Home Movies: SLIFF honors a native son and gives us films worth watching

Scene from Gateway Guardians.
Scene from Gateway Guardians.

This year's St. Louis International Film Festival — the nineteenth annual — takes on added poignancy with last month's unexpected death of George Hickenlooper. The local boy made good was scheduled to kick off the festivities with a cocktail reception Thursday, before the screening of Casino Jack, his buzzy take on the life and times of Jack Abramoff. But don't despair: Though Hickenlooper won't be here, his film will. There are plenty of other reasons to check out the festival, too. RFT's got the highlights covered.

George Hickenlooper III, 1963-2010
by Kristen Hinman
This year's St. Louis International Film Festival was to have been a triumphant homecoming for George Hickenlooper. Instead, it'll be a wake.

Stacy Keach: An Appreciation
by Dennis Brown
The RFT theater critic on the career of Stacy Keach, a character actor of substance and hidden reserves — and this year's recipient of SLIFF's Lifetime Achievement Award

Now Playing
RFT writers tackle a dozen films in this year's festival with a special connection to St. Louis

Circus Kids
November 21, 1:30 p.m. at the Hi-Pointe
A documentary about the St. Louis Arches — and using the circus arts to encourage change here and in the Middle East

Close But No Cigar
November 18, 7 p.m. at Plaza Frontenac
St. Louis filmmaker Jay Kanzler takes on Bob Zany, a comedian's comedian who has never quite hit the big time

Eden, Iowa
November 19, 9:30 p.m. at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium
Derek Elz's latest feature film is a riff on vampires, Frankenstein and infertility

Gateway Guardians
November 18, 6:30 p.m. at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium
The inspiring, heartwrenching true story of East St. Louis' Gateway Guardians and the dogs who love them

November 12, 9:45 p.m. and November 14, 6 p.m. at the Tivoli
St. Louis-born writer/director Jeremy Morris-Burke's highly anticipated feature film debut

A Little Help
November 21, 4 p.m. at the Hi-Pointe
It's Pam from The Office (St. Louis' own Jenna Fischer)! In her first starring role!

Pennies for the Boatman
November 14, 2:30 p.m. at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium
A melodrama set in 1950s St. Louis, directed by Niyi Coker, a professor at University of Missouri-St. Louis

Percy Schmeiser: David Versus Monsanto
November 14, 2:45 p.m.
A German documentary about a Canadian farmer who dared to fight back against the St. Louis agricultural biotech giant

Royally Genderfucked
November 20, 8 p.m. at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium
A short documentary about local drag queens — what's not to like?

St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, Shorts 1 and 2
November 15, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium
Short films from the city's up-and-coming auteurs

The Tao of Blake
November 21, 5 p.m. at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium
Local musician Blake Travis, from 16 in Webster Groves to his untimely death

A Time for Champions
November 21, 1 p.m. at the Tivoli
A valentine to soccer in St. Louis, from the turn of the twentieth century to the 1950 World Cup, to today

One Lucky Elephant
November 13, 5:45 p.m. at the Hi-Pointe
Lisa Leeman's documentary is about David Balding's beloved elephant, Flora

But Wait, There's More
Want to see James Franco amputate his own arm in 127 Hours? What about the OC's Rachel Bilson in a starring role? We've got reviews for a host of other films playing in this year's festival.