Film fans may have to *gasp* cross the moat and venture into the land of dragons to attend part of the Stella Artois St. Louis International Film Festival this year.
The festival will cross the river for the first time to premiere several screenings in the restored Wildey Theater in downtown Edwardsville - including one actually shot in Alton. Here's the highlights:
Joint Body, directed by Brian Jun. Marc Pellegrino of TV's Lost stars as a parolee abandoned by his ex-wife and barred from seeing his young daughter, who forms a relationship with a troubled woman (Alicia Witt) after he saves her from an assailant. Filmed in Alton! Screening: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11.
Chico and Rita, directed by Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal and Tono Errando. An adult animated film set in pre-revolution Cuba that chronicles a 1948 love affair between a young piano player and a beautiful singer. "Gorgeous and sexy," it is presented in English at 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11.
A Cat in Paris, directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol of France. An animated family movie follows a "hand-drawn caper" set in the alleys of Paris. Screening: 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12.
The Last Mountain, directed by Bill Haney. A documentary on the battle between Applachian residents and the representatives of Big Coal, it will be shown with Among Giants (an environmental activist's tree-sitting protest) and Timber, a "comic" documentary about conservation of natural resources. Screening: 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12.
Kurt Cobain About a Son, directed by Edwardsville native A.J. Schnack. It's a meditation on the late musician based on 25 hours of audiotaped interviews. Screening: 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12.
Confidence Man: The Hugh DeNeal Story, directed by Robert Streit. This documentary follows a talented artist from small-town gigs to national touring to the Kennedy Center to... Leavenworth Penitentiary. (Oops.) The 8 p.m. screening is followed by a concert by DeNeal himself!
The Interrupters, director Steve James of Hoop Dreams. This documentary follows three "Violence Interrupters," former criminals and gang members who now fight violence on the streets of Chicago. One of the Interrupters will be present with the director at the festival. Screening: 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13.
YERT: Your Environmental Road Trip, directed by Evans. It is described as "a celebration of the American spirit in the face of adversity, this thought-provoking, inspiring and sometimes hilarious documentary tells the stories of the creative individuals, groups and businesses that are tackling the greatest environmental threats in history." Screening: 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13.
Undefeated, directed by Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin, follows three underprivileged student athletes from inner-city Memphis set against the backdrop of a high school football season. Screening: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13.
This is a small sampling of the 400-plus films and documentaries screened in the film festival. Other venues include the Tivoli Theatre, Plaza Frontenac, Webster University and Washington University, with many others. For full schedules and venue information, check out the festival site at www.cinemastlouis.org.
At the Wildey, individual tickets are $12 each or $10 for Cinema St. Louis members and students with valid ID. Tickets for the Confidence Man screening and concert are $15. For more information, check out the Wildey Theater site at www.wildeytheatre.com.