8th Annual Webster University Student Film Festival
Webster University's Film II production classes present the product of their talent and creativity.
Fresh films from the film and video seniors of Webster University’s School of Communications, these new and exciting films represent the culminated efforts from the graduating class of 2013.
Based on the poignantly optimistic autobiographical writings of California-based journalist and poet Mark O'Brien, The Sessions tells the story of a man confined to an iron lung who is determined - at age 38 - to lose his virginity. With the help of his therapists and the guidance of his priest, he sets out to make his dream a reality. Discussant - Susan Stiritz, PhD, MSW
In Chile's Atacama Desert, astronomers peer deep into the cosmos in search for answers concerning the origins of life. Nearby, a group of women sift through the sand searching for body parts of loved ones, dumped unceremoniously by Pinochet's regime. In Spanish with English subtitles. Discussant - Sheila Heckman, Institute Librarian
Paloma is a serious and highly articulate but deeply bored 11-year-old who has decided to kill herself on her 12th birthday. Fascinated by art and philosophy, she questions and documents her life and immediate circle, drawing trenchant and often hilarious observations on the world around her. But as her appointment with death approaches, Paloma finally meets some kindred spirits in her building's grumpy janitor and an enigmatic, elegant neighbor, both of whom inspire Paloma to question her rather pessimistic outlook on life. In French with English subtitles. Discussant - Bernard Feinberg, MD
Actor and writer Stephen Fry explores his passion for the world's most controversial composer - Richard Wagner. But Stephen is Jewish and lost family members in the Holocaust, so can he salvage the music he loves from its dark association with anti-semitism and the Nazis? Shot on location in Germany, Switzerland and Russia, the film includes unique behind-the-scenes access to the Bayreuth Festival, the annual extravaganza of Wagner's music held in the composer's own purpose built theatre. Animated by Stephen Fry's trademark wit and intelligence, and featuring a soundtrack of Wagner's extraordinary music, this is a fantastic introduction to the life and legacy of one of the most important composers ever, and a must-see film for those who already know and love his music.
A groundbreaking, immersive portrait of the contemporary commercial fishing industry. Filmed off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts – at one time the whaling capital of the world as well as Melville’s inspiration for ‘Moby Dick’; it is today the country’s largest fishing port with over 500 ships sailing from its harbor every month. Leviathan follows one such vessel, a hulking groundfish trawler, into the surrounding murky black waters on a weeks-long fishing expedition. But instead of romanticizing the labor or partaking in the longstanding tradition of turning fisherfolk into images, filmmakers Lucien Castiang-Taylor (Sweetgrass) and Verena Paravel (Foreign Parts) present a vivid, almost-kaleidoscopic representation of the work, the sea, the machinery and the players, both human and marine.
From the nail-biting freshman auditions to the spectacular year-end performances, Fame High captures the in-class and at-home drama, competition, heartbreak, and triumph during one school year at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), also known as Fame High. Talented teenagers reach for their dreams of becoming actors, singers, dancers, and musicians. Fame High is Academy Award Nominee Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s follow-up to The Garden. This unique hybrid film is a Robert Altman-esque, coming-of-age, documentary-musical which follows a group of novice freshman and seasoned seniors struggling to find their voice – not only in their art but in life – with the help of, and sometimes in spite of, their passionate and opinionated families.
Shown with THE KODACHROME PROJECT (Jerod Welker, 2013, USA, 13 min.)
With 60x60, video artists Patrick Liddell, Sabrina Pena, Rachel Cosic & Zlatko Cosic have created 60 original works to accompany 60 experimental music compositions from 60 different international composers, each composition being 60 seconds or less in duration.
Corky St. Clair (Christopher Guest), an off-off-off-Broadway director struggles to produce an amateur theater show about the history of Blaine, Missouri for its 150th Anniversary starring a local dentist, a couple of travel agents, a Dairy Queen waitress, and a car repairman. He invites a Broadway theater critic Mr. Guffman to see the opening night of the show. The characters are delivered by accomplished improvisation actors Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hare, Eugene Levy, Parker Posey, and more.
