SLO Film Fest Again Named One of The 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee

MovieMaker Magazine announced today its coveted “50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” and the SLO Film Fest was added to the list for the 6th time in 7 years.

“SLO was one of the very first film festivals to go online, a story you can read about here. It deserves a lot of credit for putting safety first and cancelling its live component early, out of the abundance of caution that soon became the norm. And it earned praise for a quickly assembled online program that balanced anti-piracy concerns with its goal of supporting filmmakers. We can’t wait for it to be able to resume.” (MovieMaker Magazine, April 28/20)

We also recently sat down with MovieMaker Magazine to discuss “Online Film Festival Dos and Don’ts” with festival friends Melanie Addington of the Oxford Film Festival, and Michael Cain of EarthxFilmListen to the full discussion here.


It’s very unusual for a film to win both the juried and audience award at our Festival, and back in 2011 those awards were presented on the same evening too. We festival organizers were feeling very excited about this big winner not just because it was a great movie but also because the director, Gabriela Cowperthwaite was attending the festival that weekend as well! We anticipated her great surprise and inevitable touching acceptance speeches when the awards were presented. 

But the surprise was on us! The humble, first-time director had skipped the award ceremony to enjoy a nice dinner in SLO, thinking there was no way her film would win anything. Fortunately, our intrepid team led by Nancy Ross Joynt managed to find her as she finished her meal and she arrived late (and very happily surprised) at the Awards Night After-party at the Monday Club. We celebrated her victory with bubbly along with that year’s King Vidor Award recipient, Greg Kinnear.

Gabriela went on to fame a couple of years later when she released her 2013 controversial documentary BLACKFISH, which focused on the captivity and cruel treatment of orca whales at SeaWorld. This was truly a movie that mattered, and it was instrumental in changing policy and awareness about this issue around the world. It was nominated for a BAFTA award that year too!

Gabriela recently directed her first narrative feature, THE FRIEND, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year, starring Jason Segal, Casey Affleck and Dakota Johnson.


Thank you to our 2020 sponsors for their loyal support of the SLO Film Fest and for looking for ways to also support our community in these challenging times.Today’s Sponsor in the Spotlight is one of our 2020 Producer Sponsors, French Hospital Medical Center.

French Hospital Medical Center, has been transforming medicine on the Central Coast by investing in today’s most advanced equipment and procedures. Beyond Health is a movement to treat the mind, body, spirit, and community, creating wellness and happiness for every life we touch. They have been expanding their services, providing new medical capabilities, recruiting the best doctors, and doubling our capacity for more complex conditions. During the pandemic hospital workers and more have stepped forward to support our community. 

“We are proud and privileged to to serve our community. Every day, we are witnessing generous acts of human kindness as our community cares for one another in countless ways. It is so inspiring to know that when we get through this together, we will be stronger than ever.”
Donate to the Emergency Support Fund


We hope you’re enjoying the Best in the Fest films, please send us your feedback or let us know what your watching! You can still view past weeks Best in the Fest Films here.

Wendy, Skye and the SLO Film Fest Board and Staff


Purchased tickets for the 2020 Film Festival? We have several options for you! Please visit here to explore ticketing options.