ST. LOUIS - The 30th Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival opens at the Tivoli Theater with a powerful Missouri-based documentary by acclaimed documentarian Robert Greene, the filmmaker-in-chief at the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the University of Missouri. Greene, whose credits include “Bisbee ’17,” “Kate Plays Christine,” and “Actress,” will receive the fest’s Contemporary Cinema Award at the screening. In “Procession,” six men from Kansas City, Mo. — all survivors of childhood sexual assault at the hands of Catholic priests and clergy — come together to direct a drama-therapy-inspired experiment designed to collectively work through their trauma.

As part of a radically collaborative filmmaking process with Greene, the men — Joe Eldred, Mike Foreman, Ed Gavagan, Dan Laurine, Michael Sandridge, and Tom Viviano — create fictional scenes based on memories, dreams, and experiences, exploring the church rituals, culture, and hierarchies that enabled silence around their abuse. In the face of a failed legal system, these men reclaim the spaces that allowed their assault, revealing the possibility for catharsis and redemption through a newfound fraternity. The film is followed by what’s sure to be a compelling Q&A.

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With director Robert Greene, Contemporary Cinema Award honoree, and “Procession’s” subjects/co-creators.

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