‘Action!’ It’s the 22nd Annual Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase

Screenings for the 22nd Annual Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase are set for July 15-17 and 22-24.

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.

The showcase’s 14 film programs range from narrative and documentary features to multi-film compilations of fiction, experimental, and documentary shorts. Feature programs include Q&As with filmmakers. In addition to the film programs, this year’s event includes four free master classes focused on key aspects of filmmaking.

All film programs screen exclusively at Washington University’s Brown Hall, Forsyth & Skinker boulevards; the legal-issues master class is held at the offices of Capes Sokol law firm, 8182 Maryland Ave., 15th Floor; and the closing night party is held at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room, 6404 Delmar Blvd.

Individual tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for Cinema St. Louis members and students with valid and current photo IDs. Five-film passes are available for $60, or $50 for CSL members; all-access passes are available for $135 or $105 for CSL members.

For more details or to purchase tickets or passes, go to cinemastlouis.org/st-louis-filmmakers-showcase.

Three of the master classes are presented as livestreams at specific times/dates during the showcase, with the legal-issues master class offered both in person at the offices of Capes Sokol and as a livestream. The July 24 closing night awards presentation will take place from 7-11 p.m. in the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill, with awards announcements at 9 p.m.

Nearly two dozen showcase jury awards — including a $500 prize to the overall Best Showcase Film—will be announced during the event. Cinema St. Louis staff will also announce the films that will move on to the 31st Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival in November.

The 63 films and four master classes in this year’s showcase include:

  • All Gone Wrong: Josh Guffey’s electrifying crime drama, which stars Tony Todd (“Candyman”), premiered at the 2021 St. Louis International Film Festival.
  • Animated and Experimental Shorts: Nearly a dozen animated and experimental works are presented in a colorful shorts program.
  • Doc Shorts: An illuminating and thoughtful documentary-short program features a wide range of stories and subjects.
  • Master Classes: A series of four free master classes—featuring filmmakers and industry professionals—focus on key aspects of filmmaking: Missouri Stories Lab, Editing, Development and Legal Issues.
  • Narrative Shorts: Five eclectic narrative-short programs include comedies, dramas, supernatural films, and thrillers.
  • Night Life (documentary): This call-to-action documentary by local ex-con turned director Seth Ferranti tells the inspiring story of the Rev. Kenneth McKoy, known to St. Louis as the “Pastor of the Streets.” McKoy’s Night Life Ministry, whose participants walk the streets of North St. Louis at night, fights an epidemic of mental illness and drug addition, actively interrupting gun violence in a city notoriously known for being one of the murder capitals of America.
  • A New Home (documentary): This informative documentary—by the team that brought you last year’s America’s Last Little Italy: The Hill tells—the story of the Bosnian refugees who fled to St. Louis in the early ’90s, examining their impact on our community and offering a retrospective overview of the war and resulting genocide.
  • Poetry in Motion: St. Louis Poets Take the Mic. Dana Christian directed this insightful documentary on the local poetry scene.
  • Un-resolved: Multi-hyphenate Bruce J. Cunningham directed, wrote, edited, produced, and co-starred in this epic tale of revenge and violence.
  • Winemaking in Missouri: Catherine Neville (“tasteMakers” on Nine Network) co-directed this juicy and informative overview of the history of wine production in the Show-Me State. 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 master classes and the $500 prize for the Best Showcase Film. The event’s other sponsors include Capes Sokol, EditMentor and EditStock, Missouri Arts Council, Missouri Film Office, NOW Talent Management, Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis Public Radio, TalentPlus, and Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.

The full list of all films is available here.

This article is based in part on a news release from St. Louis Cinema.