland Ave., 15th Floor; the closing-night party is held at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room, 6404 Delmar Blvd.

Passes: 5-film passes are available for $60, $50 for CSL members; all-access passes are available for $135, $105 for CSL members

Ticket and Pass Purchase: cinemastlouis.org/st-louis-filmmakers-showcase

“Night Life”

Whitaker SLFS Annual Presentation

The Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, an annual presentation of the nonprofit Cinema St. Louis (CSL), serves as the area’s primary venue for films made by local artists. The Showcase screens works that were shot in the St. Louis region or were written, directed, or produced by St. Louis-area residents or by filmmakers with strong local ties who are now working elsewhere.

The Showcase’s 14 film programs range from narrative and documentary features to multi-film compilations of fiction, experimental, and documentary shorts. Feature programs include Q&As with filmmakers. In addition to the film programs, this year’s event includes four free master classes focused on key aspects of filmmaking.

All film programs screen exclusively at Washington University’s Brown Hall. Three of the master classes are presented as livestreams at specific times/dates during the Showcase, with the legal-issues master class offered both in person at the offices of Capes Sokol and as a livestream.

The July 24 closing-night awards presentation will take place in the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill from 7-11 PM, with awards announcements at 9 PM. Announced during the event will be nearly two dozen Showcase jury awards — including a $500 prize to the overall Best Showcase Film. Cinema St. Louis staff will also announce the films that will move on to the 31st Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival in November.

Catherine Neville

The 63 films and four master classes in this year’s Showcase include the following:

  • All Gone Wrong: Josh Guffey’s electrifying crime drama, which stars Tony Todd (“Candyman”), premiered at the 2021 St. Louis International Film Festival.
  • Animated and Experimental Shorts: Nearly a dozen animated and experimental works are presented in a colorful shorts program.
  • Doc Shorts: An illuminating and thoughtful documentary-short program features a wide range of stories and subjects.
  • Master Classes: A series of four free master classes — featuring filmmakers and industry professionals — focus on key aspects of filmmaking: Missouri Stories Lab, Editing, Development and Legal Issues.
  • Narrative Shorts: Five eclectic narrative-short programs include comedies, dramas, supernatural films, and thrillers.
  • A New Home: Showcase alum Joe Puleo (“America’s Last Little Italy”) returns with this examination of the ’90s Bosnian war, genocide, and subsequent mass diaspora settling in St. Louis.
  • Night Life: Seth Ferranti spent several years filming and editing this riveting documentary about the outreach of the Rev. Ken McKoy, whose Night Life ministry patrols the city’s North Side on a mission to address issues of mental health, gun violence, and drug abuse.
  • Poetry in Motion: St. Louis Poets Take the Mic: Dana Christian directed this insightful documentary on the local poetry scene.
  • Un-resolved: Multi-hyphenate Bruce J. Cunningham directed, wrote, edited, produced, and co-starred in this epic tale of revenge and violence.
  • Winemaking in Missouri: Catherine Neville (“tasteMakers” on Nine Network) co-directed this juicy and informative overview of the history of wine production in the Show-Me State.
“Un-resolved”

The Whitaker Foundation again serves as the Showcase’s title sponsor. The foundation’s twofold mission is to encourage the preservation and use of parks and to enrich lives through the arts. The Chellappa-Vedavalli Foundation is underwriting both the Showcase’s master classes and the $500 prize for the Best Showcase Film.

The event’s other sponsors include Capes Sokol, EditMentor and EditStock, Missouri Arts Council, Missouri Film Office, NOW Talent Management, Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis Public Radio, TalentPlus, and Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.

Instagram@stlfilmshowcase Twitter: @stlfilmshowcase Facebook@STLFilmmakersShowcase

For more information, the public should visit cinemastlouis.org.

“Hungry Dog Blues”

Cover Photo of documentary “A New Home”

St. Louis Shakespeare Festival has partnered with Cinema St. Louis to bring a three-night film festival May 19, 20 and 21 to Shakespeare Glen. Completely free to attend, no reservations are required. 

