"Luzzu," a Maltese film about a poor fisherman torn between following traditional methods or making much more money by engaging in black market fishing that destroys the fish population, was given the Best Narrative Feature award at the 30th annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival.
The Best Documentary Feature award went to "We are the Thousand," an Italian film about the efforts of 1,000 fans of the Foo Fighters who put on a concert in a small Italian town.
The juried awards were chosen by members of the St. Louis Film Critics Association. The narrative award is named for the late Post-Dispatch film critic Joe Williams; the documentary award is named for the late Post-Dispatch restaurant, film and theater critic Joe Pollock.
The festival ran both in person and online from Nov. 4-21.
This year, the Best in Fest Audience Choice Awards were split between in-person films and online film.
The in-person Audience Choice awards went to Kenneth Brannagh's "Belfast" for Best International Film, "Twenty Pearls: The Story of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority" for Best Documentary and "After We're Over," which takes place in St. Louis, for Best Narrative Feature.
The online Audience Choice Awards were given to "Gossamer Folds" for Best Narrative Feature, "And So I Stayed" for Best Documentary Feature, "Mila," for Best Narrative Short and "Hammond's Books" for Best Documentary Short.
"Try Harder!" a documentary about five high school students writing their college admissions essays, won the Essy Award, and $500, for the best film with St. Louis ties. Director Debbie Lum is a former St. Louisan.
The festival's Interfaith Awards, which are given to films that contribute to the understanding of the human condition with ethical, social and spiritual values, went to "200 Meters," for narrative feature, and "Berrigans: Devout and Dangerous" for documentary feature.
The Spotlight on Inspiration Award, which carries with it a prize of $5,000, was given to "A Once and Future Peace," a documentary about an alternative to sending juvenile law-breakers to prison.
"Shellfish," directed by Hunter Hopewell, received the Emerging Director Award, which is given to a movie made by a first-time filmmaker. The award includes a $500 prize.
Juries also gave awards to six shorts: "The Letter Room" won the Best of Fest Short Award; "E14" picked up Best Documentary; "Autumn Leaves was given the Best Short Short award; "The Danger in Front" won the Best International Short; "Mila" was given Best Animated Short; and "Dana" received the Best Live Action Short Award.