SLO Film Fest Day 4 and lots of fun ahead…!

The SLO Film Fest is kicking into high gear now as more filmmakers arrive in town and the weekend is almost here!

Tonight is the now legendary SURF NITE IN SLO, and we’re excited to see the regulars and the newbies at the Fremont Theatre tonight for what should be another epic evening of BIG WAVES on the BIG SCREEN with Tim Boynton’s THE BIG WAVE PROJECT!

We are hoping the weather behaves and if so, the Woody Club will be there in all their splendor. If not, bring an umbrella and a warm, waterproof outfit and be prepared to spend a little time outside as we try to move the line as quickly as we can. There will be a bar in the Fremont Theatre lobby and the concession stand will be open, so come early, get a seat and grab a drink and some popcorn and enjoy the great pre-show video and music that Surf Nite Coordinator, Tim Eidson has put together. Adam Monteil from Coast 104.5 will be there to host!

Tickets are no longer being pre-sold, but we will be selling Rush Tickets at the box office at 6:45pm so again, wear something cozy and get ready to stand in line if you don’t have a ticket. The last few years, we’ve managed to get everyone in, so stay optimistic!

There’s so much happening today, tomorrow and Sunday I can’t begin to write about all of it. Please go to SCHEDULE if you haven’t already, and take a look…and start planning your weekend accordingly!

THIS JUST IN – We have just added a great short film to CLOSING NIGHT and made it a free event to all. We know it’s Sunday evening and people don’t want to be out late, but we definitely encourage you to come and cheer on the winners in the Central Coast, Filmmakers of Tomorrow and Audience Award categories. Then Variety’s Jenelle Riley will sit down with accomplished screenwriter Robin Swicord after the presentation of the Spotlight Award, for a fascinating conversation about her career and movies, including clips from many of them.

And to close, we are going to play a short film by another Robin…Robin Chilton who is a SLO resident and has a brand new 10-minute film that screened on Wednesday evening in the Central Coast category. THIS PLACE: A Birds-Eye View of the Majestic Central Coast will take us on a jaw-dropping flight over the Central Coast and is the perfect way to close the Festival.

See you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director


SLO Film Fest Day Two, Tribune’s Best Picks and more…!

Opening Night was a “Bollywood” Hit and there are some great photos taken by our festival photographers on Facebook now. Check them out and maybe you’ll find yourself sipping on some great wine, nibbling on delicious food from Taj Palace or Taste! or getting a henna tattoo! Thanks to all our sponsors for making it a wonderful Day One!

Cast/crew of “Dirty Laundry” in front of the Festival Tent, located in Mission Plaza.

Filmmakers are pouring into town as fast as the rain! We are excited to welcome many of them tonight at screenings in three different theatres in downtown SLO, and at a Red Carpet reception at the Festival Tent, beginning at 5pm. 

Tonight it’s all about the Central Coast Filmmakers but there are also a number of films playing that are in our George Sidney Independent category, so take your pick. If a theatre fills up and you can’t see the film you were hoping to, all of the George Sidney category films are playing three times during the festival so you’ll have more chances. We’ll also be playing winning films in all categories next Monday through Thursday at the Downtown Cinemas. That schedule will be posted on Sunday evening. (passes will not be honored next week and there will not be Q&A’s with filmmakers however.)

To find out what playing this evening, just go to SCHEDULE and take a look.

Sarah Linn’s article in today’s Tribune will give you some good ideas of what to see in the next few days! Click here to read her “10 Best” picks.

See you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

SLO Film Fest – Let it Rain!!!

More rain is on the way!! In many places that would be a bit of a downer before a six-day festival begins, but here in drought-land, we celebrate rain as much as we do movies and moviemakers!

So bring it on!!! Movies and rain kind of go together anyway. Get your umbrellas ready for an incredible week of Film, Wine and Fun!

We are very excited to honor actress Pam Grier next Saturday night at the Fremont Theatre and equally excited to announce that our tribute film that night, after the awards ceremony will be the iconic JACKIE BROWN!

Quentin Tarantino’s follow-up hit after PULP FICTION, includes the all-star cast of Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Robert Forster, Brigette Fonda and Michael Keaton. Pam Grier plays a middle-aged woman who finds herself in the center of a major conflict that will either make her a profit… or cost her her life. She brilliantly outsmarts and outfoxes them all, staying true to her reputation as “the baddest one-chick hit-squad that ever hit town!”

