Category Archives: #SLOFilmFest

Surf Nite in SLO Puts South Africa in the 2019 Spotlight

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The SLO Film Fest is delighted to put South Africa in the spotlight this year for its 14th Annual Surf Nite in SLO!

Surfers Unite! The California premiere of SATORI by South African filmmaker Rick Wall  will be featured on the Big Screen at the historic Fremont Theatre in San Luis Obispo on Friday, March 15th at 7pm. Cape Town residents, filmmaker Rick Wall and SATORI surfer Rod Torr will attend.

Surf Nite in SLO is presented by Surfing for Hope, a non-profit organization in Pismo Beach created to help inspire people challenged by cancer through the positive energy of surfing.

Surf Nite is also presented by the City of Pismo Beach and sponsored by Cliffs Hotel and Spa, SeaVenture, Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort, Apple Farm Inn, Coast 104.5, Quality Suites San Luis Obispo, Anthony Peckham and Hilary Saner.

The beautifully cinematic SATORI, shot in dramatic black and white and color, documents a close-knit group of local big wave surfers who have dedicated their lives to the ocean and riding the huge waves off the shores of picturesque Cape Town, South Africa. “Satori” is a Japanese Buddhist word meaning a sudden moment of awakening or ‘glimpse of truth’ – the essence of surfing for many.

Featuring the awe-inspiring waves at two surf breaks on the South peninsula, the film focuses on the infamous “Dungeons” below the sentinel mountain in Hout Bay, and Sunset Reef, 1 km. out to sea off the small seaside village of Kommetjie. While each surfer is surfing these waves for different reasons, the film discovers that there is a connection that unites them – their love and respect for the raw beauty of the ocean.

Bertish_SLO2016 Surf Nite special guest Chris Bertish, pictured above, right, with HollywoodGlee, is featured in the film along with an interesting cast of characters from all walks of life.

Director/cinematographer Rick Wall and surfer Rod Torr who is also featured in the film, will be in attendance for a Q&A hosted by Coast 104.5’s Adam Montiel.

Rod Torr founded Kommetjie Surf in South Africa in 2007, and is passionate about the environment, the ocean and the pursuit of big waves. A lifetime surfer and long time friend of Rick Wall, he was an integral part in seeking funding and assisting with the production of the film.

Opening for SATORI will be a 30-minute documentary by filmmaker Graham Nash, and produced for Vans. In 2017, pro surfers Patrick, Dane and Tanner Gudauskas, and Michael February, hosted a surfboard drive to benefit the Waves for Change organization in Cape Town, South Africa. CAN’T STEAL OUR VIBE follows their journey to provide surfboards and a positive outlet to disadvantaged youngsters to help overcome the adversities of poverty, violence and abuse. Filmmaker Graham Nash will attend. Local surfers and businesses will have an opportunity to participate in a surf board drive with more details to come soon.

There will be a wine/beer bar in the lobby beginning at 6:00pm. A raffle of surf-themed items will be part of the excitement that evening, as well as an After Party at the Festival Lounge in downtown San Luis Obispo.

SURF NITE IN SLO – Presented by Surfing for Hope
Friday, March 15 – 7:00pm
Fremont Theatre, SLO

$20 General
$15 Students & SLO Film Society
Mogul passes & Red Carpet tickets can be used for this event and After Party

Tickets can be purchased by clicking on the Buy Now button
or at Festival HQ at 1040 Court St. SLO
(opens Feb. 15 – check website for hours)
or Day of Show at the Fremont Theatre Box Office. Tickets will be sold first-come, first-served beginning at 6:30pm


(Sourced from


Katharine Ross will perform with The Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra on Opening Night at San Luis Obispo Int’l Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

San Luis Obispo, CA (January 17, 2019) The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival screen shot 2019-01-18 at 5.04.01 pm(March 12-17) has announced that Katharine Ross will perform with The Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra on Opening Night to launch the 25th Anniversary edition of the popular film festival. Ross will tell the exciting true story of “Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express,” with the orchestra, prior to participating in a discussion on film and her award-winning career, and introducing a special 50th Anniversary screening of the 1969 classic, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID.  

