The 21st annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF) has had another successful year, beating last year’s record gross receipts and attendance. The annual cultural event, presented March 10-15 this year, has been steadily growing in popularity and reputation.
Overall admissions increased to almost 9000, and overall ticket sales were up 33% over last year. Out of county attendance rose by 3% over last year, and media coverage of the Festival and the Hearst Castle event was unprecedented. The SLOIFF and Friends of Hearst Castle partnered on an historic screening of CITIZEN KANE in the hilltop theatre at Hearst Castle for an intimate group of 50 people.
Thanks to Reuters, AP, UPI, NPR Public Radio and Variety, we received press attention in almost every major news outlet across the country and in a number of foreign countries as well. Every article mentioned San Luis Obispo, giving the county incredible PR worth tens of thousands of dollars.
The festival opened this year with a new feature film, THE ROAD WITHIN, attended by Brent Emery (producer), Robert Sheehan (lead actor), Gren Wells (director), Brad Gallo (producer) and Ali Hillis (actor).
The 10th annual “Surf Nite in SLO” event was once again the festival’s most popular event. The 4th annual Spotlight Award was presented that evening to Hollywood legend, John Milius, and 23 special guests came to San Luis Obispo to help pay tribute to him, including Gary Busey, William Katt, Greg MacGillivray and surfers Ian Cairns and Pete Townend. Five members of the cast of BIG WEDNESDAY were on hand to introduce that iconic surf film which was screened along with a new documentary, HOLLYWOOD DON’T SURF.
The 2015 King Vidor Award recipient Peter Bogdanovich, entertained audiences with anecdotes of his famed Hollywood career as a director/actor/producer, after the presentation of awards to winning festival films. Winning films were screened on the last day of the festival and during the following week at the Fremont Theatre.
The SLOIFF received twice as many film submissions this year, increasing entry fee income by 400%. In 2014, it was listed as one of the “50 Film Festivals Most Worth the Entry Fee” by MovieMaker Magazine.
Fall fundraising events also gave the festival a boost in revenue and publicity. From September to November 2014, three events with a “coming of age” theme raised about $30,000 and helped remind supporters about the 21st Annual Festival. Actors Josh Brolin, Dennis Christopher and Paul Dooley attended screenings of THE GOONIES and BREAKING AWAY, and the Malibu Silent Film Orchestra played live for a silent film screening at the SLO Masonic Lodge that included a reception and silent auction.
Plans are already underway for the 2016 SLOIFF and the Festival looks forward to continued growth. 2016 Festival dates will be announced in May. Sponsor inquiries are welcome and the festival will be accepting new film submissions in June 2015.