SLO Film Fest opens for 2016 Film Entries!

Film Festival laurelssmallWe are officially open for new film submissions for the 2016 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival!

We like them all lengths, topics, nationalities and genres…we do not discriminate. And the more the merrier! Our dedicated team of screeners are standing by to start watching and evaluating. At the end of December, we will choose a slate of 100+ new films in three categories: George Sidney Independent Film Competition open to filmmakers all over the world; Central Coast Filmmakers Showcase open to local filmmakers; and the Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase open to youth filmmakers all over the world. The films chosen will be our 2016 Official Selections of the SLOIFF and will be eligible for juried cash awards and other special prizes. Follow the links above for competition rules and to submit a film. SLOIFF alumni filmmakers are encouraged to submit new films and there’s no fee! 

Hearst Castle

And now for something completely different! In 2016 we’ll be presenting awards to filmmakers on the last evening of the Festival, Sunday, March 20, at the Hearst Castle Visitor Center Theatre. Filmmakers will be shuttled to San Simeon, and taken on a special VIP tour of world famous Hearst Castle before the awards party and presentation at the National Geographic theatre at the bottom of the hill. The “Best in the Fest” film will then be screened for those who can stay for an extra complimentary night in a nearby motel. The SLOIFF Filmmakers Awards will also be included in all festival passes.

SLOIFF_2014_Friday_Sonrisa_Photography_404And speaking of festival passes, they are now officially ON SALE for SLOIFF 2016! Take advantage of early-bird pricing (good till December 31) and remember…Festival Passes make great gifts! They come in 4 ‘sizes’, so whether you are totally committed to see and do as much as possible, or can only “fest” on the weekend, we have a pass to suit you. Click here for details and to purchase.

Stay tuned for more news coming soon!

Wendy Eidson
SLOIFF Festival Director


SLOIFF Announces the 2015 King Vidor Award Recipient

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival and event sponsors BHE Renewables, New Times, Martin Resorts and KSBY are thrilled to announce that the 21st King Vidor Award for Excellence in Filmmaking will be presented to multi-Oscar® nominated director and screenwriter, Peter Bogdanovich. The award will be presented on Saturday, March 14 at the Fremont Theatre in San Luis Obispo.

Join us for a festive evening that begins with a celebration of winning films, hosted by KSBY-TV’s Dan Shadwell. George Sidney Independent Film and Central Coast Filmmaker Awards will be presented in several categories, juried by film and media professionals. Major festival sponsors and City officials will be on hand to present awards, which include the Audience Choice Awards, based on votes collected during the first four days of the festival.

BogdanovichAfter a short intermission, the 21st King Vidor Award for Excellence in Filmmaking will be presented to multi-Oscar® nominated director and screenwriter, Peter Bogdanovich. After the award presentation, Bogdanovich will discuss his storied career with Jim Dee, owner of local art-house Palm Theater, and then introduce a special screening of “The Last Picture Show.” A reception in Mr. Bogdanovich’s honor will follow at the Warden Building in downtown San Luis Obispo.

Best known for his directorial and writing efforts for “The Last Picture Show,” “What’s Up Doc,” “Paper Moon,” and “Mask”, the acclaimed writer, director, actor and longtime Hollywood personality, got his start working as an actor in live TV and theatre as a teenager in the late 50’s. At age 20 he began directing Off-Broadway plays. He achieved notoriety for programming movies at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. An obsessive cinema-goer, sometimes seeing up to 400 movies a year in his youth, Bogdanovich prominently showcased the work of American directors such as Orson Welles, John Ford and Alfred Hitchcock.

last_picture_showIn 1966, he began working as Roger Corman’s assistant on “The Wild Angels”, and then went on to direct his first film, “Targets”, starring Boris Karloff. He earned his first Oscar nod in 1971 with “The Last Picture Show,” starring then-unknowns Jeff Bridges (2014 King Vidor Award recipient), Timothy Bottoms, Cybill Shepherd, Ellen Burstyn, and Cloris Leachman, in this brilliant look at small-town Texan-American life in the early 1950s. The film won the New York Film Critics’ Circle Award for Best Screenplay (which Bogdanovich co-wrote with novelist Larry McMurtry), the British Academy Award for Best Screenplay, and received a total of eight Academy Award nominations, including three for Bogdanovich. Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman won for Best Supporting Actor and Actress. AFI listed “The Last Picture Show” as one of the “100 Best Films Ever Made.” In 1998, the Library of Congress designated the film as a National Treasure.

papermoonThe following year he directed “What’s Up Doc?,” a romantic farce starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neal, followed by “Paper Moon” (1973), a Depression era tale about a pair of unlikely con artists. That film garnered four Academy Award nominations and a win for Best Actress for the nine-year-old Tatum O’Neal – the youngest performer ever to win an Academy Award.