SLO Film Fest also announced the creation of the Movie Newbie Pass, designed to serve as a convenient and cost-effective way for the first time film festival audience member to enjoy the films. They will soon open an exciting new indoor Festival Lounge to better serve as the growing film festival’s epicenter and meeting place for filmmakers and passholders to enjoy SLO’s daily events, panels, and parties.  

“An Evening with Katharine Ross” will take place on Tuesday, March 12, 2019at theFremont Theatre, in San Luis Obispo, CA. Presented by BHE Renewables, and sponsored by Justin Vineyards & Winery, New Times, Luna Red, The Krush 92.5, KJUG 98.1, KVEC News Talk 920am, the event was originally scheduled for the fall of 2018 but postponed due to devastating fires in Malibu, CA. SLO Film Fest Director Wendy Eidson, said, “One of the universally beloved film actors from her signature roles in classics like THE GRADUATE, it will be a thrill and a delight to have Katharine Ross kick off our 25th Anniversary film festival in style with a rare live performance and special introduction to another one of our favorites, BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID. We’re beyond fortunate that we could reschedule this event after its postponement last Fall, and now it will begin this year’s film festival on a very high note.” 

The acclaimed five-pieceMalibu Coast Silent Film Orchestrawill accompany Ross as she recounts the true story from Margaret K Wetterer’s “Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express,” of Kate Shelley, a fifteen-year-old Iowa teenager who helped avert a train disaster in 1881 and went on to become a national heroine. Based on Mary Kay Shanley’s spoken short story, it was originally written for the Wonder of Words Festival in Des Moines, Iowa. This new version will feature Ross as the story-teller and composer Maria Newman’s original music. The performance will be the orchestra’s fourth visit to San Luis Obispo after impressing audiences at past Festival fundraising events, includingDaddy Long Legsand last year’s Silent Shorts event at the Madonna Inn. 

After a short intermission, Ross will join composer Maria Newman and Festival Directorscreen shot 2019-01-18 at 5.08.19 pm Wendy Eidson on the Fremont Theatre stage for a conversation about her career and her role in BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID, prior to a screening of the digitally restored version of the “Best Picture” Oscar winner that is still considered one of the best Westerns of all time. This timeless classic stars Paul Newman and Robert Redford as the true-life outlaws in the early 1900’s, and Katharine Ross as the lovely free spirit whose charm bewitched the outlaws…as well as audiences then and now.  

VIP ticket holders will also have an opportunity to meet Katharine Ross at an Opening Night reception before the event at Luna Red, located next to the Mission in downtown San Luis Obispo. Luna Red will serve appetizers, wine, and beer, with live music indoors and on the patio (weather permitting) from 5:00-6:30PM. The performance and movie event begins at 7:00PM. 


Katharine Rossis an acclaimed, award-winning American film and stage actress who is renowned for her performances in two of the most popular films of the late 1960’s. Ross was cemented forever in the hearts and minds of film fans and from her iconic role of “Elaine Robinson” in Mike Nichols’ groundbreaking film, THE GRADUATE (1967),for which she won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated as Best Supporting Actress for an Academy Award. Ross also made a significant mark as “Etta Place” in George Roy Hill’s BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969),for which she won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress. Additional signature films include; Bryan Forbes’ THE STEPFORD WIVES (1975), Stuart Rosenberg’s VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED (1976), for which she won a second Golden Globe award, and Richard Kelly’s cult classic DONNIE DARKO (2001). 

screen shot 2019-01-18 at 5.10.22 pm

 In 1984, Katharine Ross married actor Sam Elliott. They met in London on Richard Marquand’s horror classic THE LEGACY (1978),and have worked together on several projects since that fateful meeting. They co-wrote and starred in Louis L’Amour’s CONAGHER,  co-starred in THE SHADOW RIDERS, MURDER IN TEXASand most recently in Brett Haley’s THE HERO,released in 2017. 

