The 20th Annual St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase makes its virtual premiere today July 10-19th. The festival will feature over 56 short films, documentary shorts, master classes, and feature films.
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.
Because of the Covid-19 health crisis, the Showcase will be presented virtually in 2020. CSL is partnering with Eventive, which also handles our ticketing, to present the Virtual Festival. There are no geographic limits on accessing the programs. Once a ticket-holder begins watching a program, access remains available for 48 hours.
The Showcase’s 15 film programs range from full-length fiction features and documentaries to multi-film compilations of fiction and documentary shorts. Most programs will feature recorded Q&As with filmmakers, which will also be available on CSL’s YouTube channel.
In addition, this year’s event features a series of free masterclasses focused on key aspects of making and marketing an independent narrative feature. These will be offered as live streams at specific times/dates during the Showcase, but recordings of the presentations will also be archived and available on the CSL YouTube channel.
- Finding Financing / July 11
- Developing a Budget / July 12
- Casting / July 18
- Securing Distribution / July 19
A free live stream on the evening of July 19 will present the Showcase jury awards — including a $500 prize to the Best Showcase Film — and announce the films that will move on to the Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival in November.
America’s Last Little Italy: The Hill: A documentary feature by Joseph Puleo that explores the deep historic roots of the Hill, St. Louis’ iconic Italian neighborhood. Italians who immigrated to St. Louis in search of the American Dream built a “Little Italy” in the city’s heart that still flourishes to this day. Similar neighborhoods in other urban areas have long ago lost their specifically Italian character, making the Hill the last of a dying breed. This is the first feature by Showcase alum Joseph Puleo, whose short “Top Son” won Best Comedy at the 2016 event.
The Ballad of John Henry: A documentary feature by Matthew Rice that analyzes how an ex-slave became one of America’s greatest tall-tale heroes: John Henry. Based on Scott Reynolds Nelson’s book “Steel Drivin’ Man,” the film provides a fresh perspective on the song and folk tale by exploring a myriad of related subjects, including the convict-lease program, an unjust legal system developed after the Civil War as a replacement for slavery.
College Bound: A documentary feature by Jenna Gandolfo that chronicles a diverse group of Ritenour High School students as they overcome an array of obstacles to be accepted into some of the top universities in the country. With the help of their families and Ritenour counselor Julie Kampschroeder, the dedicated students must juggle work, school, and college prep in their pursuit of higher education.
Easy-Bake: A narrative feature by writer-director-star Zoë Kennison — a Webster U. grad — in which a 22-year-old college student is informed by her doctor that she is on an unexpected biological clock: Because of a medical issue, she has only one year to conceive a child. Though Ivan is a nanny and loves the kids in her care, until now she has given little thought to having a child of her own. But influenced by societal pressure — which assumes that all women want children — and the well-intentioned support of her roommate, Ivan begins to explore the possibility of motherhood. Writer-director-star Kennison is a former St. Louisan and recent Webster University grad.
My Ireland: A documentary feature by Anthony Monaghan, a working-class immigrant now living in St. Louis, that takes a hard look at the rampant emigration, mass evictions, and homeless crisis that plague his homeland of Ireland today. In search of answers, he travels the nation and interviews Irish people from all walks of life, from a homeless Dubliner to a member of the Irish Parliament. One thing is clear: Corruption has caused the displacement, if not the destruction, of countless lives in Ireland. Monaghan previously appeared in the Showcase with the documentary “Rednecks + Culchies.”
Resolution: A narrative feature by former St. Louisan Jacob T. Martin in which a tight-knit group of friends gathered for a New Year’s Eve party have their night of celebration descend into chaos when the host couple breaks up , a night of celebration descends into chaos. The formerly tightknit group begins to crack under the stress, with philosophical drug dealers, unruly ravers, secret affairs, and last-minute confessions making a strange night even stranger. As the party continues, the question arises: Will the bonds that tie these friends together hold or will the group dissolve into just a collection of people who once knew each other? The brother-sister team who co-produced the film — Loren Martin Goudreau and writer-director Jacob T. Martin — hail from St. Louis and are equally passionate about filmmaking and their Midwestern roots.
Wake Up: In June 2014, Ryan Candice, a high-achieving student at the University of Missouri, took his life days before his 21st birthday. Shocked and saddened, his friends set out to learn and educate others about one of the fastest-growing causes of death in the United States. “Wake Up” weaves together stories from four different frontlines of suicide prevention across the country, highlighting some of the communities most affected by the epidemic. In Philadelphia, an LGBTQ activist photographs suicide-attempt survivors. In the Intermountain West, veterans from Iraq and Vietnam receive treatment at a renowned clinic. A Louisiana couple loses their only son — a standout student at LSU — and decides to tour the country educating college students of the risks and signs of suicide. Finally, a seemingly disparate group of politicians, gun lobbyists, and Harvard researchers take steps to combat firearm suicide in Utah.
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 masterclasses and the $500 prize for the Best Showcase Film.
The event’s other sponsors include the Arts & Education Council, Grizzell & Co., Missouri Arts Council, Missouri Film Office, Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis Public Radio, and Washington University Film & Media Studies.
20th Annual Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase
Dates: July 10-19, 2020
Tickets: Individual tickets are $10 for general admission, $8 for Cinema St. Louis members and students with valid and current photo IDs
Passes: 5-film passes are available for $35, $30 for CSL members; all-access passes are available for $75, $60 for CSL members
Ticket and Pass Purchase: cinemastlouis.org/st-louis-filmmakers-showcase