Highlights in the following years include “Mask”, starring Cher and Eric Stoltz (1985) “They All Laughed,” (1981) Audrey Hepburn’s last starring picture, “Noises Off” (1992) with an all-star cast, “The Cat’s Meow” (2001) and “Texasville” (1990), a sequel to “The Last Picture Show,” again starring Jeff Bridges and Cybill Shepherd.

He is the author of a number of books that include This Is Orson Welles, John Ford and Who The Devil Made It, and Who The Hell’s In It, all fascinating biographies that continue to be read by avid cine-files.

As an actor, Bogdanovich continues to take on a variety of roles. The best known is his recurring role of the ‘shrink’s shrink’ in the award-winning HBO series, The Sopranos. A younger version of Bogdanovich will be seen again soon in the premiere of Orson Welle’s last film that was never completed – “The Other Side of the Wind.”  Filmed in the mid-70’s, it also stars Dennis Hopper, Susan Strasberg and John Huston. He also recently directed the spring release, “She’s Funny That Way,” with a cast that includes Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston and Cybill Shepherd.

The SLOIFF’s awards event will begin at 7:00pm with the presentation of juried and audience awards for festival filmmakers, followed by the King Vidor Award presentation. After a conversation with Palm Theatre’s Jim Dee, Bogdanovich will introduce a screening of “The Last Picture Show.” An awards after-party will also be held at the Warden Building in downtown San Luis Obispo. See below for details.

Saturday, March 14, 7:00pm Fremont Theatre
$12 General / $10 Students & SLOIFF Film Society – Only Movie Mogul, Sponsor Mogul and Filmmaker Passes accepted for this Red Carpet Event. Click here for tickets.

Bruce & wife with martinisKING VIDOR AWARD RECEPTION
Sponsored by Ancient Peaks Winery, Biddle Ranch Winery, Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards, Sextant Wines, Roxo Port Cellars, Novo,Big Sky, Tito’s Handmade Vodka/Young’s Market, Windows on the Water, and Spyglass Restaurants.

Rub elbows with the 2015 King Vidor honoree and special guests, and SLOIFF filmmakers while enjoying fine wines and great food in the cozy setting of the historic Warden Building in the middle of downtown San Luis Obispo.

Saturday, March 14, 9:00pm
Warden Building, 770 Higuera St. San Luis Obispo

$35 General / $25 Students & SLOIFF Film Society – Click here to purchase tickets now.
Only Movie Mogul, Sponsor Mogul and Filmmaker Passes accepted for this Red Carpet Event.

Opening Night Movie – THE ROAD WITHIN

Presented by Ultra Stereo Labs logoThe San Luis Obispo International Film Festival is kicking off its 21st birthday with a new and very unique coming-of-age movie. THE ROAD WITHIN, starring Dev Patel, Robert Sheehan, and Zoe Kravitz will open the festival on Tuesday, March 10th at a
Red Carpet Event at the Fremont Theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo.


Robert Sheehan, Dev Patel and Zoe Kravitz.

Vincent (played by Irish native Robert Sheehan) has Tourette’s syndrome. When his mother dies, Vincent becomes obsessed with scattering her ashes by the ocean. Too much for his busy father to handle, Vincent is sent to a residential treatment center in Nevada where he befriends two other “inmates” struggling with their own personal issues. At odds with both his father and therapist, Vincent convinces his new friends to join him on a an epic road trip. As with most adventures of their nature, the destination ends up being less important than the journey. Writer/director Gren Wells (recently named on Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch list) has knocked one out of the park with this refreshingly original and heartwarming story of family, friendship and growing up. Leave the kids at home for this one though…as you might imagine, Vincent’s language is a little ripe, to say the least!

Also starring Kyra Sedgwick and Robert Patrick.

Also starring Kyra Sedgwick and Robert Patrick.

Here’s what one critic has to say about this great ensemble cast:
“Sheehan does an amazing job not just with the American accent but with capturing the physical manifestations of the ailment. Kravitz, best known for her roles in Divergent and X-Men: First Class, manages to be abrasive and compassionate at the same time; she delivers a vibrant performance. But it may be that Patel is most impressive of all. The star of Slumdog Millionaire and the HBO series The Newsroom has never had a role this demanding, and he does astonishing work that reveals a whole new side of his talent.” Stephen Farber / The Hollywood Reporter

Robert Sheehan, will be in attendance, along with fellow cast member, Alli Hillis, writer/director Gren Well and producer Brent Emery. You can meet them and fellow Festival-goers at the Opening Night Party happening at Luna Red in downtown SLO. From 5:00-6:30pm, enjoy mouth-watering appetizers, wines from Center of Effort and Bianchi Winery, craft beers and a signature cocktail in Luna Red’s relaxing yet elegant patio setting, right next to the Mission and just blocks from the Fremont Theatre.

