Our annual film competition continues to attract new independent films from around the world. Being one of MovieMaker Magazine’s “50 Festivals Worth The Entry Fee” for the past six years has helped make our Festival a sought-after place to be seen and we are very excited to share this year’s high-quality films with our audiences.
The competition is named for George Sidney, a renowned Hollywood director who was a champion of indie filmmaking and the Festival’s first recipient of the King Vidor Award Tribute. He lived on the Central Coast for many years and was an ardent SLO Film Fest supporter.
A panel of more than 70 screeners evaluated the hundreds of film entries and then helped make some very difficult decisions to arrive at the 46 official selections in this category. They will compete for cash prizes that will be awarded on Closing Night, Sunday, March 14 at 5:00pm PST. Audience awards in several categories will also be awarded that night, along with Central Coast, Music Video and Filmmakers of Tomorrow awards.
Documentary Features: Beth & George Gage, award-winning documentary filmmakers
DEPUTY EDITOR, BOXOFFICEPRO
Rebecca Pahle is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor who has been working in the entertainment media space for over a decade. Currently the Deputy Editor at Boxoffice Pro and co-host of the Boxoffice Podcast–where she reports on the global theatrical exhibition industry–she has previously worked at Film Journal International and MovieMaker Magazine. In addition to her freelance work (bylines can be found at Vulture, MEL Magazine, and more), she is the Vice President of Women in Exhibition, a non-profit group dedicated to uplifting women who work in the movie theater industry.
María Elena de las Carreras
LECTURER AT CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE AND UCLA
María Elena de las Carreras, a Fulbright scholar and film critic from Argentina, has a Ph.D. in Film Studies from U.C.L.A. She has been attending the Berlin Film Festival since 1986. In 2017 she co-curated the U.C.L.A. Film & Television Archive series “Recuerdos de un cine en español: Latin American cinema in Los Angeles, 1930-1930”. Since 2014 she has been conducting research and interviews for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Visual History Program. She is a regular collaborator of the Latin American Cinemateca of Los Angeles, the Cal State Norhridge Cinematheque, and the Social Impact Media Awards, documentary submissions. She has been teaching the history of documentary cinema at the Department of Cinema and Television Arts, Cal State Northridge, since 2006.
JOURNALIST AND INDIE FILM CRITIC FOR THE INDEPENDENT
Richard Propes is a longtime activist/writer from Indianapolis and the founder/publisher of TheIndependentCritic.com. A Tomatometer-approved film critic, Richard was a charter member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association and is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading disabled film journalists and voices for authentic representation in the arts. An acclaimed activist, Richard has traveled over 6,000 miles by wheelchair and received numerous awards for his work in the area of child advocacy. The Heartland International Film Festival annually presents the Richard D. Propes Social Impact Award. He’s produced two short films and is the author of “The Hallelujah Life.”
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF ASHLAND FILM FESTIVAL
Erica Thompson is the Executive Director of the Ashland Independent Film Festival in southern Oregon. Prior to moving to Ashland in 2017, she worked in education and hospitality at the Milwaukee Film Festival. Erica also serves on the board of directors of the Film Festival Alliance. When not organizing festival logistics and fundraising, she enjoys spending time in her sewing room or exploring the wilderness of the pacific northwest.
PROGRAMMER, ACQUISITIONS EXEC, PROFESSOR & PRODUCER
Logan Taylor is an Austin-based acquisitions exec, programmer, professor, and producer. She acquires content for Screen Media Ventures and has worked for numerous festivals in programming and event support including Fantastic Fest, Boston Underground Film Festival, SXSW, and Cinepocalypse. Outside of programming, Logan mentors projects at various stages of development for the Frontieres Market at Fantasia Film Festival and teaches film courses at Austin Community College. Logan is never afraid of any movie and always afraid of every spider.
CONTRIBUTING WRITER, LETTERBOXD
Jack Moulton is the Lists Editor and Community Manager for Letterboxd, the social media network for film lovers. He also contributes to the editorial team interviewing notable members of the film industry. Born and raised in England, Jack now lives with his wife and cats in Los Angeles.
