We want your movies…and more from SLO Film Fest!

Happy summer! Hope you’re finding ways to handle heat wherever you may be!

The SLO Film Fest is excited to announce that we are now accepting new films for the 2019 Festival and we look forward to finding an exciting new program of movies and special guests in the coming months.

All details for submitting to our three competition categories can be found by clicking here. There is the George Sidney Independent Film Competition open to filmmakers all over the world, any film genre or length is acceptable. Then there’s the Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase, open to filmmakers (writer, director and/or producer) who live in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara or Monterey counties. We also have a youth-oriented category called Filmmakers of Tomorrow, and that is open to young filmmakers 18 yrs. and younger.

If you’re a movie lover who thinks you’d be a good addition to our Screening Committee, we will be looking to add new people in the fall, so please send us an email to let us know you’re interested. We look for a wide variety of people with eclectic tastes, so we’ll send you an application with some information about this volunteer position. Please send your enquiry to info@slofilmfest.org with “Screener” in the subject heading.

I’m delighted to announce that we have a new staff member and a new board member joining our team for the 2019 season!

Grace Tucker with a couple of happy “Filmmakers of Tomorrow” at the 2018 Festival.

Cal Poly grad, Grace Tucker, worked with us last year as a Festival Assistant and was quickly dubbed “Amazing Grace” by staff and volunteers. Grace was just promoted to Assistant to the Director, and former incredible Assistant Nancy Ross Joynt will be focusing on Volunteer Coordination and assisting Grace when needed. Chris Aho continues as Development Director, John Wildman as publicist and Barry Goyette will create more inspired designs and photography for our special 25th Anniversary festival. What a team!

Of course that team also includes a dedicated board of directors and we are very excited to welcome Christine Williams this year!

Christine Williams was born and raised in Chicago, Il, and moved to Pismo Beach in 2011 with her husband Bob. Christine had retired from a successful 30-year career as a health care business development executive, working at CIGNA, United HealthGroup, Medline and CVS. She particularly excelled at, and enjoyed working with, Fortune 500 companies, employer alliances and joint ventures.

A passionate supporter of the Arts, Christine has served on various Theatre Boards including the Raven Theatre located in Chicago, Solvang Theaterfest (Solvang, CA), and SLORep (formerly: SLO Little Theatre. She and Bob have been fervent supporters of the SLO Film Festival, volunteering in various roles and Bob has been thrilled to have a few of his films shown as part of the Central Coast Filmmakers’ Showcase.

An urban dweller in Chicago throughout her life, Christine has an intense and impassioned sense of community. She is excited about the opportunity to use her sales skills and love of “the hunt” to help the Film Festival raise funds for its wonderful contributions towards enhancing the culture of the San Luis Obispo area.

To find out more about all of our exemplary board of directors, click here!

Lastly, I am happy to share this fun memory of our last festival’s Women Belong in the Kitchen event which was turned into an episode for Teri Bayus’ foodie cable show, “Tastebuds.” The event brought together a wonderful mix of female Central Coast chefs, restaurant owners and wine makers, as well as the film and filmmaker that inspired the event – Joanna James and A FINE LINE. To relive the fun of that Sunday afternoon event, click here!

That’s it for now! Stay tuned for news coming soon about a few fall fundraising events you won’t want to miss.

Stay out of the heat…and I’ll see you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

Surf Nite poster has a new home at Wooly’s in Pismo Beach!

Join us for the “hanging” tonight (Wednesday, May 30) at 5pm!

We’ll toast the 2008 commemorative Surf Nite poster and its new owner, Mark Woolpert! Poster designer and Surf Nite coordinator Tim Eidson will be there, along with some long-time Surf Nite sponsors, including some City of Pismo Beach council members.

Wooly’s Beach Bar & Grill is located at 101 Pomeroy, Pismo Beach and Happy Hour is 4-7pm. Hope to see some Surf Nite devotees there!

We have a winner!! And two more tickets for “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” to give away!

Congratulations to William Pendergrass who won two tickets to Orchestra Novo’s special event by answering the question: Director Steven Spielberg collaborated with a number of women in key positions on this award-winning film. Name at least two of them. The answer was Kathleen Kennedy (producer), Melissa Mathison (writer) and/or Carol Littleton (editor.)

Experience all the mystery and fun of E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, director Steven Spielberg’s heartwarming masterpiece that has captivated audiences around the world. Film and studio conductor Michael Nowak will lead his full symphony orchestra to play John Williams’ Academy Award®-winning score with the film projected on a huge HD screen!

Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to see this great classic with Hollywood conductor Michael Nowak and his talented orchestra! Tickets are available now for this unique family-friendly event, happening Sunday, May 27th at 7pm. Click here for tickets. See promotional ad below!

 

We have two more tickets to randomly select from anyone who can answer our new trivia question. This one’s a little harder and the question is:

E.T. at first says “E.T. Home Phone.” But which character in the movie first says the classic line, “E.T. Phone Home,” which became one of the most quotable movie lines of all time?

