The 29th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) was held virtually from Nov. 5-22, 2020. The fest had a total estimated viewership of 26,100, including 10,400 St. Louis-area students who participated in our free Cinema for Students program. A note on methodology: Because most programs were watched at home by more than a single person, public viewership was estimated by multiplying the number of total programs streamed (8,942) by 1.75.
Because of the virtual nature of this year’s fest, viewers from outside the St. Louis area also participated in many programs, with 45 states and 32 countries represented.
SLIFF screened 374 films in 149 virtual screenings: 64 narrative features, 49 documentary features, 153 narrative shorts, and 108 documentary shorts. There were an additional three film programs exclusive to Cinema for Students. The fest also featured nine livestreamed special events, including six master classes and a New Filmmakers Forum roundtable. A total of 56 programs were offered for free. This year’s festival featured films from 64 countries in 46 languages.
The festival kicked off with a free opening-night special event featuring the documentary short “8:46” — which records a powerful performance by comedian Dave Chappelle in response to the killing of George Floyd — and a livestreamed conversation with Chappelle and the film’s Oscar-winning directors, Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert.
SLIFF concluded with the livestreamed closing-night awards presentation on the evening of Nov. 22. For information on the juried-competition and audience-choice awards, visit the Awards page. A recording of the awards presentation is available on Cinema St. Louis' YouTube channel. Recordings of most of the master classes and of the NFF event also remain accessible.