The “Mean Streets” program at the St. Louis International Film Festival includes four filmmaking workshops to allow budding and experienced filmmakers to engage with professional media makers around issues of filmmaking process.
Saturday, Nov. 5, at 10:00 a.m., Washington U./West Campus Library
The centerpiece of this master class on fair use and copyright is a screening of “Other People’s Footage,” which explores the three questions crucial to determining fair-use exemptions. The film presents helpful illustrative examples from nonfiction, fiction, and experimental films that use pre-existing footage, music, and sound from other individuals’ creations without permission or paying fees. Following the film, co-directors Diane Carson (professor emerita at St. Louis Community College at Meramec and longtime St. Louis film critic) and Robert Johnson Jr. (professor of Communication Arts at Framingham State University) answer questions and amplify on the issues that the film explores.
Saturday, Nov. 5, at 1:00pm, Washington U./West Campus Library
Brian Woodman, producer of “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth” and Curator of the Washington University Film & Media Archive, will take participants through the documentary archival process from beginning to end, providing answers to the questions that documentarians are most likely to confront: How do you build a story using archival material? What ethical considerations are there in archival documentary filmmaking? What are the best strategies for collecting visuals? How do you work with different holders of archival material, such as libraries and archives? What do you do if you are a filmmaker needing archival materials on a budget?
Saturday, Nov. 5 at 3:00pm, Washington U./West Campus Library
Murray Center for Documentary Journalism professor Robert Greene — director of “Kate Plays Christine,” which screens at SLIFF — explores how to create psychological transparency in documentary editing. Documentary is made from the tensions between truth and fabrication. To best serve the viewer in the midst of this inherent uncertainty, documentary filmmakers must create a space for audiences to understand what exactly it is that they’re watching. Using clips from his and other’s work, Greene will explore how to edit scenes in ways that create this space — to manufacture, in a sense, a “psychological transparency” that empowers viewers, while also using the tools of cinema to lead them on an experiential journey.
Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1:00pm, Washington U./West Campus Library Filmmaker Kevin Willmott provides an overview of screenwriting, with an emphasis on problem-solving, low-budget filmmaking, and understanding how studio writing works. The master class serves as an opportunity both for seasoned writers to discuss their screenplays and for beginners to learn the nuts-and-bolts of starting a project. Willmott is the co-writer of Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq,” which screens at SLIFF. His films as a writer-director include “C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America,” “The Only Good Indian,” “Destination Planet Negro,” and “Jayhawkers.” Willmott is an associate professor in the Film Studies Department of Kansas University.
All workshops are sponsored by the American Culture Studies (AMCS) Program at Washington University and Washington University Libraries.
“Mean Streets” is part of “The Divided City” initiative, a joint project of Washington University’s Center for the Humanities and the College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design. “The Divided City” is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.