Tuesday, 04 November 2014 10:12

SLIFF Survival Guide

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Although we have barely made it into November, it's almost Christmas for St. Louis film lovers. 

From November 13-23 thousands of people will descend upon a myriad of venues for the 23rd Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival.

For starters, SLIFF 2014 features a lot of movies! The epic lineup includes 389 films: 89 narrative features, 76 documentary features, and 224 shorts from 69 countries.This year’s festival has 239 screenings and programs. There's even parties, burlesque, special guests and a tribute to St. Louis' own King Baggot, the world's first bonafide movie star.

As cinephiles sit in the darkness they will see some movies that are wonderful, informative, local, inventive, educational or clever. For the serious attendee the process will be a breakneck process, requiring pacing, patience, methodical planning and even some luck.

So as the oncoming storm of the St. Louis Film Festival approaches here are some helpful tips to make you ready for some serious cinema!

1. Get tickets in advance since many shows will sell out. The big Hollywood films will go quickly and you don't want to be sad.

2. Don't be afraid to ask the SLIFF staff for recommendations. After all they picked the films and love to talk about them.

3. Support local film! A lot of really great stuff is happening right here in our community and thanks to an intredpid bunch of local filmmakers we have a vital scene growing here in the STL. As a result the fest features movies from these creative heroes.

4. Go outside your comfort zone! See something you may not normally see just for the hell of it. Maybe see a documentary on a cause you want to learn more about or venture to a far off land via the magic of world cinema. There are plenty of sidebars to choose from if you want to see a certain type of film or one from a particular region.

5. See some shorts! There are a lot of crazy good short films being made and the SLIFF staff divvies them up into categories.

6. Talk to a filmmaker. They don't bite. Many come into town wanting to get feedback on their film. After all what better way to gauge whether the film is a hit or not than by showing to a live theatre of film buffs?

7. Get a schedule and plan your 'wish' list. Then allow time for accidents, parking, delays, ticket lines and exhaustion. It helps  to have a backup plan in case the film you want to see is not available. See #1 about advance tickets!

8. There are a lot of venues! Time is tight and could ultimately be the thing that sinks your plans in getting to and fro. Venues for this year are: Plaza Frontenac Cinema, The Stage at KDHX, Tivoli Theatre, The St. Louis At Museum, The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, The Centene Center for the Arts, Washington University, Brown Hall Auditorium and Webster University, Moore Auditorium. 

9. Don't believe the hype! You don't have to be a serious filmy to attend the fest. SLIFF draws a diverse range of people, young and old, from the casual film watcher to the hardcore flickster. Everyone plays nice and you don't have to be bogged down with a lot of preconceptions or technical knowledge to have an awesome time!

10. Have some fun! Everyone loves the movies and film festivals like this provide ample opportunities to not only meet new people while broadening your horizons.  

Finally there isn't really a reason for you to find something you want to see. Whether you want to see a restored classic,  a yet to be released critically acclaimed Oscar frontrunner, a local, short or foreign film there will be something for you to discover.

You will feel cleansed and empowered after you free yourself form the bondage of the multiplex. This emancipation will open new horizons and make you feel pretty groovy as well. Sleeping at night will be easier too since you know that your ticket dollars are supporting Cinema St. Louis, a local nonprofit that does year round programming. But most importantly, you will have fun!

For a schedule of movies, programming and general information visit  http://www.cinemastlouis.org