SLO Film Fest Welcomes Festival Sommelier


The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival is delighted to welcome Ali Rush Carscaden as the first ever SLO Film Fest Sommelier.  Ali is a Certified Advanced Sommelier and owner of 15 Degrees c Wine Shop and Bar, located in Templeton, California.  As the 2018 Film Festival Sommelier,  she will be responsible for pairing wines and other beverages with film events, themed parties, filmmaker swag bags and daily wine tastings in the Festival’s Hospitality Lounge located in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Our growing Festival is ready for a Festival Sommelier to bring an exciting and professional approach to the wines and other beverages selected for the SLO Film Fest each year. We are so lucky to have someone who’s not only an expert in this field, but also a local resident with a great reputation and excellent marketing skills.

Ali Rush Carscaden loves wine and the wine industry. While studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Cal Poly, she worked in the tasting room at Castoro Cellars in Paso Robles. Upon graduation, she was promoted to assistant marketing manager, exposing her to the sales side of the industry. While learning about the business, Ali gained some insight into the magic of winemaking, motivating her to go back to school, and within a year, she was completing her Master’s degree in Agriculture. Her thesis project for the Paso Robles Wine County Alliance inspired Gary Eberle to hire her for a direct sales management position at Eberle Winery. She then became a Fine Wine Specialist for the Henry Wine Group where she worked for six years.

Ali is now a certified advanced sommelier through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and a certified Somm through the Court of Master Sommeliers. She started 15 Degrees c Wine Shop and Bar in 2007, and recently expanded by moving to Main Street in downtown Templeton. Offering a wide selection of small production Central Coast wines along with over 500 wines from around the world, 15 Degrees c is a local and visitor favorite, with a comfortable and friendly vibe and great food.

Ali is also a mother and enjoys leading special trips to France and Spain to enjoy the fruits of her labor and learn more about the wines she sells.

Stay tuned for announcements of films, special events and wine sponsors in early February. Meanwhile, Festival Passes are on sale, with early-bird prices until December 31st. And they make great gifts too! Passes are available at, by calling (805) 546-3456, or in person at the Festival Headquarters, located at 1003 Osos St., in San Luis Obispo, Wednesday afternoons from noon to 5pm.

We appreciate all the support we get from our community and beyond, and can’t do this without you! To find out how you can become a sponsor, please click this link!

Cheers! And see you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director


You give…and we give back!

Take a cue from Rhett and give more than a damn! Today is GIVING TUESDAY and a good day to think about how you can help make a difference in our community and beyond….and then do something about it!

There are a lot of worthy organizations needing support and most non-profits survive on the generosity of their supporters. We are no different, but we have the unique ability to touch on a wide variety of issues that allow us to partner with many non-profits. Movies Matter!

This year, consider making a donation to the SLO Film Fest in the name of a charity you want to support. If it’s a film sponsorship, we’ll do our best to pair you with a movie that fits the charity’s mission. You’ll be helping to highlight that charity by giving them the honor of being a film sponsor, with a chance to speak at a screening and pass out literature, while you enjoy perks like festival passes and Festival Lounge access. It’s a win-win for all!

To find out more about becoming a sponsor, please click here. Or call Chris Aho at 805-235-6295 or email

Thanks for your support – or considering support – of the 24th Annual SLO Film Fest!

See you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director


Pre-Holiday announcements from SLO Film Fest…

Is it really just about Thanksgiving? As the time flies, we continue to pick up the pace on our preparations for the coming SLO Film Fest 2018!

We have just opened our Festival Headquarters at the corner of Osos and Monterey Streets! It’s the same place we were last year, thanks to the huge generosity of the SLO Collection, loyal supporters of the SLO Film Fest for many years. It’s a wonderful location and we’ll have the office open for pass sales and general chit chat weekly, on Wednesday afternoons from noon to 5pm. Stop by and say hello and consider purchasing a pass or two as a holiday gift for a fellow movie-lover! Our early-bird prices end on December 31 so don’t wait too long. Click here for Festival Pass information.

Our Final Deadline for our George Sidney Independent Film Competition and the Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase is Monday, November 20th, so we hope all filmmakers can submit by then. For submission links and more information, click here.

This does not include the youth-oriented Filmmakers of Tomorrow competition though! That deadline is not until January 10, 2018 so kids still have the holidays to make a film and send it to us. We have a new award this year too! Sponsored by Pacific Wildlife Care, youth films that are about wildlife issues are eligible for a cash prize and a special screening with a feature-length film in the Festival. To find out more, please click here!

We love to partner with other Central Coast non-profits and this is just one example of how we do that. There are literally dozens of others that we partner with on movie events – the Women’s Legacy Fund, Tranz Central Coast, Restoration Partners, the Land Conservancy, Dune’s Center, the Latino Outreach Council, and OperaSLO, just to name a few. We also provide free or low cost tickets to organizations like the Grizzly Academy and to students of all ages to encourage them to come and see what the SLO Film Fest is all about.

We encourage you to consider supporting your favorite non-profit by sponsoring a movie (long or short) in their name. They get the publicity, and you get the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting two worthy organizations with one donation! For more information about how to do that, please contact Chris Aho –

We wish you a very happy Thanksgiving holiday! See you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

Post-Phantom photos and thanks!

