HNY from SLO Film Fest! Last chance for pass discounts, plus a new video & new venue!

Happy New Year from all of us at the SLO Film Fest! We hope you’ve been enjoying your holidays and have seen lots of good movies too. We’re busy watching a record number of submissions to our three film competitions, and are working on a pretty awesome program for our 25th Anniversary Festival! Details will be unveiled in the coming months.

You have until midnight on Monday to order your festival passes at a discount so get on it if you haven’t already! From March 12 to 17, we’ll be screening movies on nine theatre screens in downtown SLO, plus a few more in neighboring towns, including the Park Cinemas in Paso Robles and the Bay Theatre in Morro Bay. For info and to order passes, click here!

We’re also very excited to add a brand new movie venue near the airport – SLO Brew’s ROCK! They have a beautiful state-of-the-art concert/movie venue right next to the bar/restaurant that will become a busy festival theatre for several days during the upcoming festival. It’s an all-ages venue, with a fully stocked bar, 20 ft. screen, incredible acoustics and up to 220 seats! Oh, and then there’s the wide selection of craft beers, delicious food and comfortable outdoor patio. We’re excited to add this cool new venue and thank the owners and management for their support of the SLO Film Fest!

Lastly, I wanted to unveil another new video short that highlights the many talented Hollywood legends who have been honored with our annual King Vidor Award over the past 24 years, and the impressions they’ve made on some community members. Please take a couple of minutes to check it out!

Best wishes from the SLO Film Fest board and staff for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019! Looking forward to seeing you at the festival!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

SLO Film Fest celebrates its popular Surf Nite in a new video

We are excited to share the second in a series of short videos that celebrate highlights of our past 24 years of Film, Wine and Fun on the Cinematic Central Coast!

Enjoy some Surf Nite memories and get ready for another epic one at the 25th Anniversary SLO Film Fest! Details about that event and many more will be announced in early 2019.

And don’t forget that Festival Passes are discounted until December 31st, so if you’re still procrastinating, now’s your chance to JUST DO IT! Click here for details and to order.

Happy Holidays – see you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director


SLO Film Fest unveils the first in a series of 25th Anniversary tribute videos!

Thanks to the many loyal volunteers and sponsors who participated in a series of short videos that we are excited to start sharing with you now! They highlight the FILM, WINE & FUN that’s been enjoyed over the past 24 years at the SLO Film Fest, as we look forward to our 25th Anniversary festival, happening March 12-17, 2019.

Hope you enjoy the first in a series to be shared over the next few weeks! Thank you to Grace Tucker, Carlos Plummer and Skye McLennan for putting together a lasting legacy of illustrated stories for us all to cherish for years to come!

Quick reminder that 2019 festival passes are still discounted for another 19 days! They make great gifts too! To buy a pass now, click here!

Happy Holidays – see you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest

SLO Film Fest is still looking for some great youth-made films!

Our deadline for adult-made films has come and gone, but we are still accepting films made by young filmmakers, high school age and younger. Films under 10 minutes from all over the world can now be submitted on Film Freeway or directly to us until January 11, 2019.

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

If you know a young filmmaker, please pass this along. Selected movies will be screened on March 16 during the SLO Film Fest, at the Downtown Center Cinemas in San Luis Obispo. All films will vie for cash awards too! And here’s the best thing…there is no entry fee!

Filmmakers must be 18 or younger and they MUST be the primary filmmakers too! (sorry mom and dad…it’s not that we don’t think you’re very talented too…)

We are looking for good films by elementary, middle and high school students. To find out more about the Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase, click here!

There’s still a whole month to make a great movie so get those creative juices flowing! Looking forward to seeing your films soon!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

SLO Film Fest 2018… still setting records!


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