Cinema Saint Louis has officially unveiled the line-up for the 18th annual Saint Louis International Film Festival today. I've known about all this for a while, as I did some assisting this year, but now that everything's set in stone (at least, as much as it can be) I can discuss some of the highlights this year. The four best films we're screening: Lucrecia Martel's The Headless Woman [La mujer sin cabeza], Lisandro Alonso's Liverpool, Claire Denis' 35 Shots of Rum [35 rhums] and Andrew Bujalski's Beeswax. All four will make their local debuts at the festival, which begins 12 November 2009, opening with Lone Scherfig's An Education, with Peter Sarsgaard, who hails from the Saint Louis area, in attendance. Sadly, I was so focused on the features this year I haven't had a chance to see any of the documentaries yet.
Bujalski will be in attendance at the Beeswax screening on 13 November at Webster University. Lee Daniels is coming with Precious (I tried to get Mariah, but y'know, she's busy) on 14 November. Director Kirk Jones will also be present for Everybody's Fine, a remake of Giuseppe Tornatore's Stanno tutti bene with Robert DeNiro, Drew Barrymore, Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale. Jason Reitman is coming with Up in the Air, followed by a Q&A, on 14 November at the Tivoli Theatre. Other appearances include Kevin Willmott with his The Only Good Indian; author Daniel Woodrell for the Director's Cut of Ang Lee's Ride with the Devil; Connie Stevens for Saving Grace B. Jones as well as co-stars Penelope Ann Miller, Rylee Fansler, Evie Louise Thompson and Tricia Leigh Fisher; Faruk Sabanovoc, co-writer and art director of Snow [Snijeg]; David Lowery with his excellent feature debut St. Nick; Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, with The Young Victoria which she co-produced with Martin Scorsese; AJ Schnack with his Convention; Joel Hodgson and the original crew of Mystery Science Theater 3000; Joe Berlinger with his latest film Crude; and Ry Russo-Young, writer/director of You Wont Miss Me, another film that comes highly recommended.
Stewart Copeland's Jennifer, which I discussed twice before, will screen as part of the Documentary Short collection "Individuals." Another friend of mine Mike Steinberg, director of the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, will premiere two documentaries: Old Dog, New Trick and The Pride of St. Louis (co-directed by Thomas Crone). The screenings, on 20 November, will be followed by a concert from the subjects of the docs, local musicians Steve Scorfina and the band Mama's Pride (one of my father's favorites, actually).
Closing on Sunday, 22 November, you have your pick between Agnès Varda's The Beaches of Agnès [Les plages d'Agnès], Richard Linklater's Me and Orson Welles, Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus or Jean-Marc Vallée's The Young Victoria.
A few other films screening this year that I quite admire: Nancy Kissam's Drool; two films from Christian Petzold, Yella and Jerichow; Lucía Puenzo's XXY; and Noah Buschel's The Missing Person. And a couple I have yet to see: Jia Zhang-ke's 24 City; Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Three Monkeys [Üç maymun]; Ondi Timoner's We Live in Public; and Hans-Christian Schmid's Storm [Sturm]. Check out the full schedule and descriptions (many of which were written by yours truly) at Cinema Saint Louis' website. I'll have more updates closer to the fest itself.