Our annual film competition continues to attract exciting new independent films from around the world. Named after George Sidney, the Festival’s first recipient of the King Vidor Award, Sidney was a Central Coast resident and a passionate supporter of independent filmmaking.

A panel of more than 80 screeners evaluated over 1,000 submissions, helping us make some very difficult decisions to finalize our Official Selections. The finalists in competition are juried by a panel of film and media professionals; cash prizes will be awarded at the Fremont Theater during our Awards Night Gala on Saturday,  April 30.


Jenna Suru
Jenna Suru
Executive Director, Paris International Film Festival
Jenna Suru is the Director of the Paris International Film Festival, which presented the International Premiere of Kiss The Ground, the environmental documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson, and Cream, Nóra Lakos’s romantic modern tale, which was recently acquired by HBO. She produced and stars in her directorial debut period drama L’Âge d’Or (The Golden Age).
Glen Starkey
Glen Starkey
New Times SLO
Glen Starkey is the film critic for the Santa Maria Sun and New Times of San Luis Obispo, where he also writes about arts and entertainment as the Senior Staff Writer. He also teaches writing in the English Department of California Polytechnic State University.
Jeff Annison
Jeff Annison
Co-Founder & President, Legion M
Jeff Annison is the Co-Founder and President of Legion M, the first media company in history designed to be owned by fans. With nearly 30,000 investors in the company and a worldwide community of over 125,000 fans, the result has led to successful film projects from “Colossal” (starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis), “Mandy” (starring Nicolas Cage), “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” (directed by and starring Kevin Smith) and the upcoming “Man in the White Van” (starring Sean Astin and Ali Larter).
Paul Scanlan
Paul Scanlan
Co-Founder & CEO, Legion M
Paul Scanlan is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Legion M, the first media company in history designed to be owned by fans. With nearly 30,000 investors in the company and a worldwide community of over 125,000 fans, the result has led to successful film projects from “Colossal” (starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis), “Mandy” (starring Nicolas Cage), “Jay and Silent Bob Reboot” (directed by and starring Kevin Smith) and the upcoming “Man in the White Van” (starring Sean Astin and Ali Larter)


James Woolley
Executive Director at Frameline Film Festival
Bart Weiss<strong> </strong>
Bart Weiss
Dallas Video Fest + Founder and Co-host of Fog of Truth documentary podcast 
Bart Weiss is an award-winning independent film and video producer, director, editor and educator, who has lived in Dallas since 1981. 
He is mostly known as the director and founder of the Dallas VideoFest. He produces the TV show “Frame of Mind” on KERA TV in Dallas, and is the artistic Director of 3 Stars Cinema. He has traveled to Nigeria Pakistan and China to show American Documentaries for the US State Department.
Bedatri Choudhury
Bedatri Choudhury
Documentary Magazine 
Bedatri is a film critic and culture journalist, born and raised in India, and living in New York City. She is presently the Managing Editor of Documentary magazine. 


<strong>Alix Angelis</strong>
Alix Angelis
Alumni filmmaker, Seance-ing (Award Winner, 2021)
Alix Angelis is a filmmaker both in front of and behind the camera as director, writer, and actress. She was honored by SLO Film Fest with an award for her coming-of-age short film “Seance-ing” in 2021 and is known for her acting work in the horror genre. 
<strong><strong><strong>Paul Neinstein</strong></strong></strong>
Paul Neinstein
Co-CEO,  Project X
Paul Neinstein is co-Chief Executive Officer at Project X Entertainment – a global entertainment company based in Los Angeles, CA that is focused on taking a creative-driven approach to discovering, producing and financing original stories for all mediums. With three films in 2022 including “Scream” (starring Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox), “Ambulance” (directed by Michael Bay and starring Jake Gyllenhaal) and “Bed Rest” (starring Melissa Barrera) – Paul oversees all corporate, business, legal, financial and day-to-day operations at the company.. 
<strong><strong><strong>Veena Sud</strong></strong></strong>
Veena Sud
Best known for creating The Killing,  Veena Sud’s other groundbreaking television shows include the Emmy Award-winning Seven Seconds/Netflix and The Stranger on Roku. Her recent film The Lie, which she wrote and directed, can be seen on Amazon Prime. She is a part time resident of the SLO area and is absolutely in love with the Central Coast. 
Photo Credit: Angela Lewis


