Film Reviews
Photo courtesy of Doveed Linder, "The Box"

It is always exciting to witness the St. Louis community’s cinematic talent. And the 23rd Annual St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase reconfirms the impressive expertise of native St. Louisans or those with local ties. Seventeen programs offer ninety-one films: shorts and features, fiction and nonfiction, animation and experimental. Equally noteworthy, twenty-two women directors plus nine African-Americans have outstanding works represented.

Full disclosure, among them are works by two students of mine from years ago. Doveed Linder’s “The Box” takes an unusual, intriguing approach to the mysterious object of the title. Mike Sandknop’s “Momma Bear Down: An Exposé About Women Veteran Suicides” delivers an impactful message about those tragic suicides.

Two documentary shorts compilations and eight narrative shorts programs testify to the abundance of talent addressing a wide range of important topics and ideas. They include addiction, bone marrow donation, the healing power of art, depression, aging parents, women bicycle racers, and more. Lest some of these themes sound challenging, know that the insights provided are uplifting. Similarly, in five more individual programs, narrative films dramatize significant subjects in accessible ways.

For more unusual fare, the sixteen animated and experimental shorts in that multi-film program impart memorably creative, immersive experiences. Among them are: internationally award winning videographer Van McElwee’s “Incarnation” and “Score in Variation Space”; Jorge Martinez’s captivating, dance-inspired “Louder”; and many more, all credit to the imagination demonstrated by talented authors. I’ve had time to highlight only of few entries, but the diversity ensures something for almost everyone.

Post screening discussions with filmmakers and/or their subjects will follow feature films. The Showcase also offers three Master Classes, one each on: Missouri Stories Lab winners, legal issues, and film criticism. The Showcase runs July 21 to 23, 28 to 30, all screenings at the Hi-Pointe Theater. For more information, you may visit the Cinema St. Louis website.


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