The Whitaker 2013 St. Louis Film Fest Begins, Oliver Stone to Speak

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

The two weeks that get St. Louis cinemaphiles salivating have arrived. The Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival kicked off this weekend with a stunning 330 films on tap to play at a variety of local venues throughout the city from now through Nov. 24. SLIFF is one of the largest international film festivals in the Midwest, and with this year’s festival featuring everything from comedy to drama, documentaries, shorts and animation, there’s sure to be an exciting viewing opportunity for even the most discerning film aficionado.

SLIFF 7th Voyage of Sinbad

As part of a double bill that pays tribute to the late Ray Harryhausen – which includes a documentary on the special-effects master – SLIFF screening one of his essential works, “The 7thVoyage of Sinbad.” Courtesy of SLIFF

The festival’s high spot is a personal appearance by Oscar-winning writer and director Oliver Stone who will accept a Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday, Nov. 22. Stone will also discuss his career in film and screen his director’s cut of “JFK” on the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The festival will also host more than 100 other filmmakers and related guests including other honorees Jon Jost (Lifetime Achievement Award), Arsen Anton Ostojic (Contemporary Cinema Award), Nina Davenport (Women in Film Award), and AJ Schnack (Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award).

Many high-profile films are peppered throughout the lineup featuring major stars, such as “A Late Quartet,” a film about a renowned quartet on the verge of celebrating its 25th anniversary starring Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener. Robert Duval stars in the family drama, “Jayne Mansfield’s Car,” directed by Billy Bob Thornton, and the action comedy about retired gangsters, “Stand-Up Guys,” features Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin. There are some directorial surprises too, such as “Quartet,” directed by Dustin Hoffman.

One film has local connections, as thriller “Fatal Call” was shot in St. Louis by director Jack Snyder, a lecturer in media studies at UMSL.

Many of the films—which have been submitted from around the world—have serious festival circuit buzz and have already garnered awards on their way to St. Louis. Several are Oscar contenders. Moreover, the festival features many special events such as workshops and free screenings. The primary venues are the Tivoli Theatre, Plaza Frontenac Cinema, Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium, Washington University’s Brown Hall Auditorium, the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville, IL, and the festival’s newest venue, KDHX in Grand Center.

SLIFF showcases the best in cutting-edge features and shorts from around the globe. The majority of the films screened—many of them critically lauded award-winners—will receive their only St. Louis exposure at the festival. All 330 films showing can be found on the SLIFF website, including trailers, showtimes and links to buy tickets, which differ according to the venue. Browse the film section to find out about this year’s festival. Find information about other events, workshops and free programming in the Special Events section.

The festival’s Tumblr features whatever films and events are occurring that day, so check it daily for opportunities.

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