<strong><strong><strong><strong>Angela Tabora</strong></strong></strong></strong>
Angela Tabora
Bitch Talk podcast
Angela Tabora is the co-host of the Bitch Talk Podcast, and has worked in post-production for several production companies in the Bay Area. She is a documentary filmmaker and a world traveler, and most recently, she managed political campaigns in Oakland and San Francisco.
<strong><strong><strong><strong><strong>Erin Lim</strong></strong></strong></strong></strong>
Erin Lim
Bitch Talk podcast
Erin Lim is the founder/executive producer/and host of the San Francisco-based Bitch Talk Podcast. Produced by an all-AAPI team and with nearly 700 episodes, Bitch Talk Podcast has amplified the marginalized voices in film, TV, comedy, politics, music, change makers, and more..
<strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong>Meital Cohen Navarro</strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong>
Meital Cohen Navarro
Alumni filmmaker,  Over My Dead Body (Award Winner, 2021)
Meital Cohen Navarro is an award-winning narrative and documentary filmmaker, whose films often feature notable moments of womanhood and social challenges from unique and unexpected perspectives. Her films and screenplays have won awards at numerous acclaimed film festivals around the world. Cohen-Navarro is currently filming a feature documentary in Africa and in post-production on new feature documentary.
<strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong>Paul Dellapelle</strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong>
Paul Dellapelle
Paul Dellapelle has been a partner/owner in Picture Stable LLC for the past 18 years. Picture Stable is a San Luis Obispo based 
Film and Video production company that has produced independent films, commercials and television shows for local, national and international clients.


<strong><strong><strong><strong><strong><strong>Blas Alvarado</strong></strong></strong></strong></strong></strong>
Blas Alvarado
Not only is Blas our favorite ‘Gen-Z’ juror, but Blas Alvarado brings more to our table as a local videographer who has been working with the SLO Film Festival’s Music Video Category since its origin (as of last year). Blas is a recent graduate from California Polytechnic State University and worked as a reporter and DJ for the campus radio station, KCPR, and media group, Mustang News.
<strong>Cindy Wathen-Kennedy</strong>
Cindy Wathen-Kennedy
Cindy Wathen-Kennedy is an independent award-winning Producer of Red Watch and The Blessing and the Curse. She’s a former musician, KFSR DJ, university music library assistant, Pollstar magazine employee, and a current part-time SLO County resident.
<strong>David Hardberger</strong>
David Hardberger
David has been working as a motion picture professional for over forty years. Much of his work is in visual effects as a  cameraman on such films as LORD OF THE RINGS, BLADERUNNER, and RETURN OF THE JEDI. He is a voting member of the Motion Picture Academy
<strong><strong>Ernesto Rivera</strong></strong>
Ernesto Rivera
Ernesto is a local artist who’s work ranges from abstract and experimental to mix-media paintings. He is currently co-writing a feature film in development, a working print production and sublimation specialist, dance instructor, and a music connoisseur.


Bryan Duggan | Filmmaker
Bryan Duggan is an award-winning director/writer living on the Central coast. His career spans 35 years and includes work as a Director Of Photography documentaries, TV, commercials, feature films and early music videos. 

Cindy Kitagawa | Screenwriter, Festival Programmer
After 20 years in Los Angeles, Cindy returned to Santa Maria, California where she was born and raised. Inspired by the place and people who
formed her life, she wrote her first feature film, COAST, a coming-of-age story, making its theatrical premiere in 2022. Cindy is a Programmer for HollyShorts Film Festival, Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival, and co-owner of A Journey Home Film.