The 27th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival announces award winners and attendance results!
The 27th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF), which kicked off on Nov. 1, concluded on Nov. 11. Total attendance was a record-setting 28,723.
SLIFF screened 413 films: 88 narrative features, 77 documentary features, and 248 shorts. The fest also featured 14 special-event programs, including our closing-night awards presentation. This year’s festival had 63 countries represented.
The festival presented seven major filmmaking awards during the course of the 2018 SLIFF: Lifetime Achievement Awards to Joe Edwards and John Goodman; Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Awards to Jim Finn, Jane Gillooly, and Karyn Kusama; Women in Film Awards to Melanie Mayron; and a Contemporary Cinema Award to Jason Reitman.
SLIFF announced the winners of its juried and audience-award competitions at the closing-night party at Urban Chestnut’s Grove Brewery and Bierhall on the evening of Nov. 11. The following awards were presented:
Juries choose the winners of seven awards from among the shorts in competition. The SLIFF shorts competition is officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, making the winners in the Best of Fest, Best Animated, Best Live Action, and Best Documentary categories eligible to submit for Oscar® consideration. The 2018 winners:
- Best Documentary Short: “Koka, The Butcher” directed by Bence Máté
- Best Local Short: “The Buck: Midwest Gully” directed by Jun Bae
- Best Short Short: “The Puppy Trials” directed by Becky Nicol & Thomas Nicol
- Best International Short: “Death, Father & Son” directed by Denis Waltgenwitz & Vincent Paronnaud
- Best Animated Short: “Le Mans 1955” directed by Quentin Baillieux
- Best Live-Action Short: “Rainbow Ruthie” directed by Ruthie Marantz
- Best of Fest: “Souls of Totality” directed by Richard Raymond
Juries give Interfaith Awards to both a documentary and a narrative, choosing from among 10 competition films (five in each category), which were selected for their artistic merit; contribution to the understanding of the human condition; and recognition of ethical, social, and spiritual values. The 2018 winners:
- Best Documentary Feature: “Intelligent Lives” directed by Dan Habib
- Best Narrative Feature: “Eternal Winter” directed by Attila Szasz
St. Louis Film Critics Association Joe Pollack and Joe Williams Awards
In conjunction with the St. Louis Film Critics organization, SLIFF holds juried competitions for documentary and narrative features. The awards are named in honor of the late St. Louis Post-Dispatch critics Joe Pollack (narrative) and Joe Williams (documentary). The winners are picked by two juries composed of St. Louis film critics. SLIFF chose eight films to compete in each category. The 2018 winners:
- Best Documentary Feature: “Letter from Masanjia” directed by Leon Lee
- Best Narrative Feature: “The Captain” directed by Robert Schwentke
The Midrash St. Louis Film Award celebrates St. Louis-related films of honesty and artistry that portray the need or the hope for reconciliation or redemption. Eligible work for the Midrash St. Louis Film Award includes feature and short films largely shot in St. Louis or directed by filmmakers with strong local ties. The award comes with a cash prize of $500. The 2018 winner:
- “The Man Behind the Merferds” directed by Josh Herum
New Filmmakers Forum Emerging Director Award (The Bobbie)
The New Filmmakers Forum (NFF) annually presents the Emerging Director Award. Since its inception, NFF was co-curated by Bobbie Lautenschlager. Bobbie died in the summer of 2012, and SLIFF honors her memory by nicknaming the NFF Emerging Director Award as the Bobbie. Five works by first-time feature filmmakers competed for the prize, which includes a $500 cash award. The 2018 winner:
- “Farmer of the Year” directed by Vince O’Connell & Kathy Swanson
Spotlight on Inspiration Documentary Award
This year, SLIFF inaugurated this juried competition, which awards a $5,000 prize to a feature documentary that focuses on people working to make the world a better place and that inspires audience members and leaves them with a sense of hope for the future. The 2018 winner
- “The Providers” directed by Laura Green & Anna Moot-Levin
Best of Fest Audience Choice Awards
Audience voting determines the winner of three awards from among the films in competition.
The 2018 winners:
- Leon Award for Best Documentary Film: “The Push” directed by Grant Korgan & Brian Niles
- TV5MONDE Award for Best International Film: “Capernaum” directed by Nadine Labaki
- Best Film: “Green Book” directed by Peter Farrelly