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The St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) is one of the largest and highest-profile international film festivals in the Midwest. The mission of Cinema St. Louis is to promote the art of cinema and to expand the variety and availability of cinema experiences by presenting the St. Louis International Film Festival, screenings, programs, and educational opportunities. Now in its 17th year, SLIFF is presented by the nonprofit Cinema St. Louis. SLIFF spotlights the finest filmmakers in the world, whether fresh talent, emerging artists largely unknown outside their native countries, or directors of long-established reputation. SLIFF prides itself on identifying up-and-coming filmmakers, but the fest also offers high-profile films that garner Oscar nominations. Programming is organized into thematic sidebars. Cinema St. Louis is a not-for-profit organization that emphasizes film as an art form. Its mission is to enhance cultural diversity by bringing American independent productions, horizon-expanding international films and high-quality studio films to audiences before their commercial release. The Festival is especially concerned with providing filmgoers the opportunity to see works that would otherwise never screen in St. Louis.
The St. Louis International Film Festival Inc. was established in 1992 for the purpose of producing, promoting, and presenting annual film events to advance film as an art form in St. Louis. In the first year of the Festival, 25 films were shown during the last week of April. Under the direction of Festival co-founder Barbara S. Jones, the tradition of a daring and eclectic array of American and foreign films began. First-year attendance was estimated at 4,500, and critics were surprised and impressed at the level of sophistication achieved during the first year of the event.
The second year, the Festival incorporated as a Missouri not-for-profit organization. The number of films grew to 33, and attendance grew by
20 percent. By the third year, the Festival had expanded into a 10-day event
at three theaters, and 11 film directors attended their St. Louis premieres, greeting festival-goers and fielding questions from the audience about
their art. Filmmaker attendance has been an important aspect of the St. Louis International Film Festival since its inception, furthering part of the Festival's mission as a forum for young filmmakers to show and discuss their films. The
third year also saw the founding of Cinema/St. Louis, now known as Friends of
the St. Louis International Film Festival , the membership society of the Festival, which contributes financially and provides critical volunteer support.
By its fourth year, the Festival had become a St. Louis tradition eagerly anticipated by film audiences. The Festival moved from April to November and grew to include the St. Louis premieres of more than 50 films. Two annual awards were initiated: the juried Fox Theatre First Feature Award and the Audience Choice Award. The fourth year also saw the debut of the Spring Sampler, an April event that included 10 screenings and several visiting filmmakers.
Growth of the Festival has continued to be tremendous in recent years. The St. Louis International Film Festival has ambitiously challenged itself to grow with special-interest sidebars, including the popular New Filmmakers Forum, introduced in 1996. By 1997, attendance at the Festival had topped more than 10,000. Twenty-eight guest filmmakers attended, and a special feature included an opening weekend Star Tribute to screen legend Tony Curtis at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, where the Distinguished Hollywood Film Artist Award was presented.
In 1998, Delcia Corlew was named the Festival's managing director, and the offices moved to its current headquarters in St. Louis' Central West End. The Seventh Annual Festival in 1998 included a very special sidebar titled "A Separate Cinema," which featured films dating from 1915-1965 featuring all-black casts for African-American audiences. A poster exhibition and seminars accompanied the sidebar screenings. Films by and about African-Americans remain an important component of the Festival, which strives for inclusiveness by featuring films that address issues of race, age, ethnicity and sexual identity.
In 1999 and 2000, the Festival continued to expand the range of its offerings, especially in the areas of documentary and short films. The number of awards the Festival presents has also grown; in 2000, they included the Emerson Electric Audience Choice Award, the Leon Award for Best Documentary, the Interfaith Award, the Fox Theatre Emerging Filmmaker Award, the Best of Fest Short Film Award, and the Emerging Actor Award.
Cliff Froehlich was named Executive Director in 2001 and remained in that position until his departure in April of 2003. Under Cliff's leadership, the festival enjoyed continued success and several consecutive years of shattered box office records. His greatest legacies will be our greatly expanded community education outreach programming and instituting a name change for the organization. In 2003 the organization officially changed its name to Cinema St. Louis in order to more fully reflect the wide range of programming we do throughout the year. Cliff returned to Cinema St. Louis in early 2006 and became the organization's Executive Director once again.
The Festival staff now consists of Executive Director Cliff Froehlich, Artistic Director Chris Clark and Operations Supervisor Brian Spath. Under their leadership, the Festival will continue to increase its year-round presence with screenings, special events, and educational outreach.
Audience Choice Awards for Best Feature, Best International Feature, and Best Documentary; A.M.P.A.S. sanctioned awards (6 total) for Short Subjects (winners of top 3 awards are eligible to submit for Oscar consideration); Gateway Film Critics Award for Best Feature' Interfaith Award for Best Feature and Best Documentary; LGBTQ award for best Gay Feature; and the New Filmmakers Forum Emerging Director's Award for narrative first features.
Closed to the public
Conditions for Eligibility:
ALL FILMS MUST: 1) be completed by entry deadline (NO works-in-progress); 2) be a St. Louis theatrical premiere; 3) be submitted with English subtitles if in a language other than English; 4) be submitted with a completed entry form and appropriate payment; and 5) not be widely commercially available on video/DVD in the U.S. before the festival dates. Please contact Cinema St. Louis for questions and clarifications.
For preview purposes, films must be submitted on DVD (regions 1, 0 or PAL) or Blu-ray. Submit entry fee and a completed, legible entry form with the preview tape. Please print clearly and provide all information requested. If you want your screener returned, you must include a self-addressed, stamped, padded envelope. Nothing will be returned otherwise. It is advised that you keep a photocopy of this completed application for your own reference. Payments may be made by check, money order, or credit card. If your film is selected, publicity photographs, posters, and a press kit must be sent immediately. Photos, slides, and 300 dpi or higher electronic images are acceptable. Please read and understand the agreement at the end of form before signing and submitting. All entrants will be notified of the status of their submission by e-mail no later than Sept. 15, 2008. Notification of acceptance or rejection will not include criticism or feedback specific to your entry.
Entry Fees - All entry fees are in US dollars. Withoutabox members must submit directly through WAB website to receive the discount on the entry fee. Deadline dates below are dates by which the submission package must be postmarked. SLIFF does not offer fee waivers or reduced entry fees. No exceptions.
Earlybird - March 1st – April 30th: Shorts (45 min. or shorter) $30 * Features (45 min. or longer) $55
Withoutabox members – Shorts - $25 * Features - $50
Regular deadline - May 1st – June 30th: Shorts $35 * Features $60
Withoutabox members – Shorts - $30 * Features - $55
Late deadline - July 1st – July 15th: Shorts - $60 * Features - $110
Withoutabox members – Shorts - $55 * Features - $100
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