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Thursday, May 26, 2011

CityGarden: Now It's a Cinema, Too

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Cinema at CityGarden -- as if this downtown park wasn't cool enough before, now they're screening indie movies.
  • Cinema at CityGarden -- as if this downtown park wasn't cool enough before, now they're screening indie movies.

Earlier this month, the downtown sculpture garden/playspace CityGarden was honored with a major award from the Urban Land Institute -- it's the best use of public space in the nation.

But we're happy to report that this way-cool project isn't just a park. It's also a cinema showing a series of indie films -- for at least the next 30 days, anyway.

Starting tomorrow morning around 9ish, the video wall at CityGarden will host the premiere of three short films from local filmmakers. (The films, which also received cash prizes, were chosen through a juried competition organized by Cinema St. Louis and funded by the Gateway Foundation.) Each film is five minutes or less -- and incorporates "nature" as a key element. They'll play on a perpetual loop all weekend long.

On Tuesday, the loop will be expanded to include six finalists from the competition, in addition to the three big winners. That loop will run until June 26.

Cinema St. Louis has run similar competitions for the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. (In fact, Cliff Froehlich, the organization's executive director, says they're currently soliciting films for a competition inspired by the museum's "Dreamscapes" exhibit.) But this is the first time they've been asked to do something like this at CityGarden.

"They have a very nice set-up with a video screen at CityGarden, but they were puzzled how to use it," Froehlich says. "They wanted to do something that was locally based, so we suggested a competition, and they bought into it." He adds, "We were really happy about that!"

The films will play come rain or shine, which is worth noting in this weather. Although, as Froehlich adds, "If the power goes out, it's another matter."

The winning films and their directors:
First Place (winning $1,500): Chadwell Ruthsatz, "Nature's Variation"
Second Place (winning $1,000): Michael McCubbins, "Camus' The Fall"
Third Place (winning $500): Rachel and Zlatko Cosic, "Urban Green"

Finalists whose films will be featured as of May 31:
"Autumn: Early Stages of Decline," directed by Virginia Lee Hunter
"City Garden: Close Up," directed by Alison Carrick
"The Iron Garden," directed by Mark Lovelace and Mat Moffitt
"Oranges," directed by Emily Hatcher and Whitney Gelnett
"The Tire Swing," directed by Matthew Pierce
"Water in the Sun," directed by Larry Bulawsky

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