INTERVIEW WITH… BRIAN SPATH OF ST. LOUIS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
We have a handful of festivals that we’re always keen to keep in the loop of new work from new clients, and St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) is definitely one of the chosen ones. The programme is always so varied yet has a strong spread once the line-up is announced. We caught up with Brian Spath as he gears up for this year’s festival happening November 13th – 23rd…
Tell us a bit about your job, and what you do…
I am the Operations Supervisor for Cinema St. Louis, which presents the St. Louis International Film Festival (SLIFF) every November, along with several other festival events throughout the course of the year. My job entails general, day-to-day office duties, bookkeeping, cataloging submissions, programming the short film catalog for SLIFF, and coordinating volunteers for all of our events.
This November will be the 23rd year of the festival running, what do you think underpins the popularity of SLIFF?
St. Louis is fortunate to have a strong community of people who love the movies. It doesn’t hurt that the festival gives folks the opportunity to say ‘I saw it first at SLIFF!’ but we also give folks the opportunity to see things theatrically that they wouldn’t have a chance at otherwise. Sometimes that even extends beyond the theater. I think people are spoiled by Netflix and Hulu and have grown to think everything will be available to stream, but that isn’t always the case and our audience is aware of that.
There are several festivals under the SLIFF banner including QFest and SLIFF/Kids, does your audience cross-over or are there still distinct demographics for each one?
There’s some crossover, albeit very small crossover. Each of our events has a very specific, distinct audience.
What’s the most common mistake that you see in short film submissions?
Simple formatting issues, whether it’s bars & tone or simple labeling (every disc should feature Title, Running Time, Country, and a Withoutabox Tracking ID, or equivalent).
What’s your advice to someone who gets a rejection from a festival?
Don’t take it so hard – you may submit to 30 festivals and only get into one, so let the joy of one selection not be overshadowed by the sorrow of multiple rejections. I know for me, I turn down many films I like and want to play at SLIFF, but we just don’t have the screening space available to make it happen. I regularly compile 12 programs but could easily do twice that.
Tell us the best and worst part of your job.
Working with filmmakers and people passionate about film is easily the best part. The worst part is more personal, in that sometimes I don’t really like to be social and will usually skip out on parties or mingling events as I can find those experiences overwhelming, or even alienating
Share with us one of your favourite films and tells us why you like it…
During my time as shorts programmer, there have been several films I always think about and hope to discover something like it everywhere. Those shorts are Sugar (above), God of Love, The Astronomer’s Dream, and Something Left, Something Taken.