SLO Film Fest announces full program of Film & Events!

SLOTBID_Logo-300x300The 23rd Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival is proud to announce its full film schedule, online now at Scheduled for March 14-19, 2017, SLO Film Fest will be headquartered in downtown San Luis Obispo, with screenings also planned for Paso Robles as well as at an exciting new venue; the Octagon Barn in southern San Luis Obispo.

Taste logoA VIP Festival Tent, sponsored by the City of San Luis Obispo, will be the Festival hub for filmmakers, sponsors and media. It will be conveniently located a block from the Festival headquarters and next to two screening venues. Each afternoon and evening, Cocktail and After-Party Mixers in the tent will feature local wines, food and live music, as well as Breakfast Mixers and Panels during the weekend. SLO restaurant Taste! will provide food in the tent daily.
The SLO Film Fest opens on Tuesday, March 14th with a unique Mardi Gras-themed Opening Night. The evening will kick off at 5:30pm with a cocktail party sponsored by Taste Buds, featuring twenty-five Central Coast restaurants, wineries and breweries, with the party in both the Fremont Theatre and in the commandersexterior_2Festival Tent. Music will be provided by the popular band, Café Musique who will play on the Fremont Theatre stage.

 At 7:00pm, the opening night film, Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table, will be introduced by actor French Stewart, who will chat with director Leslie Iwerks and Ella Brennan’s son and daughter, Ti Martin and Alex Brennan, award-winning restaurateurs of Commander’s Palace.
 (Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)

(Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)


On Wednesday, the Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase takes center stage with films from Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties on the seven Festival screens at various venues in downtown San Luis Obispo. At the Fremont Theatre, a Tribute to Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, will feature an interview with Variety editor Jenelle Riley and Todd Fisher, after a screening of Bright Lights, the new documentary about his sister and mother.
Across town at the newly renovated Octagon Barn, there will be a Shorts Program that features films about the environment, activism and rural life. Regular screenings of George Sidney Independent Films will also begin on Wednesday afternoon.
Thursday films begin at 10:00am at all San Luis Obispo venues, with a wide variety of “Official Selections,” foreign and domestic films that will play twice during the Festival. Filmmakers and special guests will be in attendance at many screenings, with last minute announcements to be made before and during the Festival.
beer_1280x642At 7:00pm, Central Coast craft breweries will be in the spotlight at the Fremont Theatre, with a beer tasting followed by a beer movie: CRAFT: A California Beer Documentary. Local brew masters from several well-known breweries will be on hand for the tasting and a Q&A after the movie, hosted by Jeff & Jeremy of KZOZ.
octagon-barnAt the Octagon Barn, the tribute to Debbie Reynolds will continue with a screening of The Unsinkable Molly Brown, followed by live music from Molly’s Revenge, and an old-fashioned barn dance. There will be appetizers, local wines and beers too. The two barn events are fundraisers for The Land Conservancy.
The VIP Festival tent will be open to the general public for Thursday night only, to mingle with visiting filmmakers and local magician Rich Ferguson before a tent screening of Magicians: Life in the Impossible.
winelifeFriday is a busy day of screenings and Q&A’s at the Palm, Downtown, Mission and Fremont Theatres. In addition, the Park Cinemas in Paso Robles will host The Wine Life at 7:00pm, in a 3-part event that evening that includes a ‘Zinposium’ and after-party at the Paso Robles Ballroom, presented by Paso Robles Wine Country.
The 12th Annual Surf Nite in SLO takes over the Fremont Theatre at 7:00pm, with details about this ever-popular event to be announced in late February. A band from Los Angeles, Second Sight, made up of Hollywood studio executives, will play after the Surf Nite movie at the Fremont Theatre as part of the event.
Saturday starts with coffee and muffins in the Festival Tent and a series of Behind-the-Scenes panels that include one focusing on Women in Film, and an open discussion with Hollywood studio executives about the state of filmmaking in Hollywood currently.
downthefence-brandonFilm screenings begin at 10:00am at all Festival venues, and highlights include a World Premiere of Down the Fence, a documentary about horse trainers; Equal Means Equal, another documentary about equal rights; and the animated Golden Globe and Oscar-nominated, My Life as a Zucchini. The Bay Theatre in Morro Bay will feature a Surf Film double-feature in the morning, and two skateboard films in the afternoon.
On Saturday evening, the SLO Film Fest will award Academy Award nominee Josh Brolin with the prestigious King Vidor Award for Excellence in Filmmaking. Academy Award-winner Jeff Bridges, who received the King Vidor Award in 2014, will present the award to his friend and colleague at the historic Fremont Theatre in Downtown San Luis Obispo. After the presentation, Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz will sit down with Brolin for a casual conversation about his career and upcoming projects.
Before the King Vidor Award ceremony, sponsored by BHE Renewables, there will be a presentation of George Sidney Independent Film Awards to winning filmmakers. At the end of the evening, No Country for Old Men will play in the Fremont Theatre while some attend an awards after-party at the SLO Masonic Lodge in downtown San Luis Obispo.
Filmmakers of Tomorrow (39 of 58)Sunday will be a full day of second screenings of many festival films.  Youth films will be featured at Mission Cinemas at 1:00pm during the Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase. A number of young filmmakers are traveling across the country to attend their movie screenings. Local youth films will also be screened and all are eligible for cash prizes that will be awarded later that day at the Fremont Theatre.
leonard-at-the-mikeSunday’s Closing Night will include a presentation of Audience and Central Coast Filmmaker Awards. Film critic Leonard Maltin will host a discussion with a visiting film composer (TBA) and local resident, and Hollywood conductor/musician, Michael Nowak before a screening of the closing night film, Score, a new documentary about movie music and the composers.
All special event tickets are on sale now. The complete festival schedule and film lineup is available at
See you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director