The 23rd Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) will be held November 13 to 23, and will screen 389 films, including 89 narrative features, 76 documentary features, and 224 shorts. The festival will open on Thursday, Nov. 13, with the premiere of “The Makings of You,” a St. Louis-set and -shot drama by Matt Amato. An award-winning director of music videos and commercials, Amato returned to his hometown of St. Louis to shoot his feature debut, which stars Jay R. Ferguson (of “Mad Men”) and Sheryl Lee and Grace Zabriskie (both of “Twin Peaks”). Ferguson and Zabriskie will attend.
Other prominent films at SLIFF include festival buzz movies “Foxcatcher,” “The Imitation Game,” “Mr. Turner,” and “Wild”; the locally made features “Four Color Eulogy” and “Marshall the Miracle Dog”; and new works by such prominent directors as Martin Scorsese, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jonathan Demme, Catherine Breillat, Alain Resnais, and Volker Schlondorff.
In response to the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson this summer, SLIFF is featuring a stream of programming entitled Race in America: The Black Experience. To maximize outreach, about three-quarters of those programs are free. Also new at this year’s fest, SLIFF is partnering with Dance St. Louis for Dance on Film, an entirely free slate of seven dance-related programs.
SLIFF’s lineup features also works by internationally renowned filmmakers including The 50 Year Argument (Martin Scorsese), Abuse of Weakness (Catherine Breillat), Bending the Light (Michael Apted), Caged Heat and A Master Builder (Jonathan Demme), Cheatin’ (Bill Plympton), The Congress (Ari Folman), Cupcakes (Etyan Fox), Diplomacy (Volker Schlondorff), Finding Fela! (Alex Gibney), Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller), The Great Invisible (Margaret Brown), Happy Valley (Amir Bar-Lev), Hiroshima, Mon Amour and Life of Riley (Alain Resnais), Levitated Mass (Doug Pray), Manuscripts Don’t Burn (Mohammad Rasoulof), May in the Summer (Cherien Dabis), Me and You (Bernardo Bertolucci), Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh), The Overnighters (Jesse Moss), Revenge of the Green Dragons (Andrew Lau), Stray Dog (Debra Granik), Wild (Jean-Marc Vallee), and Winter Sleep (Nuri Bilge Ceylan).
Festival award-winners and critically lauded international films include Abuse of Weakness, Alex & Ali, The Amazing Catfish, The Ambassador to Bern, Amka and the Three Golden Rules, The Apostle, Belle and Sebastian, Bhopal, The Bit Player, Borgman, Class Enemy, The Dark Valley, Diplomacy, The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, God’s Slave, Handy, The History of Fear, Honey, Human Capital, I’m Ten, Then I’ll Catch Eleven, The Imitation Game, The Japanese Dog, L’Chaim, The Liberator, Life of Riley, The Major, Manuscripts Don’t Burn, Marie’s Story, May in the Summer, Me and You, Mr. Turner, My Sweet Pepper Land, New World, Patema Inverted, Paulette, The Priest’s Children, Run Boy Run, A Small Southern Enterprise, Stations of the Cross, Still Life, To Kill a Man, Tomorrow We Disappear, Traitors, Trap Street, The Tribe, Uzumasa Limelight, Waltz for Monica, West, Windstorm, Winter Sleep, and Zero Motivation.
American indies on the lineup include Amira & Sam, Cru, Druid Peak, Five Star, Four Color Eulogy, The Frontier, Growing Up and Other Lies, I Believe in Unicorns, The Impersonators, Listening, The Makings of You, Marshall the Miracle Dog, Northern Borders, One Small Hitch, Red Butterfly, Rubber Soul, The Sound and the Shadow, Teacher of the Year, Treehouse, Warren, and Wildlike.
Major documentaries include six documentary-shorts programs, #ChicagoGirl, The 50 Year Argument, 120 Days, 20,000 Days on Earth, Above All Else, Advanced Style, Afternoon of a Faun, The Age of Love, Alex & Ali, American Arab, American Cheerleader, The Animal Condition, Beginning with the End, Bending the Light, Bob Reuter’s Last Tape, Born to Fly, Burroughs, Eamonn Wall, Elegy to Connie, Evolution of a Criminal, Finding Fela!, The Great Invisible, Happy Valley, Holbrook/Twain, The Homestretch, An Honest Liar, I’m Not Racist … Am I?, In Country, In the Turn, The Island of St. Matthews, Jingle Bell Rocks!, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, La Passion Noureev, L’Chaim, Levitated Mass, Limited Partnership, Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine, Miss Hill, Mistaken for Strangers, Nas: Time Is Illmatic, Natural Life, Not Exactly Cooperstown, On Company Business, The Overnighters, Partners for Peace, Pulp, Queers in the Kingdom, Red Army, Ricki’s Promise, Rubber Soul, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, SlingShot, Someone You Love, Stray Dog, Strictly Sacred, The Sum Total of Our Memory, Tap or Die, Through a Lens Darkly, ThuleTuvalu, Tomorrow We Disappear, The Uprising, Utopia, Vessel, Walking Man, We Don’t Wanna Make You Dance, Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back, When God Left the Building, When My Sorrow Died, Where God Likes to Be, Who Took Johnny, The Winding Stream, Wrenched, Yakona, You Have His Eyes, and Zemene.