Tickets are available for the party and movie event for $50, as well as individual movie event tickets for $25 ($15 for students). Movie Mogul passes will be accepted for both the party and movie events. Tickets are on sale now at 

As plans are made for this year’s edition of the SLO Film Fest, one addition is the introduction of a new Festival Pass for first-time festival goers –  The Movie Newbie Pass. It will allow one person to use the pass for four regular festival screenings at the Rock at SLO Brew or the Fremont Theatre. The Movie Newbie Pass can also be used by four people for one screening or any combination that totals four uses. The pass is $40 and is on sale now at 

The Movie Newbie Pass is the ideal way for a first-timer to enjoy the festival without making a large time or cash commitment. There are four other festival pass options available, but this is the only pass that can be used by more than two people and is ideal for a movie-going group. Pass holders will be limited to movie choices at the Rock and Fremont Theatres and the pass does not include Red Carpet Events at the Fremont Theatre.  


Once again, the Festival will operate a Festival Hospitality Lounge during the Festival week. Located conveniently in the SLO Collection Court Street shopping area in downtown San Luis Obispo (1040 Court Street), the location will be a true epicenter for SLO, as it will also be the home of the Festival Headquarters, which functions as a box office and information outlet, and will be mere blocks from three Festival theatres – the Palm Theatre, Downtown Cinemas and Fremont Theatre.  


Located half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, San Luis Obispo’s laid-back vibe and serene natural beauty is the perfect setting for this highly regarded annual film celebration. Filmmakers rave about the warmth and attentiveness that is so much a part of the SLO Film Fest experience, as does the swelling tide of industry pros and film critics who are fast discovering the Festival’s thoughtful audiences and unique programming sensibility. At the SLO Film Fest, “Movies Matter!” 


(Source: Press release provided by



#SLOFF Film Capsule – Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Director Leslie Iwerks newest documentary film, Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table, recently opened the 23rd San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, now referred to as the SLO Film Fest. To go along with the screening 15 food chefs served up traditional and current New Orleans gastronomical fare in the art-deco styled Fremont Theater and in the adjoining VIP tent in downtown SLO. Cafe Musique provided live music to round out the Mardi Gras themed party with covers from ragtime composer Scott Joplin as well as Cajun and Zydeco tunes. Several Central Coast vintners provided complementing libations.

Iwerks amassed a copious amount of archival photos, footage, newspaper and magazine articles to complement current day interviews as she uncovers one of the most revered chefs and restaurateurs in the world. In addition, a snapshot of New Orleans from the 1940’s and 50’s is shown as the focus moves toward the Brennan family restaurant, Brennan’s, and on into Commander’s Palace.

Ella Brennan was reluctant initially to take on a role in the family business. Her oldest sibling, Owen, cajoled Ella and tasked her with important roles while increasingly adding greater responsibility Eventually, Ella was traveling to the world’s great cities and dining in fine establishments. All the while, Ella scoured cookbooks looking for new and innovative ways to create cuisines for her clientele which not only included a who’s who of New Orleans Society but also world dignitaries and Hollywood entertainers.

Unfortunately, the family was dealt a severe blow as Owen suddenly passed away at 48. Ella and her siblings decided to keep the restaurant going with Ella at the helm. Soon after Owen’s death, however, the bank removed it’s vote of confidence that a woman could manage a restaurant like Brennan’s and called in the loan on the building. The family rallied raising money only to come up just short of the necessary funds. So the restaurant would have to move. The family found a location down the street. On the last day at the original location, the family served lunch and then moved to the new location led by a jazz band and served dinner in their new location without missing a beat.