Movie Mogul and Filmmaker passes will be accepted for the Opening Night Party and movie. Tickets for the reception will be available on a limited basis at the door for $30/person. Tickets for the movie are on sale now.

BUY NOWTHE ROAD WITHIN – Tuesday, March 10 – 7:00pm
Fremont Theatre, San Luis Obispo
$12 General / $10 Students & SLOIFF Film Society
All festival passes will be accepted for this event.

Thanks to generous sponsors:
LunaRedLogoBianchi-logoCenter of Effort logoShannon & Mike Larrabee / Central Coast Distributing

SLO Film Festival announces four Special Presentation Films

Sponsored by the
San Luis Obispo Marathon

From the filmmakers who brought you the award-winning documentary SPIRIT OF THE MARATHON (screened at the SLOIFF several years ago) comes the long anticipated sequel. Featuring the personal journeys of a new cast of seven athletes as they run the iconic streets of Rome, Italy, the film also includes interviews with marathon greats such as Stefano Baldini, Paula Radcliffe, Frank Shorter and many others. An entirely new running adventure, SPIRIT OF THE MARATHON II expands upon the first film looking further into this legendary event, its significance in people’s lives and ultimate impact on society.

Join SLO Marathon organizers Heather Hellman and Samantha Pruitt and the producer of the movie, Megan Williams, for a ‘spirited’ Q&A after the film, followed by a Pub Run through downtown San Luis Obispo. For more information about this event and the April 24-26 SLO Marathan, go to

BUY NOWSaturday, March 14 – Fremont Theatre, SLO – 12:00pm
$12 General / $7 Special Student Price
All Festival Passes welcome

THE BREAKFAST CLUB – A Tribute to John Hughes
with special guest writer/film critic Kirk Honeycutt

Sponsored by Union Bank and Q104.5

the breakfastclubThere is probably no other writer/director as well known for making financially and critically successful movies with a “coming of age” theme than John Hughes. He wrote 46 movies, produced 23 and directed 8 and his powerful influence in Hollywood can still be felt, although sadly he passed away in 2009. Author and film critic, Kirk Honeycutt will lead a discussion about the genius behind such hits as FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF, HOME ALONE, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, PRETTY IN PINK and many more. Hughes’ career is the subject of his new biography, John Hughes – A Life in Film, being released in February.

Join us for a screening of THE BREAKFAST CLUB with some invited guests who will join Honeycutt to talk about John Hughes and his affinity for making iconic and important “coming of age” films.

Former chief film critic at the The Hollywood Reporter, Kirk Honeycutt has written the first complete illustrated tribute to this legendary writer/producer/director. He will be signing his new book on Saturday, March 14 at Barnes & Noble at 2pm.

BUY NOWFriday, March 13 – Fremont Theatre, SLO – 8:30pm
$12 General / $10 Student/SLOIFF Film Society
All Festival Passes welcome

Sponsored by The Women’s Legacy Fund

Direct from its premiere at Sundance this month, The SLOIFF is delighted to bring THE MASK YOU LIVE IN to audiences in San Luis Obispo. This brand new documentary is made by Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Jennifer Congdon, the filmmakers who premiered MISS REPRESENTATION at Sundance, followed by the SLOIFF in 2011.

Their new film follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. Pressured by the media, their peer group, and even the adults in their lives, they confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class, and circumstance, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become “real” men.

THE MASK YOU LIVE IN ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a
healthier generation of boys and young men. After the film, a panel of local experts in education and gender studies will discuss the issues in the film and take questions from the audience. More details on the panel will be announced soon.

BUY NOWSaturday, March 14 – Fremont Theatre, SLO – 3:00pm
$12 General / $10 Student/SLOIFF Film Society
All Festival Passes welcome

with special guest Writer/Director George Gallo

We are delighted to collaborate with Seaside Gallery in Pismo Beach to present a film made by writer/director and talented artist, George Gallo. Best known for Hollywood hits like MIDNIGHT RUN, WISE GUYS and BAD BOYS, George Gallo is also well known in the art world for his impressionist paintings. Having grown up with a passion for art, he was fortunate enough to cross paths with Russian painter, George Cherepov who became a major influence in his life. He captured his own story in a wonderful “coming of age” independent movie called LOCAL COLOR, released in 2006.

george-gallo-seaside-gardenBetween screenings of the film on Friday, March 13 in downtown San Luis Obispo and Sunday, March 15 in Pismo Beach, Gallo will be at Seaside Gallery on Saturday, March 14 from 1-4pm for an Artists Reception. He will also be on hand for a Q&A at each of the screenings. Don’t miss the opportunity to meet an inspirational artist/filmmaker, who has also authored a book, Impressionist Painting for Landscapes.