Bring your own chairs and blankets and set up on the grass in the beautiful Shakespeare Glen just a few short weeks before we open Much Ado About Nothing. The screen will be set up on the stage platform. Movies begin at 8:15 PM. and Shakespeare Glen opens at 6:30 p.m.

STL Barkeep will be onsite with beer, wine and cocktails for purchase. Food vendors include The Popcorn Bar, Super Smokers BBQ and others.  Pack a picnic, outside food and drink are welcome.

Heather Ledger, Julia Styles in “10 Things I Hate About You”

Here’s the line-up:

Thursday, May 19 – 10 Things I Hate About You
Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles star in this 90’s favorite and Taming of the Shrew adaptation. Enough said.

Friday, May 20 – The Lion King
Hakuna Matata! It’s Disney’s 1994 animated version of Hamlet.

Saturday, May 21 – Theatre of Blood
A 1973 camp horror-comedy from Britain starring St. Louis-born Vincent Price as a slighted Shakespearean actor who seeks poetic and murderous revenge on his critics – killing them in the same ways made infamous by Shakespeare. Content warning: R Rated for mature content and violence.

Follow the Festival’s social media accounts @stlshakesfest or call the box office at 314-287-3348 in the event of inclement weather. No rain dates are scheduled.

The Lion King


Get ready to get your Q on! 

The 15th Annual QFest St. Louis — presented by Cinema St. Louis (CSL) — will take place from April 29-May 5 at the Galleria 6 Cinemas, with a selection of programs also available online. The online programs can be streamed at any time during the festival’s dates. 

The St. Louis-based LGBTQ film festival, QFest will present an eclectic array of 35 films from 13 countries (20 shorts, nine narrative features, and six documentary features). The participating filmmakers represent a wide variety of voices in contemporary queer world cinema. The mission of the film festival is to use the art of contemporary gay cinema to spotlight the lives of LGBTQ people and to celebrate queer culture.

The fest is especially pleased to host the St. Louis premiere of “The Depths,” a rarely seen 2001 work by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, and a reprise from SLIFF of Sebastian Meiser’s prison drama “Great Freedom.” Another highlight is this year’s Q Classic, Todd Hayne’s 1991 “Poison,” which was a part of the dawn of the New Queer Cinema movement of the early ’90s.

A special event, a two-film mini-festival and a panel discussion focused on Harvey Milk, takes place before QFest on the weekend of April 22-23 at Webster University. The event is presented in partnership with Opera Theatre of St. Louis in conjunction with its upcoming premiere of “Milk” in June. In addition, QFest features a “Poison”-themed dance party at Handlebar on Saturday, April 30.

QFest St. Louis begins on Friday, April 29, and runs through Thursday, May 5. Tickets go on sale April 1. Tickets are $15 general, $12 for Cinema St. Louis members and students with valid and current IDs. Passes are also available: Five-Film Passes are $65, and All-Access Passes are $200 ($50 and $150 for CSL members). Virtual screenings — limited to residents of Missouri and Illinois — will be offered through Eventive, CSL’s online presentation partner. Direct ticket links are available on the QFest website. 

QFest St. Louis is sponsored by AARP St. Louis, Arts & Education Council, Grizzell & Co., Missouri Arts Council, Bob Pohrer & Donnie Engle, CALOP, Just John Nightclub, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Regional Arts Commission, Deb Salls, St. Louis LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce, St. Louis Public Radio, Cindy Walker, Webster U. Film Series, and Ted Wight.

For the full schedule of screenings, including trailers and descriptions of the films, visit the festival website at www.cinemastlouis.org/qfest. Advance digital screeners of the features and some of the shorts are available for press review on request. Please inquire with QFest St. Louis artistic director Chris Clark.

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair

FILM PROGRAMS

Cut!

