5 SLIFF Films With Ties to the Gateway City

The 27th annual St. Louis International Film Festival showcased some of the best international, documentary, and American independent cinema—but did you know several of this year’s screenings had Gateway City references? From hometown directors to St. Louis-themed documentaries, here are five SLIFF movies with strong ties to St. Louis.

Day One

Journey inside St. Louis Public School’s Nahed Chapman New American Academy, a refugee-only school helping students through healing, education and adjustment. Day One follows a group of recently resettled teens from Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Congo for one year as they work through personal problems, grow friendships and prepare for high school.


St. Louis native Karyn Kusama directs this buzz-worthy drama starring Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman as LAPD detective Erin Bell, who is dealing with the resurgence of a gang she went undercover with as a young officer. Kusama was awarded SLIFF’s Charles Guggenheim Cinema St. Louis Award at the screening of the film, and Destroyer will open in theaters later this year.

The Best of Us: 100 Seasons of Muny Magic

In celebration of its 100th season, The Best of Us: 100 Seasons of Muny Magic digs into what makes The Muny such a monumental cultural institution generation after generation. Craftspeople, performers, audience members and more discuss the history and impact of the country’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater in this 54-minute film.

Robert Campbell, Mountain Man

Once a penniless Irishman, Robert Campbell (1804-79) ultimately became the wealthiest man in Missouri after getting involved in the St. Louis fur trading industry. This film follows Campbell’s great-great-great-great nephew as he travels across the American West to retell his ancestor’s rags-to-riches story.

The Color of Medicine

You may be surprised to know that St. Louis was home to the black hospital, Homer G. Phillips, which once trained the largest number of black doctors and nurses in the world. The film illustrates the unique history of the medical training of African-American doctors and nurses before and after desegregation. A wide variety of doctors, nurses, and patients reflect on their experiences from the hospital’s beginnings in 1937 to its closing in 1979.

About the author

Julia Cain

Julia Cain is a St. Louis reporter and blogger.


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