Presented in the lively atmosphere of Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest
Qfest St. Louis
A same-sex couple celebrates their 25th anniversary by traveling the country to marry in every state that will legally let them. Along the way, they find acceptance from strangers and rejection from loved ones, and discover that no distance is too far to go to declare that their marriage counts.
Faced with the hardship of rejection by her family, male-to-female pre-op transsexual Carla meets Sam, a regular great guy who likes her just the way she is. When Carla suddenly gets the cash needed for her various surgeries, Sam has second thoughts about their relationship.
This biographical portrait traces the story of Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, from his humble beginnings as an overweight, teased Baltimore youth to internationally recognized drag superstar through his collaboration with filmmaker John Waters. Defying the status quo notions of body image, gender identity, sexuality, and beauty, Divine was the ultimate outsider turned underground royalty.
The controversial 1980 film “Cruising,” which explored (or exploited) the S&M gay subculture, was forced by the MPAA to cut 40 minutes of sexually explicit material. Filmmakers James Franco and Travis Mathews re-imagine what might have transpired in those lost scenes in this intriguing film. The result is a provocative film about the importance of the radical and transgressive in society and the value of engaging with things that scare us.
LGBT elected officials from across the country – including Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay U.S. senator – share their stories, providing a deeply personal, rarely seen side of politicians and gay people. The subjects reveal how they broke through internal and external barriers – from self-doubt over gender identity and sexual orientation to the challenges of racial prejudice and poverty – to achieve the future they envisioned.
Chelsea just wants to be a typical teenager, but her stepdad’s job as a director of low-budget indie horror films makes that impossible. Surrounded by an array of wild characters, Chelsea finds her life both embarrassing and frustrating. When she meets Danielle, a fiery young lesbian who has been rejected by her own family, they form a tender bond that allows Chelsea to re-evaluate her desire for a so-called ordinary life.
Religion, politics and gay pride clash when out and proud New Yorker Jason Potts returns home to the small Tennessee town where he grew up to make life better for the LGBT teenagers living there. In a bid to give the kids some hope, Jason plans to hold the first-ever gay pride parade down the town’s main street. Unknown to Jason, a conservative politician plots to use the parade as a means to identify who is gay in town.
A documentary about Terrence McNally’s controversial play “Corpus Christi,” which portrays Jesus and his disciples as gay and living in 1950s Texas, this film follows a 2006 production of the play from its beginnings in a small California church. Within months, the actors find themselves thrust onto the world stage, touring with the play to international acclaim.
This poignant romantic drama features an emotionally complicated love triangle. After a surprise visit from immigration officials, Jack, a gay Brit, convinces his lesbian best friend, Ali to marry him so he can get U.S. citizenship and honor his commitment to his dead brother's widow and young daughter. But things get messy when he falls for a sexy Spanish architect.
The fight for supremacy between a high school’s most popular girls takes an unexpected turn when Tanner (Michael Willet) becomes its first openly gay student. As the girls compete to bag the latest in fashion accessories, the Gay Best Friend, Tanner must choose between his skyrocketing popularity and his own GBF (Paul Iacono).
Come say ciao to Webster Film Series director Mike Steinberg - who has served the series for the last ten years - and stay on for a FREE screening of one of Mike’s favorite films. A light reception precedes the film.
A simple-minded gardener named Chance (Peter Sellers) has spent all his life in the Washington D.C. house of an old man. When the man dies, Chance is put out on the street with no knowledge of the world except what he has learned from television. After a run in with a limousine, he ends up a guest of a woman, Eve (Shirley MacLaine) and her husband Ben (Melvyn Douglas), an influential but sickly businessman. Now called Chauncey Gardner, Chance becomes friend and confidante to Ben, and an unlikely political insider.
The Classic French Film Festival
With live accompaniment by Poor People of Paris
Starring Anouk Aimée and “Amour’s” Jean-Louis Trintignant, Claude Lelouch’s much-loved “A Man and a Woman” chronicles the budding relationship between a young widow and widower who meet by chance at their children's boarding school – a romance complicated by the memories of their deceased spouses. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival and Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay.
