Surf Nite in SLO to Feature the Biggest Year for Big Wave Surfing


Brent Storm’s award-winning WHITE RHINO will be the focus the festival’s most popular event, on Friday, March 20, with big wave surfer Dave Wassel traveling from Hawaii for the event. Surf photographer Brian Bielmann, director Brent Storm and producer Randy Olson will also be in attendance. Surf Nite will open with Santa Barbara filmmaker Heather Hudson’s new short documentary that about female surfing pioneer, Marge Calhoun. 93 – LETTERS FROM MARGE will be introduced by her friend and surf legend, Linda Benson.

Surf Nite in SLO is presented by Surfing for Hope Foundation and the City of Pismo Beach. Surfing for Hope is a non-profit organization in Pismo Beach created to help inspire people challenged by cancer through the positive energy of surfing. The event is also sponsored by Cliffs Hotel and Spa, Sea Venture, Sycamore Mineral Spring Resort, Apple Farm, Coast 104.5, and Quality Suites San Luis Obispo.

Canadian Filmmaker Brent Storm’s latest release, WHITE RHINO, is a parallel story from the surfers and photographers who witnessed three historic swells that hit the shorelines of the South Pacific in 2011-2012. Photographer Brian Bielmann takes the audience on an edge of your seat adventure as we discover the stories behind some of his most iconic photos and what really transpired on those memorable days.

WHITE RHINO features notable big wave riders Nathan Fletcher, Dave Wassel, Bruce Irons, Mark Healey, Kohl Christensen and Kalani Chapman. It also features cinematography from some of the best surf filmmakers, including SLO Film Fest Surf Nite alum, Tim Bonython (The Big Wave Project.)

In 93: LETTERS FROM MARGE, Heather Hudson pays tribute to surfing pioneer Marge Calhoun, sharing memories from handwritten letters to a friend before her death in 2017 at the age of 93 in Morro Bay, CA. Chronicling an independent life that most people know little about, Marge won contests, shared waves and held her own with many of the sport’s legends in the early days of surfing. She won the 1958 Makaha International Championships and continued to travel, surf and compete. She judged, organized competitors on the beach and worked closely with Hoppy Swartz and others to form the U.S. Surfing Association. Later, she moved to Morro Bay and loved watching the waves from her home in the hills above the ocean.

SURF NITE IN SLO – Presented by Surfing for Hope and City of Pismo Beach
Friday, March 20 – 7:00pm Fremont Theatre

93: LETTERS FROM MARGE (30 min) with special guests Linda Benson and Heather Hudson

WHITE RHINO (64 min) with special guests Dave Wassel, Brian Bielmann, Brent Storm and Randy Olson

After-party at the Festival Lounge in Hotel SLO, 877 Palm St. SLO (open to Movie Mogul and All-Access Pass holders only)

$20 General
$15 Students & SLO Film Society
(Mogul passes, Red Carpet Tickets accepted)


Newbie Passes Now on Sale!

Never been to the SLO Film Fest? This is the perfect pass to try it out! The Newbie Pass can be used by one person for four regular screenings, four people for one screening, or any combination of up to 4 uses. This pass can only be used for “regular” screenings at SLO Brew’s Rock or the Fremont Theatre. This year there are 30% more screenings at those venues, for the same price as last year – only $40!

Last year was our first year at SLO Brew Rock, quickly becoming one of the hottest venues in town. The Rock features fantastic food on site, a full bar, and a new distillery, Rod & Hammer’s SLO Stills where you can taste spirits cut with Pacific Ocean!


Now Taking Volunteer Applications!

Our volunteers are the core of making our festival a success. We are always looking for new volunteers that can help with anything, from ticket taking, to working venues, to parties and galas, and more! Visit our volunteer page to get started!

Make sure to secure your Surf Nite tickets soon! We can’t wait to announce the rest of our program!

See you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson & Skye McLennan
SLO Film Fest Director & Associate Director

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