The much anticipated debut of the St. Louis Filmmaker Showcase recently left a mark on the local film community. If you missed it, it could have very well been because the programs you wanted to see were sold out that or you were too busy listening to N-SYNC's shiny new CD "Celebrity." That Lance guy can really dance, can't he? Yikes. Anyway...
The good people at the St. Louis Film Office have been steadily working throughout the years assisting filmmakers from all over the world, and attracting production work to our happy little Ted Drewes-esque neighborhood. It's been an exciting ride that St. Louisans have had, as we've greeted a wide variety of "outlanders" and strutted proudly over their decisions to shoot here. Sure, it's fun boasting about the Chinese box office success "Gua Sha (The Treatment)", or cheering like mad when hometown hero George Hickenlooper ("The Big Brass Ring") comes back to visit. But this new festival wasn't about that.
The first annual St. Louis Filmmaker Showcase, held July 29-31 at the Tivoli Theater, presented more than 60 films by St. Louis-area independent filmmakers. From full-length dramatic features to documentaries to music videos to shorts the St. Louis Filmmaker Showcase pretty much had all the bases covered.
This is not to be confused with the St. Louis International Film Festival. That's a Helen Hunt of a different color. The SLIFF (for short), doesn't come around until November 8th, and is more... uh... international. I guess that kinda explains the name, right? The SLIFF always promises to bring in fresh and exciting new films. Incidentally, the good people at the SLIFF have made a point to feature more St. Louis filmmakers this year. Good for them! Visit www.sliff.org for more info. Anyway, back to the showcase...
Some highlights of the St. Louis Filmmaker Showcase included:
- "Defiance" by local director Doveed Linder. This rather ambitious, independent Western has been a labor of love for Linder. In the end, it seems everyone, at one point or another, had a hand in putting it together. Here's hoping that he keeps it rolling.
- The theatrical premiere of "Free City," a documentary on the St. Lunatics, the internationally acclaimed hip-hop group from St. Louis featuring Nelly.
- The premiere of the slick sci-fi short "Redemption Part 2" by Jay Kelley.
- The Closing Night Party at the Pageant featuring James Family, Ralph Butler, and Elvis. This Elvis fella must have had a pretty big following at one point or another, because sources observed all sorts of people singing along to some of his songs. No word on whether or not he has a recording contract just yet.
- "Footage" by Jack Snyder a simple little film that was a pleasant addition to the lineup.
- "Dad's Day" by Peter Carlos/ Joe Beck although the script occasionally steers us off course, the talented cast and excellent production work blind us to such flaws. As a matter of fact, the tangents could have been short films in and of themselves.
Oh, and by the way, that N-SYNC song "Pop" isn't all that bad. N-SYNC has sorta evolved into a modern version of the Michael Jackson sound. The only difference is that N-SYNC has a little darker skin.
St. Louis Film Snippets:
- The St. Louis-produced feature film "Take Two" wrapped shooting just within the last couple of weeks. Scenes were shot throughout various parts of Dogtown and Downtown St. Louis. Directed by Bobby Kirk, this romantic comedy appears to be a very likely distribution magnet. We'll have to wait and see, won't we?
- I've heard through various people that the local feature "Cosmetology 101" (Juan and Deeross McKissic) has recently been bought by Artisan for around $1.3 million and that a remake is on the drawing board. Supposedly, it's to become a Jamie Foxx film sometime down the road. No word on whether or not the McKissic brothers or any of the St. Louis crew would remain attached to the project.
"April Is My Religion" is in the final stages of post-production. I have personally screened the feature (which I am also one of the producers of) and am very pleased with what I have seen. It's a coming-of-age story with a little bit of everything mixed in. And trust me, EVERYTHING is mixed in there. It was written and directed by Bill Boll. He's looking to have it ready in time to be submitted to this year's St. Louis International Film Festival. This is his directorial debut.
|April Is My Religion
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Adam Hackbarth is a St. Louis-area screenwriter, producer, actor, and all around film/video geek. Visit www.stlfilmwire.com to contact him.