Lou Loops 

The St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase unspools this weekend

It will come as a shock to many that the 80 short films and three features at the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase were all created by current or former locals. You can't exactly tool down the street and point to the many landmarks that pop up in big-budget films made here (though White Palace, Escape From New York and King of the Hill have their share).

Still, there's a thriving filmmaking scene in the Lou, and the showcase, put on by the St. Louis International Film Festival, lets the secret out. The movies range from juvenile first attempts to a Midwest premiere of a brand-new Hollywood pic, Interstate 60, starring James Marsden and Gary Oldman. The message is clear: The sky's the limit for all the would-be Karyn Kusamas (Kusama is the St. Louis-born writer/director of Girlfight) growing up in our burg.

The notable films include Wedding Laine, shot at University City's Arcade Lanes and featuring bowling star Dick Weber; Researching Raymond Burke, featuring John Heard in a piece filmed in Alton, Illinois; The Tell Tale Heart, Doveed Linder's slick black-and-white version of the Poe story; Graffiti Limbo, an impressive documentary on the annual Paint Louis graffiti-art festival; The Richard Nickel Story, an excellent doc about a man whose obsession with saving the ornamentation from Louis Sullivan buildings about to be demolished in Chicago cost him his life; and STL2000, Matt Meyers' chronicle of a year in the local punk- and underground-music scene, featuring dozens of familiar bands, bar owners, zine creators, DJs and scenesters.

For many, the highlight of the showcase will be the series of programs taking place on Saturday, July 27, featuring early work by the "Local Boys Made Good," Hollywood filmmakers Bob Gale, Ken Kwapis and George Hickenlooper; a chat with Gale, who co-created the Back to the Future movies; and the Midwest premiere of Gale's directorial debut, the aforementioned Interstate 60.

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