Marc Ferrer, Spain, 2021, 79 min., Spanish, narrative

The Depths

Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Japan/Korea, 2010, 121 min., Japanese & Korean, narrative

Great Freedom (Grosse Freiheit)

Sebastian Meise, Germany, 2021, 116 min., German, narrative

Mama Bears 

Daresha Kyi, U.S., 2022, 90 min., documentary

Poison 

Todd Haynes, U.S., 1991, 85 min., narrative

Queer Shorts Programs 1-4

Multiple countries, program runtimes range between 79 and 99 minutes

Rebel Dykes 

Harri Shanahan & Siân A. Williams, U.K., 2021, 89 min., documentary

Sirens 

Rita Baghdadi, Lebanon, 2021, 78 min., Arabic & English, documentary

The Swimmer (HaSahyan)

Adam Kalderon, Israel, 2021, 83 min., Hebrew, narrative

The Therapy 

Zvi Landsman, Israel, 2021, 85 min., English & Hebrew, documentary

Two Eyes 

Travis Fine, U.S., 2019, 107 min., narrative

The Unabridged Mrs. Vera’s Daybook 

Robert James, U.S., 2021, 81 min., documentary

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair 

Jane Schoenbrun, U.S., 2021, 86 min., narrative

Social media: Facebook: @QFestSTL | Twitter: @QFestSTL | Instagram: @QFestSTL


Cinema St. Louis (CSL) is pleased to announce that the Centerpiece Event of the 30th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) — held Nov. 4-21, 2021 — is “American Underdog,” a Kingdom Story Company production distributed by global content leader Lionsgate (LGF.A, LGF.B) and opening in theaters December 25. Kurt and Brenda Warner, who served as executive producers on the film, will attend and participate in a post-screening Q&A.

“American Underdog” tells the inspirational true story of Kurt Warner (played by Zachary Levi), who went from a stock boy at a grocery store to a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Hall of Fame quarterback.

The screening will be held at 8 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, at the Tivoli Theatre, 6350 Delmar Blvd. Tickets are $50 and go on sale at 9 AM for CSL members and 1 PM for the general public on Friday, Oct. 22, through the CSL website, www.cinemastlouis.org.

St. Louisans need no reminders about Warner’s storied career, which started here with the Rams when he went from essentially unknown backup to starter in 1999 after Trent Green suffered a torn ACL in the preseason. The Rams, of course, won the Super Bowl that season, and Warner and the “Greatest Show on Turf” went on an historic three-year offensive spree that produced a second
Super Bowl appearance.

Later, Warner did it again, taking the perennially woebegone Arizona Cardinals — another franchise familiar to locals — to their first Super Bowl.

Kurt Warner as St Louis Rams Quarterback

The film centers on Warner’s unique story and the years of challenges and setbacks that could have derailed his aspirations to become an NFL player. It is only with the support of his wife, Brenda (played by Anna Paquin), and the encouragement of his family, coaches, and teammates that Warner perseveres and finds the strength to show the world the champion that he already is. “American
Underdog” is an uplifting story that demonstrates that anything is possible when you have faith, family, and determination.

Also starring Dennis Quaid, the film is directed by the Erwin brothers from a screenplay by Jon Erwin & David Aaron Cohen and Jon Gunn, based on the book “All Things Possible” by Kurt Warner and Michael Silver. The producers are Kevin Downes, Jon Erwin, Andrew Erwin, Mar Ciardi, and Daryl Lefever.

To protect the safety and health of patrons, SLIFF will require masks and proof of vaccination at this and all in-person screenings. No concessions will be available. Full details on Covid-19 safety measures are on the Cinema St. Louis website: cinemastlouis.org.

Aug. 20-22 and 27-29: Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium in Webster Hall, 470 E. Lockwood Ave.

Tickets/Passes: Tickets are $14 for general admission; $11 for students and Cinema St. Louis members. Two types of passes are available: Five-Film Passes are $60, $45 for CSL members; All-Access Passes are $100, $80 for CSL members. Passes and advance tickets can be purchased through the Cinema St. Louis website. More Info: 314-289-4150, cinemastlouis.org

The 13th Annual Robert Classic French Film Festival — presented by TV5MONDE, sponsored by the Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation, and produced by Cinema St. Louis (CSL) — celebrates St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s extraordinary cinematic legacy, offering a revealing overview of French cinema.