EDITOR-IN-CHEIF of MOVIEMAKER MAGAZINE
Tim Molloy is the editor-in-chief and co-owner of MovieMaker Magazine, and you can read his stories daily at MovieMaker.com. He has worked previously at TheWrap, The Associated Press, and PBS’s Frontline, among other places. He went to UC Santa Barbara and spent lots of time in San Luis Obispo while covering the Michael Jackson trial for The AP.
HEAD OF DOCUMENTARIES AT LUCASFILM
RYAN SUFFERN is an Emmy-nominated producer and director, who heads the documentary division, which he co-founded, for The Kennedy/Marshall Company. Over the past decade, he and Frank Marshall have collaborated on nearly 20 documentaries, ranging in topics from music to sports to social causes, but always with an emphasis on the human interest at the heart of the story. As a director, Suffern helmed the award-winning Finding Oscar, which Steven Spielberg executive produced, as well as What the Hell Happened to Jai Alai for ESPN’s acclaimed “30 for 30” series. Suffern also directed A Final Cut For Orson, documenting the finishing of Orson Welles’s The Other Side of The Wind. Suffern has produced numerous documentary titles, including The China Hustle, Satan & Adam and the docuseries Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time. He served as an executive producer on The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash and most recently on The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart. Suffern is currently co-directing a documentary on the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as well as helping to produce a docuseries on Paul McCartney.
FILMMAKER/PHOTOGRAPHER & CAL POLY PROFESSOR
Sky Bergman is an accomplished, award-winning photographer and filmmaker. Lives Well Lived, her directorial debut will air on PBS in May 2021. A professor at Cal Poly since 1995, Sky is the former chair of the Art & Design department (2007-2013) and is currently a Professor of Photography and Video. She has two short films about intergenerational connections currently on the film festival circuit and is working on a feature-length film that is a celebration of love.
PROGRAMMER, HOT SPRINGS DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL AND MOUNTAINFILM
Robin Robinson is dedicated to independent film. She is a Programmer for the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and Mountainfilm. Previously, she’s served as a Programming Coordinator for the SCAD Savannah Film Festival and the Nashville Film Festival, where she managed the Screenwriting Competition and worked as a Senior Programmer. In addition to her programming experience, she has served as a screener, reader, and judge for numerous competitions and festivals. She received an M.F.A. in Film with a focus in screenwriting at the Watkins College of Film in 2018.
FORMER THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER JOURNALIST & FILM CRITIC
Kirk Honeycutt is a journalist, critic, teacher and author who wrote the biography “John Hughes: A Life in Film” in 2015. Two screenplays have been produced, “Final Judgment” (1992) and “Death Spa” (1989). He was a senior reporter and then chief film critic for The Hollywood Reporter for 20 years ending in 2012. Since then he established his own film reviews web site, Honeycutt’s Hollywood, which he ran for five years before turning his attention to writing books. His novel “Page One” was published last year.
Jon Eidson is a comedy writer based out of Los Angeles. While a student at UCLA, he co-created the sketch group Extremely Decent whose YouTube channel would go on to amass over 140,000 subscribers and 21+ million views. His success on YouTube would later lead to the development of a sketch show with The Lonely Island for FOX as well as a 30 minute stop-motion comedy for FX with Dan Harmon attached as an EP. He has written and produced content for Comedy Central, LOL Networks, and AwesomenessTV and currently has several animated comedies in development with major streaming networks.
Music Videos Suzanne Schonig, American General Media Glen Starkey, New Times David Hardberger, SLO Film Fest board Filmmaker Patrick Lawler, Cinematographer/Visual Effects Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase: Jody Nelson, Santa Barbara filmmaker Cindy Kitagawa, Festival programmer Wendy Eidson, Artistic Director
Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase: Grace Tucker, SLO Film Fest Festival and Industry Relations Coordinator Nancy Ross-Joynt, Former SLO Film Fest Coordinator