Never before released in U.S. theaters, Claude Sautet’s elegant and sophisticated crime drama stars the great Michel Piccoli as a Paris detective who poses as a wealthy banker to lure a petty crook and his gang into committing a bank robbery ... so that he can then catch them red-handed. But there’s one thing the detective doesn’t plan for: falling in love with his intended victim’s beautiful moll (Romy Schneider).
With live accompaniment by Hearding Cats Collective
This elaborately conceived and brilliantly mounted comedy is Pierre Etaix’s most beloved movie and his personal favorite. Beginning as a clever homage to silent film, complete with intertitles, “Yoyo” blossoms into a poignant family saga and a celebration of the circus Etaix adored. Chock-full of nimble sight gags and ingenious sound effects, “Yoyo” is very sweet, a little bit melancholy, and wholly imaginative.
With short LE CINEMATOGRAPHE (from four-part feature “As Long As You’re Healthy”) (12 min., B&W, 1966)
During the never-mentioned French-Algerian war, a French deserter turned Geneva photographer (Michel Subor) agrees to a shoot with a model (Anna Karina in her film debut), losing a $50 bet that he won’t fall in love with her en route. But his pals at the “information” bureau have a little political assassination lined up for him – or is it is a test to see if he’s a double agent? And is the model mixed up with the FLN (Algerian liberationists) herself?
Hailed by film critics around the world as the greatest screen adaptation of Victor Hugo’s mammoth 19th-century novel, Raymond Bernard’s dazzling, nearly five-hour “Les Misérables” is a breathtaking tour de force, unfolding with the depth and detail of its source.
One of Jacques Rivette's most mysterious and mesmerizing films, “Le Pont du Nord” stars Bulle Ogier and her daughter Pascale (who died two years later at the age of 25) in an enigmatic thriller. Bulle plays a claustrophobic just released from prison who joins up with the leather-jacketed Pascale, a glum young woman who likes to knife the eyes out of billboard faces. Equipped with a map of Paris from a stolen briefcase, the duo chase and are chased through the city's parks and monuments on a scary treasure hunt involving secret surveillance, duplicity, and, of course, plenty of Rivettian paranoia.
Despite having a loving and patient wife at home, a good-natured suit-and-tie man, played by writer-director Pierre Etaix, finds himself hopelessly attracted to his gorgeous new secretary in this gently satirical tale of temptation. From this simple, standard premise, Etaix weaves a constantly surprising web of complexly conceived jokes. “Le grand amour” is a cutting, nearly Buñuelian takedown of the bourgeoisie that somehow doesn’t have a mean bone in its body.
With short Happy Anniversary (Heureux anniversaire) (Jean-Claude Carrière & Pierre Étaix, 1962, B&W, 12 min.)
French master Max Ophuls’ most cherished work, “The Earrings of Madame de …” is an emotionally profound, cinematographically adventurous tale of false opulence and tragic romance. When the aristocratic woman known only as Madame de (the extraordinary Danielle Darrieux) sells her earrings, unbeknownst to her husband (Charles Boyer), in order to pay personal debts, she sets off a chain reaction, the financial and carnal consequences of which can only end in despair. Ophuls adapts Louise de Vilmorin’s incisive fin de siècle novel with virtuosic camerawork so elegant and precise it’s been called the equal to that of Orson Welles.
Based on a novel by American writer Henry Farrell, Francois Truffaut’s film crossbreeds a crime thriller with a screwball comedy. A sociology student (Andre Dussollier) writing his thesis on criminal women interviews a beautiful inmate named Camille (Bernadette Lafont) who has been jailed for murder. While listening to her recount her story, he finds himself deeply smitten and becomes dedicated to proving her innocence – but is she worthy of his adoration and trust?
In Francois Truffaut’s historical drama – set in the 1860s – Adèle Hugo (Isabelle Adjani), the daughter of writer Victor Hugo, develops an obsessive and unrequited love for Pinson, a British military officer (Bruce Robinson). Based on Adèle Hugo’s diaries, the film chronicles her pursuit of Pinson from Guernsey to Halifax to Barbados. Adjani’s intense performance earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
Jean-Paul Belmondo delivers a subtly sensual performance in the hot-under-the-collar titular priest. The French superstar plays a devoted man of the cloth who is desired by all the women of a small village in Nazi-occupied France. He finds himself most drawn to a sexually frustrated widow – played by “Amour’s” Emmanuelle Riva – a religious skeptic whose relationship with her confessor turns into a confrontation with both God and her own repressed desire.
