How to “Fest” at the SLO Film Fest? Here are a few tips…

Two Balloons (Narrative Short category)

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the huge choice of movies, special events, parties and panels that begin a week from now, don’t worry. You’re not alone!

The SLO Film Fest is a mind-boggling  smorgasbord of movies for all tastes. There really is something for everyone – but how do you figure out what to see and when?

That’s when the fun begins! Start by figuring out which days you have to devote to festival-going, and perhaps what kind of festival pass you have. Passes are definitely recommended if you’re serious about seeing movies, but keep in mind that you’ll have to wait in a few lines even with a pass…that’s just the way film festivals work.

And you’ll have to be ready to change your plan quickly if the screening you’re going to fills up with excited festival-goers who managed to get there before you! It happens! There are only so many seats in each theatre and pass holders will be given priority seating up to 15 minutes before each screening begins. So try not to waltz in 3 minutes before the screening time and expect to get a seat because you’ll probably be disappointed.

We have staggered the start times so that if this happens, you can sashay right over to another nearby theatre and see something else!

Special event tickets are available in advance but most regular screenings are not sold in advance so we can be sure to accommodate pass holders. Tickets will be sold if available 15 minutes before each screening at the box offices.

Once you have figured out your time and possibly your pass constraints, you’ll have to get serious about making some choices. A lot of experienced festival goers like to get out the print guide (available at our HQ and sponsoring venues all over the county) and circle all the films that look like good possibilities. You can also peruse everything online and even print the day by day schedule!

We have provided descriptions, trailers and in some cases, websites so that you can do some research if you have time. Or you can just read the title, look at the photo and decide if it looks like something you’d like! Or just let your partner decide if they’re the control freak in your relationship. Then if you don’t like the movie, at least you won’t have to take the blame!

You will also see notes on which filmmakers and special guests will be attending when you read about the films, and updates will be sent out next week.

We’ve organized movies by date, by category and by genre so there are a few different ways to search. We’ve also posted our “print guide” online so you can download it and read that version page by page. If you look under SCHEDULE you’ll also see Special Events and Shorts Programs you will want to consider.

Any changes to the Festival Schedule will be posted on our home page so do take a look each day to be sure.

For example, we have just changed the plan for the Saturday morning panel. It was going to be about extreme cinematography but due to filmmaker availability, it will now focus on PR and Distribution, a fascinating topic that often makes or breaks a film’s success. Festival publicist John Wildman will moderate and panelists will be announced soon.

We are also adding a new special guest to the last film in the FACING FASCISM program. Lisa Snow is coming to speak at a Q&A after THE BRAINWASHING OF MY DAD. She is the author of Mind, Media and Madness, and worked closely with director Jen Senko during the making of this film. Thank you to The Coastal Awakening creator and our festival sponsor, Bob Shanbrom, for coming up with the idea for this provocative and timely series of films and speakers, all scheduled for Wednesday, March 13 at the Palm Theatre:

GABRIEL OVER THE WHITEHOUSE  1:00pm
MISHIMA: A LIFE IN FOUR CHAPTERS  3:00pm
THE BRAINWASHING OF MY DAD plus TRUMP BITES  7:00pm


Happy 30th Anniversary to the Palm Theatre, Jim Dee and his incredible staff! Thanks for being a loyal Festival venue since the very beginning!

See you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director