In 1993, a small group of passionate movie lovers got together and conceived of an “annual cultural event designed to showcase the history and art of filmmaking…an unprecedented event in San Luis Obispo history.” From Nov. 4-7, the four-day festival screened 29 films, most of them great classics that dominated the festival for the first 10 years.

Attorney Mary Harris worked very hard to keep the festival afloat through thick and thin, along with many supportive community members and businesses. Cathy Peacock was the Artistic Director and the Palm Theatre was, and still is, an integral part of the Festival, with most movies screening there under Jim Dee’s supervision. The historic Fremont Theatre has been a Festival Venue from the start as well, and a short time later the Downtown Centre Cinemas joined in. This year the DCC are also celebrating their 25th Anniversary, and will host a few special events during our Festival.

In those early days, movies were only available on 35mm film so large heavy cans had to be shipped and lugged around. A movie like “El Cid”, the Festival’s opening night movie in 1993, was probably shipped in about five back-breaking cans! (You can see it in all its restored glory at the Fremont Theatre on Sunday afternoon.) Now, Festival films arrive in an envelope on a thumb drive. We’ve come a long way….

Take a look back at the first 25 years of the SLO Film Fest with this collection of 25 festival favorites, award-winners, tribute films and a few movies we could have screened … but didn’t. Some are old, some are quite new, and many are somewhere in between. Many will have special guests in attendance for introductions and Q&As. I hope you enjoy this carefully curated series of movies playing throughout our 25th Anniversary Festival!

–Wendy Eidson, SLO Film Fest Director/Programmer

A Star is Born (1937)
The Bigamist (1953)
The Brainwashing of My Dad (2016)
Botso (2014)
Creature of the Black Lagoon (1954)
El Cid (1962)
Hallelujah (1929)
Lives Well Lived (2016)
Love and Bananas (2018)
Pick of the Litter (2018)
Plagues and Pleasures of the Salton Sea (2004)
The Quiet Man (1952)
The Shot Felt Around the World (2012)
Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon (2008)
Weiner Takes All (2009)
Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick (1996)

Bye Bye Now (2010)
Chocolate (2018)
The Frank Anderson (2006)
God of Love (2010)
Lambing Season (2015)
Miss Shade Is Missing (2011)
Tandem (2013)
Urban Forest (2013)