The new location served the Brennan family well until a legal dispute with Owen’s wife precipitated Ella and her sisters establishing a new restaurant, Commander’s Palace. Under Ella’s leadership Commander’s Palace thrived. Soon Ella began a search for a Top Chef. Paul Prudhomme’s name was mentioned and Ella took Prudhomme in and the two put Commander’s Palace on the list of the world’s finest dining establishments. Prudhomme decided he wanted a smaller restaurant and left to open K-Paul’s. Following Prudhomme was Emeril Lagasse at age 23. Lagasse, too, would move on to start his own restaurant. Both became known as “celebrity chefs” with their own television shows. Next came Eddie Shannon, a tall Irishman with great flare. Eddie introduced farm to table to Commander’s Palace and the restaurant continued its fine dining tradition with bold, new, fresh and innovative dishes.

Then, Hurricane Katrina hit devastating the city of New Orleans. With the city deserted, the Brennan’s were unsure about the future of Commander’s Palace but not Ella. The restaurant re-opened after a year of repairs. During this time Ella and sister Adelaide bought an historic mansion directly behind Commander’s Palace. Today the sisters enjoy the finest take-out food, delivered by world renowned chefs.

After the screening TV actor and New Orleans native, French Stewart, chatted with Commander’s Palace owner Ti Martin (Ella Brennan’s daughter) and filmmaker Leslie Iwerks.

Ti Martin, far right, owner of Commander’s Palace, shares her experience being Ella Brennan’s daughter with Director Leslie Iwerks, center, and French Stewart, left, at the 23rd SLO Film Fest, following the Festival’s Opening Night screening, Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table, at the San Luis Obispo downtown Fremont Theater. (Photo credit: Larry Gleeson/HollywoodGlee)

Ella Brenan: Commanding the Table is a delicious treat. Iwerks gets behind the scenes with historical artifacts, Brennan family archives and present day interviews to reveal a formidable female figure who rose to the challenges presented to her and came out on top. Highly recommended for all audiences.







Actor/producer JOSH BROLIN will receive SLO Film Fest 2017 King Vidor Award.

Posted by Larry Gleeson

2017 King Vidor Award – Josh Brolin

Presented by BHE Renewables

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival will honor Academy Award® nominee Josh Brolin with the prestigious King Vidor Award for Excellence in Filmmaking at its 23rd Annual SLO Film Fest in March.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 12.13.45 AMNamed for film director, producer, screenwriter, and part time SLO County resident King Vidor, the King Vidor Award is presented as an annual tribute to a talented filmmaker, actor or film artist in recognition of his or her exceptional artistic contributions to the motion picture industry. A powerful, sought-after film actor, Academy Award® nominated Josh Brolin continues to balance challenging roles in both mainstream studio productions as well as thought-provoking independents. In addition to impressive careers in common, Vidor and Brolin share a deep affection for SLO County.

Fellow actor and former King Vidor Award recipient, Jeff Bridges, hopes to be available to present the award to his friend and colleague at the event taking place at the historic Fremont Theatre in Downtown San Luis Obispo on Saturday, March 18 at 7:00pm. TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz will chat with Josh Brolin about his accomplished career after the award presentation.

The Awards Night evening will begin at 7:00pm (6:30pm Red Carpet) with the George Sidney juried Filmmaker Awards. Representatives from festival media sponsors New Times, KSBY, Tribune and Coast 104.5 will present cash awards to winning filmmakers. There will be a no-host bar in the lobby serving wine and beer.

Former King Vidor Award recipient Jeff Bridges will present the King Vidor Award to Josh Brolin. Then TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz will sit down with Brolin for a conversation about his career and a short Q&A from the audience. An awards after-party will follow at the SLO Masonic Lodge in downtown San Luis Obispo. NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN will screen at the Fremont Theatre after a short intermission as well.