Thank you and big kudos to all who came out to support the SLO Film Fest Fall Fundraiser last Thursday night! There were some truly incredible costumes on display, and the evening of music and film was enjoyed by all!

Thank you to all those who attended and helped to support SLO Film Fest 2018, coming soon! Thanks to performers Anthony Crivello, Alba Franco-Cancél and organist Christian Elliott for a superb evening of entertainment.

And thank you to all event sponsors, raffle donors, volunteers, Cal Poly PAC staff and the SLO Film Fest board and staff for a fun night at The Phantom of the Opera! To see more photos, courtesy of Molly Kiely, go to our Facebook page.

See you at the movies!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

Win tickets to more shows tonight at SLO Film Fest’s “Phantom of the Opera” event!

Thank you to all the great Central Coast arts organizations, Central Coast Wine Classic and the TCM Movie Festival for the donation of wine, tickets and passes to many exciting shows coming up soon!

Raffle tickets will be available in the Performing Arts Center lobby tonight from 6 to 7pm, before our “Phantom of the Opera” event begins! Please buy some and support our 2018 SLO Film Fest! Here’s what you can win!

  • 2 tickets to Festival Mozaic WinterMezzo: Chamber Music Concert at the Cuesta College Performing Arts Center, Sunday, February 25, 2018
  • A 2012 Central Coast Wine Classic Commemorative Magnum – a unique blend of 2011 Syrah & Petite Sirah from the Paso Robles Appellation; PLUS: (4 chances to win) 3 bottles of Woodward Canyon 1995 Cabernet courtesy of Archie McLaren and the Central Coast Wine Classic
  • 2 tickets to Tango Buenos Aires at the PAC, Tuesday, November 14, 2017, presented by Cal Poly Arts
  • 2 tickets to the SLO Jewish Film Festival
  • 2 VIP Passes to an upcoming show at the Great American Melodrama
  • 2 tickets to The Met: Live in HD in partnership with Opera San Luis Obispo at the PAC
  • 2 tickets to a show during PCPA’s 2018 Season – February 15 – September 9, 2018
  • 2 tickets to Coco Montoya in a SLO Jazz Festival 2017 Fall Fest performance at the Pavilion on the Lake, Atascadero – Saturday, November 11th
  • $50 gift card to SLO Rep valid for any show during 2017-2018 season
  • 2 Tickets to any upcoming live performance at Castoro Cellars in Templeton, presented by SLOfolks
  • 2 Palace Passes for the 2018 Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival – Friday, 4/27- Sunday, 4/29, 2018

Hope you see you there! For more details about tonight’s event, please click here!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

The Phantom is almost here…and we have free tickets too!

DID YOU KNOW?…that not a single photograph of Lon Chaney as The Phantom was published in a newspaper or magazine or seen anywhere before the film opened in theaters in 1925. Universal Pictures wanted The Phantom’s face to be a complete surprise when his mask was ripped off. According to one of Lon Chaney’s most trusted associates, Mary Philbin’s (Christine) reaction to the unmasked Phantom was real–she had no idea what he would look like until that exact moment.

Lon Chaney went to a lot of trouble to create his terrifying look. He attached a strip of fish skin (a thin, translucent material) to his nostrils with spirit gum, pulled it back until he got the tilt he wanted, then attached the other end of the fish skin under his bald cap. His cheeks were built up using a combination of cotton and collodion. He put egg membranes on his eye balls! His ears were glued back and the rest was greasepaint shaded in the proper areas of the face. The sight was said to have caused some patrons at the premiere to faint.

Can you handle it? It’s not too late to get two free tickets to see THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA on the giant screen at Cal Poly’s Christopher Cohan Center, with organist Christian Elliott playing an original score on the Forbes Pipe Organ! The movie will play after Anthony Crivello and Alba Franco-Cancel sing a couple of songs from the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical! All of this is happening at 7pm on Thursday, October 26th (that’s tomorrow!)

Just make a donation of $100 or more to the 2018 SLO Film Fest, and get benefits, ticket discounts and more! Click here for donation details. You’ll be supporting a great organization, and get $80 worth of tickets to see THE PHANTOM immediately! All proceeds from the show benefit our 2018 Festival, happening March 13-18, 2018. Raffle prizes will be available too!

To purchase tickets for the show directly, go to or call (805) 756-4849, or visit the Cal Poly Box Office in person!

See you at the PAC! And wear your Halloween costume to compete for Festival passes!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Director

How many Tony’s have won a Tony?

Anthony Crivello as the “Phantom”, a role he performed for over five years and 2400 shows!

Only two…and one of them is coming to San Luis Obispo next week!

From Lucille Ball telling him “he’s got it,” to performing on Broadway to singing the National Anthem at a Green Bay Packers Home game, and being one of only two “Tony’s” to win a Tony! Anthony Crivello has traveled the world and seen it all. Listen to some of the incredible stories Anthony tells in this interview with Suzanne Schonig, on our sponsoring station, the Krush 92.5.

And be sure to catch him at the Cal Poly PAC next Thursday for a special performance before the awesome organ and silent movie pre-Halloween event,  “The Phantom of the Opera!” Click here to find out all about it and to order tickets.

See you at “The Phantom”!

Wendy Eidson
SLO Film Fest Festival Director