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Cinema St. Louis announces winners of third Cinema at Citygarden juried competition

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Cinema at Citygarden has announced the three winners of its third juried competition, which was open to St. Louis-area filmmakers. Competitors had to create short works and incorporate nature as a key element in their films.

The $1,500 first place winner was “Being,” directed by Nenad Simic & Zarko Mladenovic. The $1,000 second place winner was “Watershed Cairns,” directed by Kingsley Uwalaka & Matt Zahnweh. The $500 third place winner was “Green Thumb,” directed by Wyatt Weed.

The jury included Rift Fournier, a longtime screenwriter for both film and TV and current assistant professor at Lindenwood University, Brian Jun, a St. Louisan who directed several feature-length films, and Stefene Russell, the culture editor for St. Louis Magazine.

Cinema St. Louis Executive Director Cliff Froehlich explained the process the jury went through in selecting the winners. “We want to allow as much flexibility in the submission process as possible.” This flexibility is evident in the fact that all three winners were drastically different. He said, “There’s a whole range of different possibilities, and as it turns out, the three winning films this year encompass a full range of those possibilities.”

The winning film was a non-narrative almost poetic approach to nature while the second place film was a documentary. The third place winner was the most traditional and told a regular story in five minutes. The judges looked for what captured the notion of nature and what effectively told a story. “These are the films that, after viewing all of the submissions, the judges thought achieved the most given the parameters of the festival,” said Froehlich.

The videos will play on a loop from 6-11 p.m. daily starting May 24 and continuing through the end of June on Citygarden's video wall.

Four other films that were entered in the competition, “King of the Feeder Thieves,” directed by Sonja Ecton, “Nature’s Mix,” directed by Catherine Dudley-Rose, “Take Me to the Sea,” directed by Virginia Lee Hunter and “Tomorrow,” directed by Dale Ward, will also be featured as part of the video-wall presentation.

Citygarden is an urban park and sculpture garden in the middle of downtown with no fences, gates or admission fee. It is open 365 days a year.

Cinema St. Louis will also screen the video-wall program as part of the Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, July 14-18 at the Tivoli Theater. Those films will then be eligible for consideration by the Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival, held Nov. 14-24, according a news release.

For more information about Citygarden, visit www.citygardenstl.org. For more information about Cinema St. Louis, visit www.cinemastlouis.org

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