This event is also sponsored by: Coast 104.5, New Times, Tribune, KSBY, Novo, Big Sky, Windows on the Water, The Cakestress, SLO Provisions, Sidecar, Central Coast Distributing, Filipponi Ranch Winery, Justin Vineyards and more…

Get Tickets Here

7:00pm – King Vidor Award and George Sidney Filmmaker Awards
Saturday, March 18, Fremont Theatre, 1025 Monterey St. SLO
$20 General / $15 Students & Film Society (Only Movie Mogul Passes accepted).
9:00pm – Awards Night After-Party – King David Masonic Lodge, 859 Marsh St. SLO
At door: $50 General / $45 Students & Film Society.

About Josh Brolin

The Santa Monica-born son of actor James Brolin, and late wildlife advocate Jane Cameron Agee, Josh Brolin moved to Templeton, CA in his infancy, later attending Templeton Elementary and Templeton Middle School. He returned to the area as an adult and currently owns a ranch in the Templeton-Adelaida area. Brolin made his feature film debut starring in the action-comedy classic GOONIES, directed by Richard Donner for producer Steven Spielberg.

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 12.09.21 AMHe was nominated for an Academy Award®, a Screen Actors Guild Award and received awards from the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review for his portrayal of Dan White in Gus Van Sant’s acclaimed film MILK. He also co-starred in the Coen Brothers’ TRUE GRIT, which was nominated for 10 Academy Awards®including Best Picture. Prior to that, Brolin earned a Screen Actors Guild Award as part of the ensemble for his work in the Coen Brothers’ NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, which also won four Academy Awards®, including Best Picture and Best Director.  Brolin received rave reviews and a Critics Choice Award nomination for his performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s INHERENT VICE, opposite Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon.

Currently in production on SOLDADO, a follow up to SICARIO, Brolin will reprise his role as ‘Matt Graver.’ He can next be seen in GRANITE MOUNTAIN opposite Jeff Bridges, Miles Teller, and Jennifer Connelly, and in Jody Hill’s THE LEGACY OF A WHITETAIL DEER HUNTER alongside Danny McBride.

Brolin will soon begin production on GEORGE AND TAMMY opposite Jessica Chastain. The film follows the rise and fall of country music icons George Jones and Tammy Wynette, with Brolin starring as “George Jones.” Additionally, he is set to star in George Clooney’s upcoming film SUBURBICON, opposite Oscar Isaac, Julianne Moore, and Matt Damon. The crime mystery is written by Joel and Ethan Coen. Furthermore, Brolin will join the illustrious AVENGERS franchise as supervillain ‘Thanos.’

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 12.11.08 AMBrolin was last seen in Joel and Ethan Coen’s HAIL, CAESAR!, co-starring George Clooney, Channing Tatum, and Tilda Swinton. Brolin plays ‘Eddie Mannix,’ a Hollywood fixer in the 1950’s, who works to keep the studio’s stars in line. He also starred in Lionsgate’s SICARIO opposite Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro. The film debuted in competition at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2015. Additionally, Brolin co-starred in EVEREST, based on the book ‘Into Thin Air.’

Other film credits include: LABOR DAY directed by Jason Reitman; Spike Lee’s OLD BOY; Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller-directed SIN CITY 2: A DAME TO KILL; GANGSTER SQUAD opposite Sean Penn; MEN IN BLACK 3 opposite Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones; Oliver Stone’s WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS and as the title role in W.; Ridley Scott’s blockbuster AMERICAN GANGSTER opposite Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe; Woody Allen’s YOU MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER; PLANET TERROR, part of the critically acclaimed Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez double feature, GRINDHOUSE; IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH for director Paul Haggis; John Stockwell’s INTO THE BLUE; Paul Verhoeven’s blockbuster hit, HOLLOW MAN; Scott Silver’s MOD SQUAD; Ole Bornedal’s psychological thriller NIGHTWATCH; BEST LAID PLANS opposite Reese Witherspoon, produced by Mike Newell; ALL THE RAGE; and Guillermo Del Toro’s science-fiction thriller, MIMIC. Brolin also received recognition from critics and audiences in David O. Russell’s FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, portraying a bisexual federal agent, alongside an outstanding ensemble cast led by Ben Stiller.

