5 Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival Events We Are REALLY Excited About

By Krystin Arneson
In Culture

Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival opens Thursday, and we couldn’t be more excited—Saint Louis Fashion Week and SLIFF? It’s a pretty dreamy week. With more than 447 films screening over the course of the 10-day festival, there’s plenty to get on the books.

Here’s a peek of some SLIFF events on our agendas:

1 / “Deep Web,” Nov. 5 at 5:30pm
Narrated by Keanu Reeves, “Deep Web” tells the story of the Dread Pirate Roberts—aka Ross William Ulbricht, the mastermind behind the deep web’s billion-dollar trading post for all things illicit, The Silk Road. Filmmaker Alex Winters got exclusive access to Roberts’ family for interviews and filming and spoke with the early architects of this hidden side of the internet (to most of us, anyway) to explore the future of digital rights, commerce and technology. This film screens at the Tivoli, and Winters is the 2015 recipient of the Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award.

2/ “The Whole World Was Watching: Photographs and Videos of Ferguson by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,” Nov. 13 at 7pm
The Post-Dispatch won a Pulitzer in Breaking News Photography for their photographic coverage of last year’s Ferguson unrest. Now, a year later, important conversations in the city are happening. Post-Dispatch photographers at this program will share the photos and videos that garnered the staff praise for “powerful images of the despair and anger in Ferguson, Missouri, stunning photojournalism that served the community while informing the country,” along with commentary. This event is at the Missouri History Museum.

Still from "The Whole World Was Watching" by the Post-Dispatch photography staff | Photo courtesy Cinema St. Louis

Image from “The Whole World Was Watching” program | Photo courtesy Cinema St. Louis

3/ New Filmmakers’ Forum, Nov. 13 at 7pm
One of the annual highlights of SLIFF, the New Filmmakers’ Forum at the Tivoli is a juried competition of the work of four first-time feature filmmakers. This year’s debuts: “Aram, Aram,” “Four Way Stop,” “Heaven’s Floor,” “It Had to Be You,” and “Love Land.” A roundtable with the filmmakers is scheduled for the next day at KDHX.

4/ “Silver Skies,” Nov. 8 at 6:45pm
Telling the story of a group of seniors whose lives are turned around when their apartment complex is sold, “Silver Skies” is the second feature film by director Rosemary Rodriguez (“The Good Wife,” “Empire”). It stars George Hamilton, Valerie Perrine, Barbara Bain, Jack McGee, Alex Rocco, Mariette Hartley, Jack Betts, and Howard Hesseman in complex roles that shine a light on an often-invisible population with humor and empathy. It screens at the Tivoli. Rodriguez is the recipient of SLIFF’s Women in Film Award.

5/ “The First Secret City,” Nov. 15 at noon
STL’s unpleasant issues with radioactive waste have been in the news lately, and “The First Secret City” gets to the heart of the matter by unfolding the story of how St. Louis came to be the site to refine the uranium used in the first atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima. Leftover waste, which has not been cleaned up 70 years after WWII’s end, still affects the city—as the narrator, a worker overexposed to the chemicals, shares.

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