Sunday night saw the final day’s screenings of the St. Louis International Film Festival. The festival is a celebrated event that brings together the best and the brightest from the world of cinema. Each year the event features top shorts, documentaries, international films, and American independent films.

The festival is organized by Cinema St. Louis with the mission of promoting films that show appreciation for cultural diversity.

The St. Louis International Film Festival, also known as SLIFF, was born in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. The venues where the festival is held include the 570-seater Tivoli Theatre, the 170-seater Plaza Frontenac Cinema, the Stage at KDHX with guaranteed 120 seats, and .ZACK, the 130-seater multi-use arts venue on Locust Ave. in Missouri.

Every year, the SLIFF receives thousands of film submissions and screens about 300 films. This year, some of the most-anticipated films of SLIFF’s program included Ash is Purest White, Ben is Back, Capernaum, The Captain, If Beale Street Could Talk, Support the Girls, The Front Runner, Everybody Knows, The Image Book, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Wildlife, Boy Erased, Little Woods, and Transit.

The St. Louis International Film Festival was recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as a qualifying festival for the Best Live Action Short, Best Narrative Short, Best Documentary Short, and Best Animated Short categories.

This year marked the 27th anniversary of the St. Louis International Film Festival. Highlights of the event included the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Awards to famous cinema personalities John Goodman and Joe Edwards.

The festival also presented other annual awards to Jason Reitman (Contemporary Cinema Award); Jane Gillooly, Jim Finn, and Karyn Kusama (Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Awards); and Melanie Mayron (Women in Film Award).

The festival’s Opening Night and Reception featured the film “Destroyer” by St. Louis native Karyn Kusama.

The SLIFF also screened the highly-acclaimed Sundance Film Festival awardee Crime + Punishment by Stephen Maing, Where the Pavement Ends by Jane Gillooly, Mr. Soul! by Melissa Haizlip and Sam Pollard, and Roma by Academy-Award winning director Alfonso Cuaron.

The event also featured a range of free programs, forums, parties, and receptions.

The History of St. Louis International Film Festival

The St. Louis International Film Festival was founded in April 1992 and was named the St. Louis Film Festival. It was established by a group of universities and non-profit organizations, such as the Grand Center, St. Louis Film Partnership, St. Louis Art Museum, Legacy Productions, Webster University, and Washington University.

The inaugural festival in 1992 screened 25 films to an audience of around 4,500 attendees during the last week of April.

In 1993, the festival became a Missouri non-profit organization called the St. Louis Film Festival Inc. In its second year, the festival featured over 33 films and had over 5,400 attendees.

In 1994, the Cinema of St. Louis was founded. It provides volunteer and financial support to the festival. To this day, Cinema of St. Louis produces the annual St. Louis International Film Festival.

Parallel Chords Team at the St. Louis International Film Festival

The festival date was moved from April to November in 1995. During this year, more than 50 films were screened, and the juried Fox Theatre First Feature Award and Audience Choice Award were first introduced.

Since then, the St. Louis Film Festival has been making a name for itself. By 1997, around 10,000 people were reported to have attended the event. The Hollywood Film Artist Award was presented for the first time to Tony Curtis at the Fox Theatre.

In 1998, the festival’s fame has reached an international level. This was also the year that the festival changed its name to St. Louis International Film Festival, which is used up to this day. The highlight of this year was the A Separate Cinema event, which featured films made with all African-American casts and audiences.

In 1999 and 2000, the festival started to receive documentary and short films.

In 2001, Cliff Froehlich became the festival’s Executive Director. He left the committee in April 2003 and has returned as Executive Director in 2006.

The 2009 festival featured a gala for the film Up in the Air and offered a Q&A session with famous director Jason Reitman. During this year and the succeeding years, Cinema St. Louis launched other film festivals, such as the Classic French Film Festival, QFest, and SLIFF/KIDS.

Programs and Awards

The St. Louis International Film Festival offers the following annual programs:

  • Archival Presentations
  • Golden Anniversaries
  • Environmental Focus
  • Filmmaker Conversations
  • Georgia Frontiere Cinema for Students Program
  • Human Rights Spotlight
  • Mean Streets: Viewing the Divided City through the Lens of Film and Television
  • New Filmmakers Forum
  • Race in America: The Black Experience
  • Show-Me Cinema
  • Women in Film Spotlight
  • SLIFF/Kids Family Films

The St. Louis International Film Festival presents the following awards.

Juried Competition Awards


  • Best of Fest (Narrative Short)
  • Best Documentary Short
  • Best Live Action Short
  • Best Animated Short
  • Best International Short
  • Best Local Short
  • Best Short Short (less than 5 minutes)


  • Interfaith Awards for Narratives and Documentaries
  • Midrash St. Louis Film Award
  • NFF Emerging Director Award: The Bobbie
  • Spotlight on Inspiration Documentary Feature Award
  • New Filmmakers Forum Emerging Director’s Competition Award
  • Louis Film Critics’ Joe Pollack and Joe Williams Awards

Major Filmmaker Awards

  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award
  • Contemporary Cinema Award
  • Women in Film Award

How to Enter Your Film

The official platforms for film submissions of the St. Louis International Film Festival are FilmFreeway and Withoutabox. Both platforms provide significant information on the festival’s film submission guidelines, terms, and conditions, as well as the Festival’s mission, objective, and history.

To read and understand SLIFF’s film submission rules, you could visit the following websites.



The festival’s official website is You could visit the website for all other information, as well as the festival’s film schedule and events.

The St. Louis International Film Festival ran from November 1-11, 2018.


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