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The Libraries and SLIFF 2021

The Washington University Libraries are sponsoring and connected to a number of the offerings at the 30th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF), which will be held in-person and online from November 4th through the 21st. One of these screenings includes a short film preserved by the Libraries, and other presentations feature materials from the archival collections. 

Three Sponsored Film Screenings

A Choice of Weapons Screening
Saturday, November 6 | 7:30 pm

Brown Hall Auditorium, Washington University

John Maggio’s A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks screens for free at Brown Hall Auditorium, Washington University on Saturday, November 6th, at 7:30 pm. ‘Inspired’ is the key phrase here as the documentary is more than a simple retelling of the life and art of Parks, a towering figure of 20th-century photography, cinema, and creativity. The film also presents the work of three African American photographers from generations after Parks, and their discussion of his craft and eye for composition presents an understanding of an art form that straightforward biopics can’t achieve.

Maggio’s new cinematic portrait of Gordon Parks is preceded by one from almost fifty years ago: Listen to a Stranger: An Interview with Gordon Parks (Romas Slezas, 1973) a film preserved by the Washington University Libraries in the Henry Hampton Collection. It was made by Hampton’s production company, Blackside Inc., as part of a training series preparing high school students for the new careers of the 1970s. The Washington University Libraries preserved the short film in 2019 with a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation.

The Neutral Ground Screening
Friday, November 12 | 7:30 pm

Brown Hall Auditorium, Washington University

This year’s Henry Hampton Film Series selection is CJ Hunt’s The Neutral Ground. Hunt is a producer for The Daily Show and he brings more than a bit of that program’s mix of comedy and political analysis to the film’s examination of the movement to remove Civil War monuments. Hunt presents his personal journey through the topic including stories from his family about the legacy of Jim Crow discrimination, interviews with supporters of the Lost Cause, and the vote in New Orleans in 2015 to take statues down and the following delays that kept them up.

Film, The Living Record of Our Memory Screening
Saturday, November 20 | 1:00 pm
Brown Hall Auditorium, Washington University

The third documentary sponsored by the Libraries is a topic dear to its mission, the preservation of cultural heritage and shared memories. Inés Toharia’s Film, The Living Record of Our Memory presents a summary of the history and current state of film preservation. The film covers a lot of ground and interviews a wide range of archivists and filmmakers on the need for saving this fragile and spectacular medium. While very focused on movies, the film should be of interest to anyone interested in libraries, historical preservation, and/or old stuff.

Film, The Living Record of Our Memory screens on Saturday, November 20th 1:00 pm in Brown Hall. The University Libraries’ Curator of Film & Media, Andy Uhrich, will lead a post-screening discussion on film archiving. It will also be rentable online for Missouri and Illinois residents during the duration of the festival.

Additional Events Connected to Our Archives

My Fugitive Discussion
Saturday, November 13 | 4 pm

Brown Hall Auditorium, Washington University

Also at the festival is a discussion with Nina Seavey about her documentary podcast My Fugitive. Seavey relied on materials from the Libraries’ University Archives in the research and production. My Fugitive begins with the events of May 4, 1970, when Washington University’s campus ROTC building burned. Seavey’s father defended some of the student anti-war protestors who were charged with destroying the building. The podcast series is equal parts true-crime investigation, political thriller, and family history. Archival footage and images will be shown along with a live interview of Seavey.

For the Left Hand Screening
Friday, November 5 | 7:30 pm

Moore Auditorium, Webster University
More details and tickets

Gordon Quinn and Leslie Simmer co-directed this new documentary about pianist Norman Malone, For the Left Hand, which will screen on Friday, November 5th at 7:30 pm at Webster University’s Moore Auditorium. The expansive archive of Quinn’s celebrated documentary production company, Kartemquin Films, was donated and became part of the Washington University Libraries in 2020.

Film Festival Note

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is required to attend all St. Louis International Film Festival events. For more details about the festival please visit