The Webster University Film Series began in 1979 as an offshoot of a student run organization known as The Webster Film Society. Designed for the presentation of, primarily, non-commercial film made by artists working outside the mainstream, the series developed a following throughout the St. Louis Community. Without the competition of home video or other “Art House” options, foreign films, which were rarely seen in the area, and the repertory screenings of classic cinema and independent film attracted an audience eager to face the great possibilities that reside beyond the standard definition of ‘a movie’ an endeavor by an artist whose purpose is not selling popcorn.
With retrospectives, special programs and regular weekly screenings in our year round schedule, the series has grown into one of the Midwest’s premiere venues for new and classic, American and international cinema. Over the past quarter century the series has presented thousands of films and welcomed hundreds of artists, musicians and professionals working in contemporary cinema, many of whom are at the vanguard of the art form. In recent years, we have hosted esteemed animators Bill Plympton and Emily Hubley, video artists Steina Vasulka, Sarah Jane Lapp and Jay Rosenblatt, documentarians D.A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus, Albert Maysles, Ken Burns, Steve James and Ross McElwee. Other special guests of the series include American cinema icon John "the Pope of Trash" Waters, John Sayles, Crispin Glover, iconic actor John Goodman and indie rock band Yo La Tengo.
Other guests of the series have included Evan Adams, The Alloy Orchestra, Alan Berliner, Les Blank, Andrew Bujalski, Charles Burnett, John Canemaker, Jem Cohen, Zeinabu Davis, Thierry Frémaux, Bob Gale, James Gunn, George Hickenlooper, Al Hirshfeld, Faith Hubley, Brett Ingram, Chuck Jones, Stan Kann, Grace Lee, Anne Makepeace, Guy Maddin, Leonard Maltin, Tim Blake Nelson, The New Music Circle, David Redmond & Ashley Sabin, Randy Redroad, Lee Renaldo, Esther Robinson, Kathy Rose, Greta Schiller, Bruce Sinofsky, Ellen Spiro, Will Vinton, Morrie Warshawski, Debra Zimmerman and many others. Visits from these artists, coupled with the exhibition of films have brought our audience an opportunity to experience the rich diversity and varied perspective of cinema.