Luke Pappaspanos, Guest Writer

Going to the movies has been a popular pastime for people of all ages for over one hundred years.  It all began when Thomas Edison created a kinematoscope and showed his film, “The Black Diamond Express.”  Folks were able to see pictures moving which has continued as an exciting adventure for everyone. 

Since that moment the film industry has created and recreated films which has had an impact on all societies around the globe.  France has the honor of being the first country to show films to an audience in a theatre. This historical moment was created by the Lumière brothers, Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean

Film techniques progressed rapidly through the years.  Every country has contributed to the industry with breakthroughs in sound, color, animation, lighting, sets, editing, and now streaming services. 

On Monday, Oct. 28, the Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival brought to the University of Missouri–St. Louis campus some sneak peek clips to preview before the opening ceremonies on Nov. 7.

Mark that calendar because on November 7-17 the International Film Festival, has features from many countries and different cultures to share with St. Louis audiences. Narratives, documentaries, short films and short programs can be viewed. There are 389 films, 25 short programs, 63 locations and six continents.   

The documentary entitled “Made In Auschwitz: The Untold Story of Block 10” has been provided by UMSL media studies professor Rita Csapo-Sweet. 

Csapo-Sweet shares, “I have been involved with STIFF since its beginning in 1995.” She co-produced Hungarian t.v. and Bosnian films at St. Louis International Film Festival.  

“I encourage my students to see these films,” she states.  

She has a partnership with the Holocaust Museum here in St. Louis. She applied for a grant through the museum and the Felton Family and she explains, “they gave us a grant of $5,000 to create press material in the making of the film.” 

She continued, “it was released to Israeli T.V. on May 1. The film was edited for France and Germany. It premiered in North America, in late July/early August this year.”  

Csapo-Sweet has travelled to special locations where she films. On Nov. 17, “Made in Auschwitz: The Untold Story of Block 10” has the 3 p.m. time slot at the Plaza Frontenac Cinema. 

“I will be there and there will be a Q&A after the show with the director,” she adds.  

The professor has written an article which preludes to the film, “Clauberg’s Eponym and Crimes against Humanity.”  This article was written by Csapo-Sweet and her late husband Frederick Sweet.

The following locations has the international films to view: Cortex District’s Innovation Hall, Missouri History Museum, Plaza Frontenac Cinema, St. Louis Public Library, Stage at KDHX, Tivoli Theatre, Washington U/Brown, Webster U/Moore, Webster U/Sverdrup.

Free movie events, 64 to be exact, begin on Friday, Nov. 8 at 5 p.m.  with “We Believe In Dinosaurs” and at 5:05 p.m. with “Doc Shorts: Method M” at the Tivoli 1 and 3.  Also at 7:30 p.m. at Washington U/Brown with “Seahorse,” and will continue until Nov. 17.

The organization has programs all year long. In March is the Classic French Film Festival, the LGBTQ – Focused Q Fest in April, as well as Free Film Making Camps for teens 12-18 years old, and the 48 Hour Film Project in June.

Cinema St. Louis has over 500 volunteers that help out with the film festival and throughout the year. Internships are also available. If interested in an internship, a volunteer position or film times and locations check the website: Get involved and go to the movies.