Send your answers to info@slofilmfest.org with TICKET GIVEAWAY in the subject heading.

Good luck & see you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

Win two tickets to see “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” with live music!

 

We love to partner with other SLO County non-profits and we are doing just that this month by helping to promote a very exciting movie/music event that Orchestra Novo is presenting.

Experience all the mystery and fun of E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, director Steven Spielberg’s heartwarming masterpiece that has captivated audiences around the world. Film and studio conductor Michael Nowak will lead his full symphony orchestra to play John Williams’ Academy Award®-winning score with the film projected on a huge HD screen!

Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to see this great classic with Hollywood conductor Michael Nowak and his talented orchestra! Tickets are available now for this unique family-friendly event, happening Sunday, May 27th at 7pm. Click here for tickets. See promotional ad below!

 

This week and next we’ll give away two tickets randomly selected from anyone who can answer our trivia question. This week’s question is:

Director Steven Spielberg collaborated with a number of women in key positions on this award-winning film. Name at least two of them. 

Send your answers to info@slofilmfest.org with TICKET GIVEAWAY in the subject heading.

Good luck & see you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

SLO Film Fest updates and exciting events coming soon….

In case you missed it, today’s Tribune article by Sarah Linn echoes a recent news blast from us. READ ARTICLE

We are proud of our consistent growth and thank our community, sponsors, volunteers, filmmakers and visitors for helping us to raise the bar each year! And we hope to do it again in 2019. Please save the dates: March 12-17 and plan to take full advantage of a festival pass. 2019 Passes go on sale in mid-May.

We are also working on plans for some mid-year movie events and screenings, and fundraising has already begun for the 2019 season.

We love to partner with other SLO County non-profits and we are doing just that next month by helping to promote a very exciting movie/music event that Orchestra Novo is presenting.

Experience all the mystery and fun of E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, director Steven Spielberg’s heartwarming masterpiece that has captivated audiences around the world. Film and studio conductor Michael Nowak will lead his full symphony orchestra to play John Williams’ Academy Award®-winning score with the film projected on a huge HD screen!

Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to see this great classic with Hollywood conductor Michael Nowak and his talented orchestra! Tickets are available now for this unique family-friendly event, happening Sunday, May 27th at 7pm. Click here for tickets. See promotional ad below!

We’ll be giving away a few tickets early in May but you’ll have to brush up on your ET trivia to win. Stay tuned for details coming soon!

See you at the movies (there’s no way I’m missing that one!)

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

SLO Film Fest 2018… still setting records!

THE 2018 SLO FILM FEST ONCE AGAIN SETS SALES AND ATTENDANCE RECORDS AND IS AGAIN NAMED TO MOVIEMAKER MAGAZINE’S COVETED LIST  

The 24th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLO Film Fest) has had another successful year, beating previous records for attendance and ticket and pass sales. The annual cultural event, presented March 13-18 this year, has been steadily growing in popularity and reputation.

Just announced today, the SLO Film Fest has been included once again on the coveted “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” list published by MovieMaker Magazine. This list guides filmmakers on their submission choices and has dramatically increased the Festival’s film submissions since it was first listed four years ago. Read all about it!

2018 Festival submissions once again broke records with 1100 films submitted. 34 features and 34 short films were selected for the George Sidney Independent Film Competition, and 26 films were selected for the Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase. The Filmmakers of Tomorrow youth competition was comprised of 22 films from all over the world.

Overall ticket and pass sales increased 11% over 2017. Festival attendance increased again by 9% this year to 12,500 admissions, and festival sponsorships increased by 35% over 2017.

Out of county attendance continues steady growth with more visitors, including festival filmmakers staying longer than they used to, spending an average of 3 nights in city and county hotels. Approximately 30% of the attendees come from outside San Luis Obispo County.

SLO Provisions and other great local restaurants, wineries and breweries were on hand in the Festival Tent on Awards Night.

The Festival had a more noticeable presence in downtown San Luis Obispo this year. The Festival Hospitality Tent was located in Mission Plaza and was the hub for networking, a number of parties with live entertainment, wine tasting, food catered by local restaurant Taste!, and weekend panels.

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival opened with a large and enthusiastic crowd enjoying Shubhashish Bhutiani’s HOTEL SALVATION at the Fremont Theatre after continuing the Bollywood-themed evening under the SLO festival’s tent at the Mission steps with dancers from the Cal Poly Indian Student Association, party favors, Central Coast wine, beer and a mixture of savory Indian and American food.

Coast 104.5’s Adam Montiel hosted Surf Nite and a fun Q&A with Big Wave surfers & filmmakers.

However, that evening managed to pale in comparison to the raucous standing room only crowd that turned out for the festival’s signature “Surf Nite” also at the Fremont, featuring Tim Bonython’s latest film, THE BIG WAVE PROJECT and Ross Haines’s THE AGAVE GUN.

