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St. Louis Film Kicks Off Film Festival

'The Makings of You,' directed by Matt Amato, will open the St. Louis International Film Festival on Nov. 13.
Courtesy of Matt Amato

The 23rd annual St. Louis International Film Festival opens next week with a very St. Louis love story.

“The Makings of You,” starring Sheryl Lee of “Twin Peaks” as Judy and Jay R. Ferguson of “Mad Men” as Wallis, tells the story of a romance between two lonely St. Louisans. Director Matt Amato, a St. Louis native, returned to St. Louis when he began working on the film in June 2013.

“It’s a genuine St. Louis product from top to bottom,” Amato told “Cityscape” host Steve Potter on Friday.

Amato is a former music video director; “The Makings of You” is his first feature film. It was filmed in St. Louis, and the quirks and spirit of the city are evident throughout it. (Yes, the ubiquitous query “Where did you go to high school?” is asked.) The shop where Wallis and Judy meet features artifacts collected by local “river hunters.”

“These objects almost have a mystical quality, and they’re a hook for Judy,” Amato said. “She eventually goes to a gold typewriter in the shop, which belonged to my grandparents — my grandpa owned and ran the St. Louis Typewriter Company, and he actually gave me that typewriter when I was a little boy.”

“The story’s a lot about how the past influences the present,” Amato said. “These characters also are somewhat trapped in the past.”

“People are going to be stunned by how gorgeous it is,” said Cliff Froehlich, executive director of Cinema St. Louis, which sponsors the 11-day festival. “It’s really a beautifully shot film — beautifully shot not in the sense that it’s overly pretty. It shows aspects of St. Louis that are very much integral to the city but that you don’t normally see represented on screen.”

Amato said the film is dedicated to Heath Ledger, with whom he partnered in the Los Angeles art collective The Masses.

“Our philosophy is we are committed to music-driven projects,” Amato said.

“We were partners at The Masses, and we were intent on making this movie,” he said of Ledger, who died in 2008. “I feel like I’m carrying the torch. I hope he loves this movie.”

“The Makings of You” is not the only film with ties to St. Louis. “Marshall the Miracle Dog,” based on a children’s book of the same name by Cynthia Willenbrock and filmed in part in St. Louis, is part of the festival’s lineup.

“We’re really pleased to have the world premiere of ‘Marshall the Miracle Dog,’ actually directed by a former president of Cinema St. Louis,” Froehlich said. “It’s one of our family films; we have a stream of family film programming.”

Related Events

23rd annual St. Louis International Film Festival

"The Makings of You"

  • When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014
  • Where: Tivoli Theatre, 6350 Delmar Blvd.
  • More information

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.