Fortunately, she’s hitting OUR town on Saturday, March 17th and will be presented with this year’s King Vidor Award by Turner Classic Movie host, Ben Mankiewicz who will then sit down with her for a fascinating conversation. Then we’ll screen 1997’s JACKIE BROWN on the Fremont’s Big Screen.

The price of admission for all of this, plus the George Sidney Independent Film Awards to winning filmmakers in five categories, is only $20 ($15 for students and Film Society.) It’s a Red Carpet Event so Full Access passes and Red Carpet tickets only! To purchase tickets or find out more about the event and the after-party, click here.

If you’re interested in how movies get made (and who isn’t?) then you better not sleep in and miss our Behind-the-Scenes Panels that are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday mornings in the Festival Tent and at the Palm Theatre. Everything – from the challenges of shooting action footage, to screenwriting with the experts, to how Harvey Weinstein’s outing is changing things in Hollywood – will be discussed. Thanks to sponsors Martin Resorts and Blackhorse Espresso and Bakery for their support. Coffee and muffins will be available starting at 9am. Admission is free to all pass holders, and $5 for everyone else.

We are also excited about a Breakfast Screening at the Fremont Theatre on Saturday, March 17th at 10am. New this year, come and enjoy coffee and muffins from Blackhorse and a new documentary produced and narrated by 2015 King Vidor Award recipient, Jeff Bridges – LIVING IN THE FUTURE’S PAST. Director Susan Kucera will be there for a Q&A (Jeff wanted to be, but he’s in Vancouver shooting something I’m sure we’ll hear about soon!)

Looking forward to seeing you at the Festival!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

BIG THANKS TO MARTIN RESORTS and their beautiful and welcoming hotels. Martin Resorts has been a loyal Festival Sponsor for many years!

New guests & auction item announced for Surf Nite in SLO

Surf Nite is shaping up to be another epic event this year with the North American premiere of THE BIG WAVE PROJECT on the Big Screen at the Fremont Theatre. Director/Cinematographer Tim Boynthon will be here from Sydney, Australia and Big Wave Tour founder and surfboard shaper, Gary Linden will be joining us from Southern CA. Gary is featured in the short film THE AGAVE GUN, playing before the feature.

Surf Nite is presented by Visit SLO CAL / Film SLO CAL, and also sponsored by Apple Farm, City of Pismo Beach, Cliffs Resort, Coast 104.5, Quality Suites San Luis Obispo, Sea Venture Resort, and Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort.

We are delighted to also welcome Maverick’s surfers, Sarah and Mike Gerhardt. Sarah grew up on the Central Coast is very excited to return for her first Surf Nite experience.

Sarah started surfing during her freshman year of high school in Pismo Beach and four years later took her first trip to Oahu’s North Shore to begin a big wave dream. She became the first woman to paddle and tow into large surf on Oahu’s outer reefs. Surfing was a passion but her real focus was earning a BS in chemistry from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. After graduating from Cal Poly she returned to Hawaii to surf until graduate school started.  While on Oahu, Sarah married her big wave partner, Mike Gerhardt and they moved to Santa Cruz for work, surf, and graduate school. They paddled out together to Mavericks in 1998, and after watching Mike ride waves, she eventually caught waves too, becoming the first woman to surf Mavericks. Since then, Sarah completed her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry, surfed Mavericks many more times, had 2 children, completed a Post-Doc in Molecular Biology and is now a Chemistry Instructor and Cabrillo College. She lives with her family in Santa Cruz, where they enjoy board sports and volunteering with the Ride A Wave program and partnering with Save the Waves Coalition.

Mike grew up in Malibu California and has been surfing since age 7. Mike was invited to surf in the Maverick’s contest in 2005, but due to a shoulder surgery could not compete. He came out swinging the next season and survived another shoulder injury! He has been a finalist in several of the biggest long board club contests held in Santa Cruz and Pacifica. He has been on PBS, The Learning Channel, and several local news stations and in several Maverick’s videos. He is also involved in his community, as the tandem surf coordinator for the Ride A Wave (R.A.W.) foundation (, which gives mentally, physically, and financially challenged kids and adults a day on the beach and a chance to experience the joy of the ocean.

