SLO Film Fest Announces Opening Night Event & Party

We are very excited to finally announce this re-scheduled event! Thanks for your patience as we worked with Katharine Ross and the Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra who were all affected by the devastating fires in that area in November. We are delighted that they are able to be here to kick off our 25th Anniversary Festival in style!

Katharine Ross will perform with The Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra to recount the exciting true story of “Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express,” accompanied by the orchestra, prior to participating in a discussion on film and her award-winning career, and introducing a special 50th Anniversary screening of the 1969 classic, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID.

An Evening with Katharine Ross will take place on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at the Fremont Theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo. It is presented by BHE Renewables, and sponsored by Justin Vineyards & Winery, New Times, Luna Red, The Krush 92.5, KJUG 98.1, KVEC News Talk 920am.

The Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra wowed audiences in November 2014 at the SLO Masonic Lodge.

The acclaimed five-piece Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra will accompany Ross as she recounts the true story from Margaret K Wetterer’s “Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express,” of Kate Shelley, a fifteen-year-old Iowa teenager who helped avert a train disaster in 1881 and went on to become a national heroine. Based on Mary Kay Shanley’s spoken short story, it was originally written for the Wonder of Words Festival in Des Moines, Iowa. This new version will feature Ross as the story-teller and composer Maria Newman’s original music. The performance will be the orchestra’s fourth visit to San Luis Obispo after impressing audiences at past Festival fundraising events, including Daddy Long Legs and last year’s Silent Shorts event at the Madonna Inn.

After a short intermission, Ross will join composer Maria Newman and Festival Director Wendy Eidson on the Fremont Theatre stage for a conversation about her career and her role in BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID, prior to a screening of the digitally restored version of the “Best Picture” Oscar winner that is still considered one of the best Westerns of all time. This timeless classic stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford as the true-life outlaws in the early 1900’s, and Katharine Ross as the lovely free spirit whose charm bewitched the outlaws…as well as audiences then and now.

Movie Mogul pass holders and Party ticket holders will also have an opportunity to meet Katharine Ross at an Opening Night reception before the event at Luna Red, located next to the Mission in downtown San Luis Obispo. Luna Red will serve appetizers, wine, and beer, with live music indoors and on the patio (weather permitting) from 5:00-6:30PM. The performance and movie event begins at 7:00PM.

Tickets are available for the party and movie event for $50, as well as individual movie event tickets for $25 ($15 for students). Movie Mogul passes will be accepted for both the party and movie events. Tickets are on sale now at slofilmfest.org.


Katharine Ross is an acclaimed, award-winning American film and stage actress who is renowned for her performances in two of the most popular films of the late 1960’s. Ross was cemented forever in the hearts and minds of film fans and from her iconic role of “Elaine Robinson” in Mike Nichols’ groundbreaking film, THE GRADUATE (1967)for which she won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for an Academy Award. Ross also made a significant mark as “Etta Place” in George Roy Hill’s BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969)for which she won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress. Additional signature films include; Bryan Forbes’ THE STEPFORD WIVES (1975), Stuart Rosenberg’s VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED (1976), for which she won a second Golden Globe award, and Richard Kelly’s cult classic DONNIE DARKO (2001).

In 1984, Katharine Ross married actor Sam Elliott. They met in London on Richard Marquand’s horror classic THE LEGACY (1978), and have worked together on several projects since that fateful meeting. They co-wrote and starred in Louis L’Amour’s CONAGHER,  co-starred in THE SHADOW RIDERS, MURDER IN TEXAS and most recently in Brett Haley’s THE HEROreleased in 2017.

Many thanks to all the generous sponsors of this event: