The SLO Film Fest is over but the memories will linger…

Josh Brolin proudly displays his King Vidor Award

“So much fun!” That’s what I kept hearing throughout the 6 days of Film, Wine, and Fun at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.

Fun meant seeing great films that made you laugh, cry, think, and feel inspired. Fun meant seeing old friends as you walked through town and stood in lines hoping to get in to the movie you wanted to see. Fun meant sipping on first-class wines from around the county in our Festival Tent, and nibbling on delectable appetizers provided by the amazing Taste!

Todd Fisher and Catherine Hickland talk to Jenelle Riley

Fun also meant meeting and snapping selfies with celebrities Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges, Ben Mankiewicz, Leonard Maltin and a whole host of incredible filmmakers, athletes and special guests visiting the festival from around the state, country and world.

Fun for me was seeing everyone having fun!

Audience Award winner for Best Documentary – “Down the Fence”

Thanks to all for your support of the festival, from sponsors to volunteers to filmmakers, movie-goers and all the vendors who gave us screaming deals on things to help us stay within our budget. We have an amazing community and I couldn’t be more proud!

See you at the movies (after I sleep for about a week 😉

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director


Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the SLO Film Fest!

Three fun days have come and gone, with three epic days still ahead! We’ve had two wonderful tributes to Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher, and one of them was covered by Jenelle Riley in Variety! Read article.

Still ahead: Great films playing Friday, Saturday and Sunday all over San Luis Obispo. Check our Schedule for day-by-day listing.

Surf Nite in SLO is tonight – we’ll be pre-selling a few more tickets today and then will sell the rest at the door shortly before 7pm. Ticket holders, full access pass holders and red carpet ticket holders will be seated first.

Tickets are still available for the Indie Film & King Vidor Award event tomorrow night. Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges, Ben Mankiewicz and James Brolin will be arriving at the Fremont Theatre tomorrow before the event begins at 7pm.

On Sunday we have more great films, as well as the Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase, A Look Back at Avila Beach History, Hearing is Believing & Concert AND our Closing Night with Leonard Maltin and the movie SCORE!

And if you want to know more about the making of movies, do not miss our Behind-the-Scenes Panels happening on both Saturday and Sunday mornings in the Festival Tent. They are free to the public, and coffee and muffins courtesy of Blackhorse Espresso and Bakery.

See you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

SLO Film Fest starts today and has something for everyone!!

Tonight’s Opening Night and we kick off with a Mardi Gras style party that y’all have never seen the likes of! And that’s just the beginning as we then head into a busy five days of Film, Wine, Beer and Fun!

And there’s truly something for everyone! Do you love dogs? Then don’t miss the  World Premiere of THE BUDDY SYSTEM with an adorable specially- trained Golden Retriever in attendance (if they can get out of the East Coast storm in time!) We also have a short film at Surf Nite in SLO about surfing dogs…20 cute pups of all sizes on one surf board!!

If you like documentaries about history and politics, we’ve got that covered too. Check out BREAKING POINT: The War for Democracy in Ukraine, and FINDING OSCAR.

(Photo by Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images)

How about fun stories about old Hollywood? Don’t miss our Tribute to Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher tomorrow night at the Fremont Theatre. Todd Fisher is bringing along some costumes from “Singin’ in the Rain” too! How cool is that? There’s also THE LOST CITY OF CECIL B. DEMILLE and JOHN AVILDSEN: King of the Underdogs playing throughout the festival, as well as THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN at the Octagon Barn on Thursday night. There are still tickets available to that fun event!

Have a special interest in LGBT issues? Look no further. Check out THE FREEDOM TO MARRY, HAPPY, PUSHING DEAD, SIGNATURE MOVE, SWIM and JOANNIE: QUEEN OF THE PARADIDDLE.

I could go on….but gotta run! It’s Opening Night and there are still a thousand and one details to take care of before 5:30!

See you at the Festival! Laissez bonne temps roulez!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director


If you’ve picked up a New Times this week, you’ve already seen the wonderful stories about Josh Brolin, by Glen Starkey, and Todd Fisher and his family, by Ryah Cooley. There is also a great story about Josh Brolin in this week’s Ticket, by Sarah Linn!

Two very different men, but united by some pretty striking similarities. Both are lovers and part-time residents of the Central Coast (and North County ranches); both grew up in “the business” with famous parents, and both are surprisingly down-to-earth, friendly and generous. The SLO Film Fest is grateful for the opportunity to have them both in attendance this year, and tickets are on sale now for three events where one or both can be found.

Wednesday, March 15 – Todd Fisher will sit down with Variety editor, Jenelle Riley before a screening of BRIGHT LIGHTS. Click here for more information and for tickets.

Thursday, March 16 – Todd Fisher will bring a few costumes from THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN to the Octagon Barn for the dinner, movie, barn dance event that night. More details and tickets.

Saturday, March 18 – Josh Brolin will be honored with the 23rd annual King Vidor Award, presented by friend and colleague, Jeff Bridges. More details and tickets.

In an attempt to make our mind-boggling schedule a little easier to deal with, I asked Festival Board members to send me their ideal schedule if they had all day and night to “fest”. Admittedly, the board has not seen ALL the movies, but they are happy to share some suggestions based on what they’ve seen and heard.

Long-time board member, Susan Minker, sent her picks and pix, so here you have it! (tomorrow we’ll let you know what the lady in the mirror thought of her choices…:)

tues: opening night movie and party
wed: 5 pm: CC filmmakers nine lives etc (downtown cinema)
7 pm: tribute to debbie reynolds etc
thurs: 1 pm: fereshteh
4 pm: sid & marge etc.
7 pm: magicians
fri:    10 am: my mother’s wound
1 pm: shorts 2 etc (palm) (See Friday schedule)
4 pm: rebels on pointe
7 pm: perfect day and diani & devine
sat: 10 am: my life as a zucchini
1 pm: washed away etc. (downtown)
3:30 pm: down the fence
7 pm: king vidor
sun: 10 am: shorts 5 (see Sunday schedule)
1 pm: vici etc. (palm)
3 pm: hearing is believing
5:30 score; closing night awards and party

See you at the movies (next week!!)
Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

SLO Film Fest celebrates Int’l Women’s Day with movies and panels!

We are proud of the great lineup of films and panels at this year’s SLO Film Fest that celebrate women in diverse ways. Highlighting inspiring and talented role models, strong protagonists and just all-round cool chicks, check out this must-see selection in this year’s program:

Equal Means Equal
Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table
A Tribute to Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher
Kick Ass Katie Lee
The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Joanie: Queen of the Paradiddle
Signature Move
Hearing is Believing
Big Sonia
The Buddy System

Nadia Comaneci: The Gymnast & the Dictator
Take My Nose….Please!
Women In Film Panel
Fereshteh, Daughter of Ahmad
Heavens Floor
My Mother’s Wound
Girl Meets Roach
The Whole World
Free to Laugh
Unslut: A Documentary Film
Finding Home, For Now
Shining Brightly: Haley Comes Home

Bamboozled by all the choices in our festival? We do have a lot of amazing films playing in a very short time, so how do you decide what to see? I’ve asked our board members to make some “insider” suggestions. They may not have seen all the films yet, but they made some choices based on what they’ve heard so far, and what they would choose if they could “fest” 24/7.

Many of you regular festival goers know Denise Dudley. She practically lives at the theatre she hosts during the entire festival. This year she will be at the Downtown Cinemas again, with another loyal volunteer host, BK Richard, and she’ll be welcoming festival goers and filmmakers with big smiles and open arms. I asked her what she would pick if she could watch movies all day and night instead of greeting, MCing and picking up spilled popcorn between shows!

Hello from Denise Dudley, SLO Film Fest Board Member and Venue Coordinator for the Downtown Cinemas! Once again, we have a great festival lined up for this year. Here are some of my favorite (and a few less-than-obvious) screening picks:

Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase (It’s always fun to witness the pure, unbridled creativity of young filmmakers of all ages!)
Central Coast Filmmakers Showcase (Come see what our local filmmakers are doing—we definitely have some talented people in our community. In particular, don’t miss the screenings on Wednesday night at the Downtown Cinemas, 7pm.)
The Whole World (The filmmaker will be here from Madrid, Spain, for both screenings.)
The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Barn Dance at the Octagon Barn (Can you imagine a more fun evening?)
Joani: Queen of the Paradiddle (And who wouldn’t want to hang out with a bunch of fun lovin’ lesbian grandmas?)
Sea Gypsies: The Far Side of the World (I now want my son to become a Sea Gypsy.)
Rebels on Pointe (Because I happen to love the Trocs!)

See you at the festival! 

4 Unique Surf Films coming to SLO Film Fest soon!

15418465_10154986457249170_321172442211366447_oThe 12th Annual Surf Nite in SLO promises to be another epic one when Irish surfers Tom Doidge-Harrison and Ollie O’Flaherty arrive in San Luis Obispo for the North American Premiere of Between Land and Sea on Friday, March 17th. That just happens to be St. Patrick’s Day and the perfect excuse for a Surf Nite bash for the ages! The event will begin with Adam Montiel from Coast 104.5 and a great short film called Chandler’s Ark, about a record number of surfing dogs who ‘hang 20’! You have to see it to believe it! More about Surf Nite.

second-sight-bandA concert on the Fremont Theatre stage will follow the movie, when Hollywood studio execs grab their instruments and play some great rock classics, while the party continues in the lobby and theatre. Tickets are only $20 for the movie night and concert, and there’ll be a no-host bar in the lobby. Click here for tickets.

Thanks to The SLO Collection, SLO Wine, SLO Brew and the City of Pismo Beach, Apple Farm, Cliffs Resort, Sycamore Mineral Springs, Sea Venture Resort, Quality Suites of SLO, and Coast 104.5 for their support of this event that is now a SLO Film Fest tradition!

northcoast-surfers-copyThe next morning, on Saturday, March 18th, head to Morro Bay for two more must-see surf movies at the Bay Theatre at 10am. Great Highway, sponsored by the Madonna Inn, traces the history of surfing in the San Francisco/Santa Cruz area. The stories are told by those who lived it, from the 1940’s lifeguards to the ‘groms’ surfing the chilly northern California waves today.

resurface_owen_bissell_1Before that, the short film Resurface focuses on the healing power of surfing, and how it is being used to help military veterans dealing with the mental and physical symptoms of PTSD. This film, that includes local surfing instructor Van Curaza, focuses on organizations that are helping veterans suffering from trauma gain a new lease on life through the therapeutic benefits of surfing. Both play together starting at 10am and tickets are only $12 ($10 for students.) Tickets are available at the door that morning, and all festival passes will be accepted.

See you at the Festival! For lots more information, the full schedule and tickets for all special events, go to!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director