30th Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival awards and attendance

By: Cinema St. Louis
ST. LOUIS - Nov. 22, 2021 - PRLog -- The 30th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) was held in person and online Nov. 4-21. The fest had an estimated viewership of 21,646, including 11,564 St. Louis-area students who participated in our free Cinema for Students program. There were 5,740 in-person attendees and 4,342 online viewers. Because most virtual programs were watched at home by more than a single person, online viewership was estimated by multiplying the number of total programs purchased (2,481) by 1.75.

Because of the hybrid nature of this year's fest, viewers from outside the St. Louis area also participated in many programs, with 44 states and 16 countries represented.

SLIFF screened 412 films: 61 documentary features, 84 narrative features, 94 documentary shorts, and 173 narrative shorts. There were an additional two film programs exclusive to Cinema for Students. The fest also featured six livestreamed special events — four seminars/master classes, a New Filmmakers Forum roundtable, and the closing-night awards presentation — and six in-person special events, including a screening of "American Underdog" with Kurt and Brenda Warner in attendance.

This year's festival featured films from 78 countries in 37 languages.

The festival kicked off with a free opening-night special event featuring the documentary "Procession," with director Robert Greene — who was honored with SLIFF's Contemporary Cinema Award.

On the festival's final day, SLIFF offered a Tribute to Mary Strauss and presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Two other filmmakers were also honored: Documentarian and native St. Louisan Nina Gilden Seavey, who presented a free special-event program called "My Fugitive" at the fest, received the Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award; and documentarian Deborah Riley Draper, whose film "Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority", received the Women in Film Award.

The following awards were presented:

Shorts Awards
  • Best Documentary Short: E14,
  • Best Short Short: Autumn Leaves
  • Best International Short: The Danger in Front
  • Best Animated Short: Mila
  • Best Live Action Short: Dana
  • Best of Fest Short: The Letter Room

Interfaith Awards
  • Best Documentary Feature: Berrigans: Devout and Dangerous
  • Best Narrative Feature: 200 Meters

St. Louis Film Critics Association Joe Pollack and Joe Williams Awards
  • Best Documentary Feature: We Are the Thousand
  • Best Narrative Feature: Luzzu

Essy Award for Best St. Louis Film
  • Try Harder!

New Filmmakers Forum Emerging Director Award (The Bobbie)
  • Shellfish

Spotlight on Inspiration Documentary Award
  • A Once and Future Peace

Best of Fest Audience Choice Awards

  • Best Documentary Short: Hammond's Books
  • Best Narrative Short: Mila
  • Best Documentary Feature: And So I Stayed
  • Best Narrative Feature: Gossamer Folds

In Person:
  • Leon Award for Best Documentary Feature: Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
  • TV5MONDE Award for Best International Feature: Belfast
  • Best Narrative Feature: After We're Over

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