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Missouri Has Film Festivals, Too

January 25, 2010

I am preparing for departure from my three days at the annual Sundance Film Festival.  In addition to enjoying the premier of “Winter’s Bone” (see story at, we have been able to meet with film office staff, economic development specialists, lawyers, tax advisors, producers, site-selection officials, and tourism officials to promote the film, entertainment, tour and travel industries in Missouri.  We have so much to share.

The economics of the entertainment industry are complex. Missouri’s motion media efforts are flourishing, and there are more expansion opportunities on the horizon. Connecting site-selection teams and filmmakers with our communities is what our Missouri Film Commission does so well. We offer a variety of diverse urban and rural locations, breathtaking scenery, an expanding technical infrastructure of skilled craftsmen, and a cherished Midwestern work ethic to enable the production to come in on time and, in many recent cases, under budget. Missouri offers a competitive film tax credit to allow producers to adapt costs to market demand for their studio and television projects and for their independent films, which are enjoying a variety of distribution options.

But the real opportunities exist with our existing Missouri film festivals.  Next up, the True/False Film Festival is Feb. 25-28 in Columbia.  After that, Missouri hosts the Kansas City Film Festival from April 14-18, while the Citizen Jane Film Festival is Oct. 15-17 on the Stephens College Campus in Columbia. The St. Louis International Film Festival enjoys its 19th year with events from Nov. 11-21.

The True/False Film Festival is open to short- and feature-length documentary films, as well as films that “cross the boundary between fact and fiction,” its Web site says. Many of the films come from Sundance or other film festivals. The Kansas City Film Festival is a juried festival for both short and feature-length films, and it features several divisions in which films may compete. One division is open for filmmakers from Missouri and Kansas.

The Citizen Jane Film Festival focuses on the works of female filmmakers, producers and writers, and was first held in Columbia in 2008, while the St. Louis International Film Festival is a large-scale event (using several theater venues in the area) that featured more than 250 films from 40 countries in 2009.

Coming soon will be a “Missouri Movie Trail” similar to what we already promote with our Missouri Wine Trail and the Missouri Golf Trail (which is still being enhanced).  We hope visitors will enjoy touring locations of some of their favorite Missouri-filmed movies.  Examples include the critically acclaimed “Up in the Air,” filmed in St. Louis, and “Winter’s Bone,” filmed entirely on location in Taney and Christian counties in Southwest Missouri.  Other examples include “Escape from New York,” filmed in St. Louis, “Paper Moon,” filmed in St. Joseph, “Mr. & Mrs. Bridge,” filmed in Kansas City, and “KillShot,”  filmed in Cape Girardeau.  Perhaps you have a film-location idea?  If so, comment here so we can add to our trail of sites to enjoy.

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