Joel Tudor, Walter Hoffman, John Peck, Peter Cole, Bruce Brown, Linda Benson, Gerry Lopez (all pictured here) and Jack McCoy, Bud Browne and Fred Van Dyke, signed the collectible poster in this year’s special Surf Nite auction.

If you haven’t got your tickets for Surf Nite yet, do not wait! And don’t miss the chance the bid on a piece of history! In 2008, Surf Nite honored filmmaking pioneer Bud Browne, who was 95 years old at the time. He was surrounded by legendary surfers who had flown in from around the world to pay their respects, and we had them all sign a poster that commemorated the event. The poster was designed by longtime Surf Nite Coordinator, Tim Eidson.

We are now putting that poster up for grabs at this year’s Surf Nite, ten years later! Starting bid will be $500 and Surf Nite host, Adam Montiel (Coast 104.5) will auction this cool piece of memorabilia before the movie begins. This year’s Surf Nite is dedicated to surf filmmaker and two-time Surf Nite guest, Bruce Brown.

To read more about Surf Nite and purchase tickets, click here!

See you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

SLO Film Fest announces the 24th Annual King Vidor Award Honoree

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival is excited to announce that film legend and 70’s cinema icon Pam Grier will be this year’s King Vidor Award honoree.

Pam Grier is the iconic feminine face of urban cinema in the 70s. She inspired that genre’s mainstream success, and her presence has long served as a muse and inspiration for many actors and filmmakers that followed, most notably Quentin Tarantino and his classic noir, JACKIE BROWN. We are thrilled to celebrate a truly remarkable career and have her at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival to offer her unique and colorful perspective on the journey she has seen film take, from FOXY BROWN to today.

Presented by BHE Renewables, the King Vidor Award presentation will take place immediately after the George Sidney Independent Film Awards ceremony on Saturday, March 17 at the historic Fremont Theater in downtown San Luis Obispo. Following the presentation, Turner Classic Movie’s Ben Mankiewicz will host a discussion of Grier’s entertaining and inspiring career. Past honorees have included Josh Brolin, Alan Arkin, Morgan Freeman, Robert Wise, Eva Marie-Saint, Norman Jewison, James Cromwell, Malcolm McDowell, Ann-Margret, and Jeff Bridges.


Born on May 26, 1949 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and raised in Denver, Colorado, Pam Grier was spotted by an agent at a beauty contest in Colorado Springs, who invited her to come to Hollywood and try her hand at acting. She subsequently moved to Los Angeles and began taking acting classes while she worked as a switchboard operator for American International Pictures. Soon after, she had made it onto the big screen in BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1970) and BIG DOLL HOUSE (1971.)

Following appearances in HIT MAN (1972) and BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA (1973), Grier gained notice in Jack Hill’s COFFY (1973) as the title character, “the baddest one-chick hit-squad that ever hit town.” The next year, she cemented her status as the undisputed queen of urban cinema as the high-class prostitute out for revenge in Hill’s FOXY BROWN (1974.)

AP Photo/FILE)

Grier solidified her status as a film star throughout the 70s with a string of films including SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM (1973), SHEBA, BABY (1975), BUCKTOWN (1975) with Fred Williamson, FRIDAY FOSTER (1975), and GREASED LIGHTNING (1977) opposite Richard Pryor. The 80s were highlighted by FORT APACHE, THE BRONX (1981) with Paul Newman, the Ray Bradbury classic, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES (1983), and the Steven Seagal actioner ABOVE THE LAW (1988), as well as regular turns on the television via Michael Mann’s “Crime Story” and “Miami Vice.”

Grier continued to work in both film and television throughout the 90s with memorable appearances in John Carpenter’s ESCAPE FROM LA (1996) and Tim Burton’s MARS ATTACKS (1996). However, it was Quentin Tarantino’s JACKIE BROWN (1997) that offered the actress an opportunity to play a character tailor-made for her unique brand of strength and charisma, resulting in the best critical notices of her career as well as her first Best Actress nominations for both a SAG Award and the Golden Globes. Roles in the thriller IN TOO DEEP (1999) and Jane Campion’s HOLY SMOKE (1999) immediately followed, as well as a reunion with Carpenter on his film GHOSTS OF MARS (2001). Grier became a very familiar sight on television as well, with appearances on several series culminating in a regular stints on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2002-2003) and Showtime’s “The L Word” (2004-2009). On the big screen, Grier has most recently been seen in Tom Hanks’s LARRY CROWNE (2011), Rza’s THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS (2012), and last year’s BAD GRANDMAS, and ROSE.

