The St. Louis International Film Festival wrapped up over the weekend and with it a long list of winners and even more spectators. A hybrid format for the festival drew viewers both from the city and from around the world.
In a press release, the organization said the festival attracted around 21,646 viewers. Over 5,000 people attended in person, while there were approximately 4,300 streams online. The total festival audience was calculated after taking into account that most movies watched at home had more than one viewer.
The hybrid format of SLIFF also allowed the festival to be broadcast around the world; viewers came from sixteen different countries, as well as 44 different states. Over 400 films were screened at this year’s festival, with 78 countries screened and 37 languages.
These viewers determined the winners of the “Best of Fest Audience Choice Awards”. Divided into two categories, virtual and in-person screenings, Mila directed by Cinzia Angelini won the award for best online narrative short, while the Leon award for best documentary feature went to the in-person screening of Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, directed by Deborah Riley Draper. Draper also won the Women in Film award.
Other prizes were chosen by a jury, some categories being accompanied by a cash prize. The Essy Prize for Best Saint-Louis Film – a category that highlights films related to Saint-Louis – was awarded to Try harder!, a movie directed by St. Louisan Debbie Lum which features five high school students as they navigate college applications.
Documentary filmmaker and St. Louisan Nina Gilden Seavey received the Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award, awarded to those in St. Louis who make “significant contributions” to cinema. The festival also honored St. Louis philanthropist Mary Strauss on her last day for her contributions to the St. Louis cinema.
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