The Robert Classic French Film Festival is the first CSL in-person event since the Covid-19 pandemic. The host venues — Washington University on Aug. 13-15 and Webster University on Aug. 20-22 and 27-29 — have not yet determined whether capacity limits or masks will be required. Details will be announced on the CSL website when available.

The fest annually includes significant restorations, and this year features a quintet of such works: Melvin Van Peebles’ “The Story of a Three-Day Pass,” Diane Kurys’ “Entre Nous,” Joseph Losey’s “Mr. Klein,” Jacques Deray’s “La piscine,” and the extended director’s cut of Jean-Jacques Beineix’s “Betty Blue.”

The fest also provides one of the few opportunities available in St. Louis to see films projected the old-school, time-honored way, with Agnes Varda’s “Vagabond” screening from a 35mm print.

As part of CSL’s year-long Golden Anniversaries programming, which features films celebrating their 50th anniversaries, the fest includes a pair of films from 1971: François Truffaut’s “Two English Girls” and Claude Jutra’s French-Canadian “Mon oncle Antoine.”

Completing the fest is a pandemic-delayed tribute to the late Anna Karina, who died in December 2019: Jean-Luc Godard’s essential “Vivre sa vie.”

Every program features introductions and discussions by film or French scholars and critics.

All films are in French with English subtitles (“The Story of a Three-Day Pass” is in both English & French).

TV5MONDE serves as the fest’s presenting sponsor, and the Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation is the event’s title sponsor.

Schedule

For film synopses,  see the CSL website

7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 13, WASHINGTON U.

Mon oncle Antoine

Claude Jutra, Canada, 1971, 104 min., color, DCP

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Lionel Cuillé, teaching professor in French and director of the cultural center French ConneXions at Washington University.

7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 14, WASHINGTON U.

Entre Nous/Coup de foudre

Diane Kurys, France, 1983, 110 min., color, new restoration, DCP

Entre Nous

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Colin Burnett, associate professor of Film & Media Studies at Washington U. and author of “The Invention of Robert Bresson: The Auteur and His Market.”

7 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 15, WASHINGTON U.

Mr. Klein

Joseph Losey, France, 1976, 123 min., color, new restoration, DCP

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Pier Marton, video artist, self-described “Unlearning Specialist at the School of No Media,” and former instructor at several leading U.S. universities.

7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 20, WEBSTER U.

The Story of a Three-Day Pass/La permission

Melvin van Peebles, France/U.S., 1967, B&W, 86 min., English & French, new restoration, MP4 file

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Diane Carson, professor emerita of film at St. Louis Community College at Meramec and film critic for KDHX (88.1 FM).

7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 21, WEBSTER U.

Vagabond/Sans toit ni loi

Agnès Varda, France, 1985, 105 min., color, 35mm print

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Kathy Corley, documentary filmmaker and professor emerita of film at Webster University.

6:30 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 22, WEBSTER U.

Betty Blue

Jean-Jacques Beineix, France, 1986, 185 min., color, new restoration of extended director’s cut, Blu-ray

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Andrew Wyatt, editor of and film critic for Cinema St. Louis’ The Lens and the Gateway Cinephile film blog.

7:30 PM FRIDAY, AUG. 27, WEBSTER U.

Vivre sa vie/Vivre sa vie: Film en douze tableaux

Jean-Luc Godard, 1962, 83 min., B&W, Blu-ray

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Pete Timmermann, director of the Webster U. Film Series and adjunct professor of film studies at Webster U.

7:30 PM SATURDAY, AUG. 28, WEBSTER U.

La piscine

Jacques Deray, 1969, France, 122 min., color, new restoration, Blu-ray

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Calvin Wilson, theater critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who also writes on film, dance, and music.

7 PM SUNDAY, AUG. 29, WEBSTER U.

Two English Girls/Les deux Anglaises et le continent

François Truffaut, 1971, France, 130 min., color, Blu-ray

With an introduction and post-film discussion by Robert Garrick, attorney, board member of the French-preservation nonprofit Les Amis, and former contributor to the davekehr.com film blog.