Having worked in the industry (both TV and movies) and as a volunteer for the St. Louis International Film Festival in the early years, I totally agree with the points made by Audrey Hutti ("Reel Change," RFT, July 5).
"Relationships" are what make Hollywood work. It is virtually impossible to get anyone of credible standing to trust you on face value if you don't have the right contacts. Hollywood works hard at portraying the laid-back, casual lifestyle, but in reality it's one of the hardest-working places on earth. Deals are a constant way of life, and they're ongoing, night and day, in trendy bars and restaurants, at the gym, at grocery stores and in bathrooms. It is a town that believes the country comprises only two cities: New York and LA. It doesn't even recognize St. Louis as a city. (Hollywood couldn't point to St. Louis on a map.) Reality being, we're a nonplayer. So the industry certainly wouldn't solicit our business unless there was a very good reason to take a chance on St. Louis. That chance was the end result of the truly devoted efforts of Ms. Hutti.
Just when we finally got some positive momentum for the festival, there goes St. Louis shooting itself in the foot again. It's not only childish but downright foolish to think you can "simply replace" credible professionals who have managed to earn the trust and confidence of our self-absorbed friends on the Left Coast with two unknowns who don't understand the difference between videotape and film. And these two were the best of the bunch! Does anyone at SLIFF have any idea what they've done? They have managed to create their own version of the Serra sculpture and give us yet another reason to wince with embarrassment.
Thank you, Cliff Froehlich, for your thoughtful and insightful article about the St. Louis International Film Festival ("The Big Picture," RFT, July 5). I share your optimism that the festival will continue to improve and develop its own distinct personality. One program in the festival where this is happening is the New Filmmakers Forum.
This year, the St. Louis Film Office and the St. Louis International Film Festival have formed a partnership to present the New Filmmakers Forum. The Film Office will organize the seminars and will sponsor the guest jurors and speakers all industry professionals from Los Angeles, New York and London.
If the past selection of competition films for the NFF was judged substandard by RFT critics, the opportunities that the forum presented aspiring local filmmakers were not. The NFF weekend introduces St. Louis as a film community to guests directors, producers and other industry professionals, provides educational opportunities for local filmmakers with the guests in formal settings (the seminars and morning coffee hours) and encourages informal networking opportunities among the guests and the local participants (at the Blueberry Hill hospitality suite and at parties and casual meals in the Delmar Loop). Many local filmmakers do not have the financial ability to attend other film festivals, and they are eager to participate in this well-designed program where guests are up close and personal. The Film Office is excited about its new association with SLIFF. We believe that by working together we can present a strong and vital New Filmmakers Forum.
St. Louis Film Office
Paul Friswold's piece on "experimental punk band" the Conformists was one of the most interesting and engaging articles I have ever read ("Eat or Be Eaten," RFT, July 12). My snake-brain tore through it so quickly that when I finished, I couldn't quite decide what to make of the whole experience. Thanks for doing something dynamic and different. It is articles like these that separate the music coverage in the RFT from the countless other music publications I slog through.
I disagree with your reviewer about Harry's East ("The Least Side," RFT, July 5). I have eaten at this restaurant over 30 times at all different times of the day and days of the week. I have taken family and friends in the evenings and business associates during the day. The food has always been excellent, and the staff has always been gracious and accommodating of any wishes me or my guests have requested. The chef has even taken special orders twice! That shows me that Harry's wants to go that extra mile to make my dining experience the best it can be. And it does!
I do wonder how knowledgeable your reviewer is, though. I have traveled all over the U.S. and Western Europe and I have never had a crè me brûlée that wasn't cold. It's supposed to be!
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