The 23rd Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) ran Nov. 13-23. SLIFF screened 389 films: 89 narrative features, 76 documentary features, and 224 shorts. This year’s festival had 239 screenings/programs, with 69 countries represented. The fest hosted more than 125 filmmakers and related guests, including honorees Doug Pray (Contemporary Cinema Award), Katie Mustard (Women in Film Award), and Timothy J. Sexton (Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award). Below are excerpts of the major awards. To see all the winners and details, visit the SLIFF website.
Contemporary Cinema Award – Doug Pray
A documentary director, cinematographer, and editor, Doug Pray specializes in exploring unique subcultures. His work includes the Emmy Award-winning â€œArt & Copyâ€ (2009), a film about advertising and creativity and..
Women in Film Award – Katie Mustard
Named as one of Varietyâ€™s Top 10 Producers in 2014, Katie Mustard has an impressive resume for a young producer. An Honors graduate of the USC film school, Katie has overseen the production of 35 movies, 20 short films, 3 feature documentaries and dozens of commercials in just under a decade.
Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award – Timothy J. Sexton
OscarÂ®- and Emmy-nominated screenwriter Timothy J. Sexton was born and raised in St. Louis, where he attended St. Louis University High. Sexton is the creator and producer of the Lifetime TV series â€œThe Lotteryâ€ (2014), and his screenplays include the recent â€œCesar Chavezâ€ (2014), directed by Diego Luna, and Alfonso Cuaronâ€™s â€œChildren of Menâ€ (2006), which was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay OscarÂ®.
Audience Choice Awards
Audience voting determines the winner of three awards from among the films in competition:
Best Narrative Feature: “Marshall the Miracle Dog” directed by Jay Kanzler
TV5MONDE Award for Best International Film: “”Belle and Sebastian” directed by Nicolas Vanier
Leon Award for Best Documentary (named in memory of the late civic leader Leon Strauss): “Walking Man” directed by Joshua Salzberg
Juried Competition Awards
Interfaith Documentary and Feature Awards
Best Documentary Feature: “Zemene” directed by Melissa Donovan
Best Narrative Feature: “Still Life” directed by Uberto Pasolini
Midrash St. Louis Film Award
Midrash St. Louis engages myriad aspects of American culture â€“ hot topics, deep subjects, music, arts, and film â€“ and seeks to give and receive commentary on the subjects and issues that matter to people in St. Louis and that form and shape our views and lives.
Midrash Award Winner: “Good Conduct” directed by Patrick Rea
NFF Emerging Director Award: The Bobbie
The New Filmmakers Forum (NFF) annually presents the Emerging Director Award. Five works by first-time feature filmmakers compete for the prize, which includes a $500 cash award.