The eighth edition of Cinema at Citygarden – a biennial co-presentation of Cinema St. Louis (CSL) and the Gateway Foundation – invites St. Louis-area filmmakers to let their imaginations blossom by creating short works that incorporate Nature as a key element.>

This juried competition will award cash prizes – $1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place, and $500 for third place – to the top three entries. The winning shorts will then be featured as part of a program that will screen on Citygarden’s video wall starting Friday, May 26, 2023. In addition to the three cash-prize winners, other submitted works will be chosen to be part of the video-wall program, which will play on a loop from 5-10 p.m. daily and continue at Citygarden through Friday, June 30, 2023.

Deadline for entry is Friday, April 7, 2023. A three-person jury will select the three cash-prize winners; jury members will be announced on CSL’s website. The cash-prize winners and the selected additional works will be announced on Friday, May 26, 2023.

Cinema St. Louis will also screen the three winning films – as well as additional Cinema at Citygarden competition entries chosen by CSL – as part of the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, held in July 2023. Those films will then be eligible for consideration by the St. Louis International Film Festival, held Nov. 2-12, 2023.

Competition rules and a link to the FilmFreeway online submission platform are found on the CSL website:

Among the most beloved public spaces in St. Louis, Citygarden is a two-block oasis of plants and trees, water, and internationally renowned sculpture in the heart of downtown’s Gateway Mall. Opened in 2009, the garden is free and open to the public 365 days a year. It’s been a hit since the day it opened, and the garden continues to attract visitors from all over the St. Louis area, the nation, and the world with its blend of beauty and serenity, and fun. In 2011, it received one of the nation’s most prestigious honors in urban planning, the Urban Land Institute’s Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award.

The garden represents a partnership between the City of St. Louis, which owns the land, and the Gateway Foundation, which spearheaded and paid for the attraction’s development — an estimated $25 million. Each of the 25 sculptures, which are owned by the Gateway Foundation, were selected and purchased separately. The design is by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects of Charlottesville, Va.

The video wall, on which the competition works will play, is set within a limestone wall that arcs across two blocks.

For more information about Citygarden, visit For more information about Cinema St. Louis, visit

1st place - $1,500
2nd place - $1,000
3rd place - $500

The winning shorts will then be featured as part of a looped program that will screen on Citygarden’s video wall starting Friday, May 26, 2023. In addition to the three cash-prize winners, up to seven other works will be chosen to be part of the video-wall program that will screen through Sunday, June 30, 2023.

St. Louis-area filmmakers interested in participating must submit shorts that meet the following criteria:

Feature Nature as an important aspect of the work.
Run a maximum of 5 minutes (no minimum running time).
Contain no profane language or offensive imagery; if CSL and Gateway Foundation deem a work inappropriate for viewing by audiences of all ages, it will be eliminated from consideration.

Include sound (e.g., dialogue, ambient sound, effects, and/or music).
All conceivable approaches – including experimental, narrative, animated, and documentary – are acceptable. The shorts can be shot in any film or video format, in either color or black-and-white.

In addition, the following conditions apply:

Filmmakers must have secured rights to any music, words, or images used in the work.
Filmmakers will retain ownership rights to submitted works, but by submitting a short to the competition, a filmmaker grants Gateway Foundation the right to screen the work in perpetuity on Citygarden’s video wall and on Citygarden’s Web site. Submission of a short does not guarantee its use.

Filmmakers must live within a 120-mile radius of St. Louis.

All films must be submitted using FilmFreeway with a secure online screener link. No entry fee is required. Submission deadline is April 7, 2023.

Overall Rating
  • Thrilled and honored to be included in this event featuring films by regional artists, presented to a wide and diverse audience of public park users! Great communication from Brian about what was required, as well as prompt updates about when the exhibit would begin and end. Reasonable submission fees as well.

    July 2023