The annual St. Louis International Film Festival (that's SLIFF for short) began last night and runs through November 21. As it does every year, SLIFF features a generous selection of music-related documentaries. Here's the rundown. For the RFT's full coverage of the film festival, please go here.
*The Agony and Ecstasy of Phil Spector November 13, Tivoli, 9:30 p.m. A portrayal of the notorious producer, driven by interviews with Spector, his music and footage from his murder trial.
*Beyond Ipanema: Brazilian Waves in Global Music November 14, Tivoli, 2:30 p.m. Billed as "a fast and furious history of Latin American music from World War II to the present," the documentary touches on the music of Gilberto Gil, Carmen Miranda, Seu Jorge and Os Mutantes.
*Coming Back for More November 18, Tivoli, 9 p.m. Dutch filmmaker and musician Willem Alkema achieved something that seemed impossible: He tracked down elusive legend Sly Stone and even convinced him to give an interview.
*Do It Again November 20, Tivoli, 8:15 p.m. Boston Globe reporter Geoff Edgers attempts to reunite the Kinks. During his travels, he ends up playing the band's tunes with people such as R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Robyn Hitchcock and Sting. Added bonus: The Halo Bar will be showing Kinks videos at 10 p.m. after the screening, for free. Review by Paul Friswold here.
*For Once In My Life November 14, Tivoli, 4:30 p.m. This film follows the musical and personal lives of Miami's Spirit of Goodwill Band, whose members have a diverse range of mental or physical disabilities.
*Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages November 19, Webster University/Winifred Moore Auditorium, 7 p.m. Says SLIFF, this silent film is a "quasi-documentary that uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the Middle Ages suffered the same hysteria as turn-of-the-century psychiatric patients." The Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra will be performing an original score along with the movie. A trailer for Ride, Rise, Roar
*In My Mind November 20, Tivoli, 1:15 p.m. This doc explores the parallels (and differences) between a 2009 concert by jazz pianist Jason Moran -- which paid tribute to the great Thelonious Monk -- and a gig that the late, great jazz legend performed exactly fifty years earlier.
*Kings of Pastry November 21, Webster University/Winifred Moore Auditorium, 3 p.m. Notable music director D.A. Pennebaker (he who filmed Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, Monterey Pop and Depeche Mode 101) turns his attention to a prestigious pastry cook-off.
*Most Valuable Players November 17, Tivoli, 7 p.m. Screw sports: Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, has the Freddy Awards, a fancy awards ceremony to honor high-school musical theater.
*Ride Rise Roar November 14, Tivoli, 8:45 p.m. A concert film about David Byrne's 2008/2009 tour, Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno. Read my review of the film and of Byrne's 2008 Fabulous Fox show from that tour.
*Superstonic Sound: The Rebel Dread November 17, Webster University/Winifred Moore Auditorium, 9 p.m. Read my review of the documentary about Clash filmmaker/Big Audio Dynamite member/punk DJ Don Letts.
*The Tao of Blake November 21, Webster University/Winifred Moore Auditorium, 5 p.m. A loving portrayal of Blake Travis, a St. Louis musician and storyteller. Plays with Broken and Wonderful, a documentary on local singer-songwriter Bob Reuter.