Friday, March 13 – Downtown Cinemas, SLO – 7:00pm
Sunday, March 15 – La Perla Del Mar, Pismo Beach – 1:00pm
Tickets will be available day of show at the door: $12 General / $10 Student/SLOIFF Film Society / All Festival Passes welcome (pass holders get priority seating)

More Special Presentation Films will be announced very soon.
The full 2015 SLOIFF film lineup will be announced in mid-February.

Need some good holiday shopping ideas? Look no further!

We guarantee you’ll find the perfect gift on this list of unique items that will be available for one night you shouldn’t miss. Click here to check out the silent and live auction items that we’re offering at our upcoming SILENT NIGHT event…and get your tickets while you still can.

On Saturday, November 22nd, the evening will begin with a reception and silent auction at the San Luis Obispo Masonic Lodge in downtown San Luis Obispo at 6:30pm. Wine, appetizers and period-themed cocktails will be served by costumed volunteers. At 8:00pm, there will be a short live auction followed by the entertaining 1919 silent film, DADDY LONG LEGS, with an original score composed by Maria Newman and performed by a seven-piece orchestra from Malibu.

Daddy-Long-Legs_(1919)DADDY LONG LEGS was one of Mary Pickford’s most well-known and popular films. Based on a play that opened in New York in 1914, the movie was re-made in 1955 with Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron, and a new musical stage version premiered just four years ago. It tells the story of a mischievous orphan who’s dismal prospects suddenly improve when an anonymous benefactor pays for her college education. Endearing, funny and highly entertaining, this will be a unique opportunity to see this beautifully re-mastered film with a live orchestra, in a very unique setting.

Advance tickets are only $35 General and $30 for students and SLOIFF Film Society ($45/$40 at door) and include food, wine, silent auction and the film.Tickets are on sale now at or by calling (805) 546-3456.
2015 Festival Passes are also available now with an early-bird discount.

Denise's planeSilent and live auction items are perfectly timed for the holidays, and include hotel stays and private homes in the US and Italy, vintage plane rides, gourmet baskets, art and jewelry, and many other great gift options. CLICK HERE to see the list of items.

This event is generously sponsored by Filipponi Ranch Cellars, Sculpterra Winery, Biddle Ranch Vineyards, DeAngelis Wines, Me & Z’s Mexican Seafood, TASTE, Pizza Solo, San Luis BBQ, Sidecar Restaurant and Young’s Market.

Proceeds of this event directly support the 2015 SLOIFF!

sandsLOGONT LOGO w_websiteQ104-2007-newelogo1FilipponiRanchlogosculptera-wine-logoDeAngelis LogoYoungs Market logo

See OF MICE AND MEN at the Palm Theatre on Jan. 25th

Hollywood's Greatest Year: The Best Picture Nominees of 1939OF MICE AND MEN is about to return to the Broadway stage this spring, and it’s no wonder! We have still not tired of this poignant story that began as a play in 1937. The 1939 film, directed by Lewis Milestone, is as good today as it was when it was released. And you can see it on the big screen on Saturday, January 25 at 7:00pm at the Palm Theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo.

harris_familyNominated for four Academy Awards, and lauded with critical praise, the movie is based on John Steinbeck’s great Depression-era novel. It tells the touching story of George and his mentally challenged partner Lennie, who are trying to survive during the dust bowl of the 1930s and pursue a dream of owning their own ranch, instead of always working for others. Starring in the lead roles were Hollywood newcomer Burgess Meredith as George, and veteran actor Lon Chaney Jr. (the son of famed silent film actor Lon Chaney Sr) as Lennie. Chaney had appeared in more than 50 films at that point in his career, but Of Mice and Men was his first major role.

One of the last films in the SLO County on the Silver Screen series presented by Mid American Solar, OF MICE AND MEN was partially filmed in San Luis Obispo County. Records are sketchy but apparently several of the exterior ranch scenes were shot at Hearst Ranch.

Tickets are available now for $10/$8 online and will also be sold (if available) at the door at 6:30pm on Jan. 25th.