The organizers of the 20th annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF) are delighted to report that attendance and income increased to record numbers this year. The annual cultural event, presented March 5-9 this year, has been steadily growing in popularity and reputation. The Festival has just been named as one of the “50 Film Festivals Most Worth the Entry Fee” in the Spring 2014 issue of the influential MovieMaker Magazine.
Overall admissions increased to 8500, 12.5% over last year and ticket/pass sales were up 35% over last year. SLO County residents came out in record numbers and the critical response has been extremely positive.
“Everywhere I go, people stop me to tell me how much they appreciate the festival and that they loved every film they saw,” said Artistic/Marketing Director, Wendy Eidson. Filmmakers who visited the county are equally complimentary, many saying they can’t wait to come back. Every filmmaker surveyed said they would recommend the SLOIFF to their fellow filmmakers.
The economic impact of the Festival on the county is growing as well. A post-fest survey revealed that 80% of those who purchased Festival passes or tickets this year ate two or more meals in local restaurants during the event, and if they came from outside the area, on average they stayed two nights in local hotels. Film-goers also shopped between seeing movies, with 30% estimating they spent between $50 and $500 in San Luis Obispo County stores.
Festival-goers also indicated that they took advantage of other local attractions while attending the 2014 event, including hiking, kayaking, surfing, golfing, walking the beaches, and of course wine tasting.
Online sales also increased and the number of out-of-county orders increased 90% over last year. This can be partly attributed to the popular “Surf Nite in SLO” event which featured a nostalgic film and the Southern California band, Honk, who played live with several of the movie’s sequences. The King Vidor Award recipient, Jeff Bridges and Spotlight Award recipient, Adam West, also drew a fan base that attributed to three almost sold-out nights at the 850-seat Fremont Theatre. The festival has been trying to increase its marketing outreach to Southern California and MovieMaker Magazine called it “one of the best film events in the country” in its Summer 2013 issue.
The SLOIFF is extremely proud to be now listed on the “50 Film Festivals Most Worth the Entry Fee” and organizers expect that will greatly increase 2015 film submissions from filmmakers around the world. “We pay a lot of attention to that list, since there are literally thousands of festivals we can submit to. Being on that list gives a festival a lot of credibility,” said director/actress, Catherine Dent who was recently at the SLOIFF with her short film, “Silk”.
The mid-year “SLO County on the Silver Screen” series gave the festival a boost in revenue and publicity as well. From August 2013 to February 2014, Hollywood movies filmed in San Luis Obispo County were screened in venues close to where the films were shot, and audiences enjoyed seeing familiar sights and some shared stories of their involvement in the filmmaking process.
Plans are already underway for the 2015 SLOIFF and the Festival looks forward to continued growth. The 2015 Festival is planned for March 11-15. Sponsor inquiries are welcome and the festival will be accepting new film submissions in June.
Click here for photo highlights of the 2014 Festival.