Other highlights included filmmaker panels featuring Spotlight Award honoree Robin Swicord, Nicholas Kazan (REVERSAL OF FORTUNE), Anthony Peckham (INVICTUS), Scott Budnick (THE HANGOVER), and others. Programming and events also highlighted women and female filmmakers, like the ironically-titled “Women Belong in the Kitchen,” where female chefs and restaurant owners competed in a “Chopped”-style competition, before the documentary A FINE LINE, about the rarity of women in commercial kitchens. LET IT SHINE, a film documenting the SLO Women’s March, and Jennifer Townsend’s CATCHING SIGHT OF THELMA & LOUISE, the 79-year-old first-time filmmaker’s in-depth look into the effects of that iconic film many years after its release, were screened among others.

Pam Grier entertained Ben Mankiewicz and the audience with amusing stories from her colorful career.

The SLO Film Fest was capped by the award presentations featuring two accomplished women in film, with Pam Grier receiving the King Vidor Award on Saturday night. She then participated in a lively conversation with Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz in which she regaled the SLO audience with stories including teaching Fellini how to make fried chicken, being thrown out of the Troubadour with John Lennon, and Quentin Tarantino stopping L.A. traffic to meet her.

The next evening, Robin Swicord received the Spotlight Award from Festival founder, Mary Harris and then spoke with Variety’sJenelle Riley about her career as a screenwriter in Hollywood.

The six day festival also included a series of films focused on the Beat Generation; a record number of films about wine, including the brand new documentary, ANDRE: THE VOICE OF WINE, with filmmaker Mark Tchelistcheff in attendance, as well as a movie event at Tolosa Winery to introduce their new Spanish wine.

 

The Festival also partnered with Cal Poly and Allan Hancock College to present a special screening of 2018 Oscar Documentary nominee, LAST MEN IN ALEPPO, with Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad in attendance for a memorable Q&A. Proceeds of more than $1400 were donated to the White Helmets, the heroic subjects of the documentary.

A record number of 143 screenings filled San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles and Morro Bay theatres with appreciative audiences, with all competition films screening three times this year. Winning films were played for four days after the Festival ended, at the Downtown Cinemas in SLO. To find out which films won awards, click here.

To watch the King Vidor Award presentation and conversation with Pam Grier, click here. Thanks to the YMCA Youth Institute filmmakers and Dan Hartzell for recording that entertaining evening for our archives!

Plans are already underway for the next SLO Film Fest, scheduled for March 12-17, 2019. Sponsor inquiries are welcome and the festival will be accepting new film submissions in July 2018. 2019 Festival Passes will go on sale in mid-May.

See you at the next one!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

Schedule of Winning Films now posted!

Congratulations to all the winners in the following competition categories. Winning film in the George Sidney, Central Coast and Audience Award categories will play this week, from Monday-Thursday at the Downtown Cinemas.

Festival passes WILL NOT be accepted, and there will not be filmmakers present. But you’ll have a chance to catch up on some of the films you might never get another opportunity to watch! All movies are $8.50 and include a medium popcorn!

2018 WINNING FILMS and SCREENING SCHEDULE
Downtown Cinemas, 888 Marsh St. San Luis Obispo

GEORGE SIDNEY INDEPENDENT FILM CATEGORY

Feature-Length Documentary: BECOMING WHO I WAS
Plays M, T, W, Th at 4pm

Feature-Length Narrative: BEAUTY MARK
Plays M, T, W, Th at 1pm

Short Narrative:  TWO STRANGERS WHO MEET FIVE TIMES
Plays M, T, W, Th at 1pm

Short Documentary:  PRINCE OF SMOKE
Plays M, T, W, Th at 4pm

Student Film: MAN ON FIRE
Plays M, T, W, Th at 7pm

CENTRAL COAST FILMMAKER CATEGORY

Feature-Length Documentary: BROKE: The Santa Barbara Oil Spill of 2015
Plays M, T, W, Th at 4pm

Short Narrative:  MAUDIE
Plays M, T, W, Th at 1pm

Short Documentary: THE BOATMAKER
Plays M, T, W, Th at 7pm

Student Film: DADDY
Plays M, T, W, Th at 7pm

AUDIENCE AWARDS

Best Documentary Feature: FIDDLIN’
Plays M, T, W, Th at 1pm

Best Narrative Feature: STREAKER
Plays M, T, W, Th at 4pm

Best Short Documentary: MY INDIANA MUSE
Plays M, T, W, Th at 1pm

Best Narrative Short: RECEPTION
Plays M, T, W, Th at 4pm

Best in the Fest: SKID ROW MARATHON
Plays M, T, W, Th at 7pm

FILMMAKERS OF TOMORROW SHOWCASE

Best Individual: Peel (High School) /// Maybe the Monster (middle school)

Best Group: Mind Trap (high school) /// The Wild Child (middle school)

Best SLO County: One Life

The Wild World We Love Award: How to Keep Wildlife Safe

Best Animated: Gourmet Stray

Best International: TIE: Jasmine Stung and Cycle, Cycle, Cycle