The Gospel According To Les Blank
What happens when a dedicated husband and father quits his job, adopts the persona of a Western-Movie Singing Cowboy, takes on the entire art establishment (including Christo and Andy Warhol), and refuses to accept money for his art? Meet Gerry Gaxiola, AKA The Maestro, an ex-wage slave who gave up everything to make art for art’s sake. The Maestro’s story could inspire a whole new generation of Van Goghs.
A zesty paean of praise to the greater glories of garlic. This lip-smacking foray into the history, consumption, cultivation and culinary/curative powers of the stinking rose features chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, and a flavorful musical soundtrack.
A joyous romp through the dance, food, music, friendship, and even religion of the Polka. The explosive energy and high spirits of the polka subculture are rendered with warmth and dedication to scholarship in this journey through Polish-American celebrations. Polka stars like Jimmy Sturr, Eddie Blazonzyck and Walt Solek are featured.
“All In This Tea” takes us into the world of tea by following world-renowned tea expert David Lee Hoffman to some of the most remote regions of China in search of the best handmade teas in the world. Hoffman is obsessed; during his youth, he spent four years with Tibetan monks in Nepal, which included a friendship with the Dalai Lama, and was introduced to some of the finest tea – that golden nectar with which we can taste the distant past.
I was born a poor black child. I remember the days, sittin' on the porch with my family, singin' and dancin' down in Mississippi . . . thus begin the adventures of Navin R. Johnson (Steve Martin) a complete imbecile who leaves his adopted family to “"his special purpose” and seek fame and fortune in…St Louis. Along the way, Navin falls in love, finds a dog and invents the wildly popular Optigrab, Martin’s freshman starring turn, supported by Bernadette Peters, is absolute stupidity, the way nature intended. Look for director Reiner’s future Hollywood big shot son Rob in a cameo appearance.
Presented in the lively atmosphere of Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood MO. There is ample parking and great beer on tap!Admission $5
For nearly five years, acclaimed German filmmaker Werner Herzog desperately tried to complete one of the most ambitious and difficult films of his career, Fitzcarraldo, the story of one man’s attempt to build an opera house deep in the Amazon jungle. Documentary filmmaker Les Blank captured the unfolding of this production, made more perilous by Herzog’s determination to shoot the most daunting scenes without models or special effects, including a sequence requiring hundreds of native Indians to pull a full-size, 320-ton steamship over a small mountain. The result is an extraordinary document of the filmmaking process.
Send in the Clowns:
A Celebration of Slapstick and Silent Comedians
Cinema St. Louis kicks off the First Annual St. Louis International Children’s Film Festival with a laugh-filled evening of slapstick fun both on screen and on stage. Charlie Chaplin stars in “A Dog’s Life” (Charles Chaplin, 1918, 33 min.), about a found pooch and stolen loot; Buster Keaton attempts to build a prefab house in “One Week” (Edward F. Cline & Buster Keaton, 1920, 24 min.); and Laurel and Hardy sell Christmas trees door to door in “Big Business” (James W. Horne & Leo McCarey, 1929, 19 min.). The Rats and People Motion Picture Orchestra’s Matt Pace accompanies the Keaton and Laurel and Hardy films on piano, and live clowning is provided before, between, and after the films by Sammich the Tramp and the Knock-a-bouts and by Circus Kaput’s Oh My Gosh Josh.
In this brilliant parody of film noir Steve Martin plays Rigby Reardon, a hard-boiled detective trying to uncover a sinister plot. Characters and plot twists from real noirs appear as scenes from various films are intercut. Highlights include telephone calls with Humphrey Bogart (from The Big Sleep), a seduction by Fred McMurray (from Double Indemnity) and a frantic encounter with Betty Davis.
Presented in the lively atmosphere of Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood MO. There is ample parking and great beer on tap!