Click here more information about the Awards night event and after-party.

Many thanks to loyal event sponsor BHE RENEWABLES for all their support.

And to media sponsors KSBY-TV, Tribune, New Times, and 93.3 KZOZ, who’s representatives will present cash awards to winning filmmakers in the George Sidney Independent Film competition that evening.

A few things you might not know about the SLO Film Fest…

DID YOU KNOW.…that the Festival will be screening movies in six out of the seven theatres at the Downtown Cinemas this year? Thanks to the fine folks at the Movie Experience, we have MORE screens and more screens means MORE movie screenings! We’ll be screening most of the festival films THREE TIMES this year, giving festival-goers an extra opportunity to catch the movies they really want to see!

DID YOU KNOW…that we just put tickets on sale to the Movies by the Bay movie series in Morro Bay? There are three surf and skateboard documentaries playing there from 9am through 1pm, thanks to the support of the wonderful community-minded Bay Theatre. Tickets are available by clicking here, or go to Movies by the Bay for a full description of each film, trailers and more!

DID YOU KNOW…that we have two films in the Festival “going for gold” at tonight’s Academy Awards? One is a clever short animated film from France called GARDEN PARTY. The other is the feature-length documentary LAST MEN IN ALEPPO, which will be shown at the Fremont Theatre on Saturday, March 17 with director Feras Fayyad in attendance. Click on the titles for more information…and don’t forget to cheer them on tonight!

DID YOU KNOW….that King Vidor used to own the ranch that is now Whalebone Winery in Paso Robles? And did you know he shot his movie, RUBY GENTRY, partially in Paso Robles just so he could stay home and not go to North Carolina where the movie was set? A little creative set dressing and voila! Whalebone Winery will be hosting a reception for RUBY GENTRY ticket buyers and attending pass holders on Sunday, March 18 before the movie. Click here for more details and to purchase tickets.

We’ll be announcing our King Vidor Award recipient in a day or two…so stay tuned for that news and more!

Cheers and enjoy the Oscars tonight!!!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

The Beat Generation is alive and well at the SLO Film Fest!

The Coastal Awakening is the cultural movement that has been continually evolving on the Central Coast for nearly a century. It is best described as the art, music and literature that celebrate the interplay of our magical landscape with the liberation/ personal growth/human potential movement. From the Dunites through the Big Sur Beats, Esalen seekers, writers, artists, surfers and hippies, it continues to manifest in the unique and diverse lifestyles, arts and avocations of the people of the Central Coast.

On the evening and well into the night on Wednesday, March 14, we’ll be playing a series of “Beat”-themed movies at the Palm Theatre…and what a lineup! Big thanks to series sponsor The Shanbrom Family Foundation!

Howl, Sundance Film Festival 2010, U.S. Dramatic Competition

Starting with the very off-beat Pull My Daisy (1959), we then transition to the more mainstream and current, Howl (2010), the story of Beat-poet Alan Ginsberg. Those screen together at 4pm. Then at 7pm, you can see Chuck Workman’s excellent documentary, The Source: The Story of the Beats and the Beat Generation (1999.)

At 9pm, enjoy the dark humor of Roger Corman in his wacky 1959 film, Bucket of Blood,  introduced by Bob Whiteford (former Take Two co-host with the Palm Theatre’s Jim Dee.)

All festival passes can be used for these three separate screenings (4, 7 & 9pm) and individual tickets will sold at the Palm Theatre box office 15 minutes before each screening time. Come early to get in line so you don’t miss out!

And for those of you interested in more off-beat programming at this year’s SLO Film Fest, check out the QUEER CHEAT SHEET – full of great suggestions! Thanks to Ellen Sturtz Ellen Sturtz and Carlos Romero for assembling this creative collage on behalf of GALA. For a downloadable PDF: Queer Cheat Sheet

See you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director