How Paso resident Josh Brolin became one of Hollywood’s best character actors and a SLO Film Fest honoree

Posted by Larry Gleeson

By Glen Starkey

Apparently, becoming a Hollywood movie star isn’t quite as glamorous as people think. In fact, to hear Josh Brolin paint it, the acting profession is a long series of rejections marked by occasional small paying jobs and maybe, if you’re one of the rare ones, you luck upon a film that changes your career.

Next Saturday, March 18, Brolin—who was nominated for a 2009 Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Dan White in the 2008 film Milk—will receive the SLO International Film Festival’s King Vidor Award for Excellence in Filmmaking in a special ceremony at the Fremont Theater.

The 23rd annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival takes place Tuesday, March 14, through Sunday, March 19, in various locations throughout SLO County. Learn all the details and purchase tickets and festival passes at Josh Brolin is this year’s King Vidor Award for Excellence in Filmmaking winner, and he’ll receive his award on Saturday, March 18, in the Fremont Theater, beginning at 7 p.m. Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz will chat with Brolin about his career after the award ceremony, followed by a brief audience Q-and-A.

According to Festival Director Wendy Eidson, Brolin seemed like the perfect selection for this year’s King Vidor Award.

“Back in 2008, I met Josh when he came to the festival as a filmmaker with a short film called X,” Eidson said. “He was refreshingly down-to-earth, friendly, and fun, and I immediately asked him to be on our advisory board so we could keep him involved in our growing festival. Since then, he has done one fantastic role after another, worked with many of the greatest directors of our time, and leading actors as well, and has really earned his distinction as one of the top actors in Hollywood today.

“His career has spanned more than three decades and even though he is possibly the youngest person to receive the King Vidor award in our festival’s history, we feel he is more than worthy of this honor,” Eidson continued. “King Vidor is famous for having the most prolific career as a director, so it’s important that we honor his legacy by giving the award to someone with a similarly long and successful career. As an added bonus, King Vidor and Josh Brolin share a passion for the Central Coast and both were/are owners of a ranch in North County. Josh is an exciting choice for this award, and I look forward to honoring his past, current, and future success as an actor, director, and producer.”

As for Brolin, who spoke to New Times by phone, he couldn’t be happier about the accolade.

“For me, it’s really an honor,” Brolin said. “It’s almost weird. I’m just a little ranch kid, and the odds of my doing well—or anyone doing well—in my profession are slim to none, so it’s surreal to me, and I love being a local. I tried to move to different places and was always sucked back by Paso, the solitude of it, how mentally grounded I feel because of living here. It’s nice, man. I just feel very honored to be part of this place I love. It’s nice to be a local.”

The early years

Born on Feb. 12, 1968, in Santa Monica, Brolin, 49, moved to a ranch in the Adelaida area of Paso Robles when he was an infant, and he grew up there, attending elementary and middle school in Templeton.

“We lived on what was Route 1, now called Vineyard Drive,” Brolin recalled. “It was very different back then. There were a couple of wineries, but it was real ranch living. We had a 230-acre horse ranch, and I had to feed those horses every morning.”


Young Josh Brolin on his Paso Robles-area family ranch with a canine.
Around age 11 or 12, he moved to Santa Barbara, where he eventually attended high school.

When I went to high school,” Brolin quipped, making reference to his ne’er-do-well younger years that purportedly included a stolen car, heroin use, and a gaggle of rough surfer and skater friends, most of whom ended up dead.

“There’s nothing more to write about it—it’s all been written,” Brolin laughed about his well-documented wayward youth.

The story circulating online about his foray into acting began with an improv class in his junior year of high school, and then the role of Stanley in his high school’s production of A Street Car Named Desire. Did it happen that way?

“Sort of,” Brolin admitted. “A lot of that stuff was me fibbing to get work later, so some of it was true—I did have a really great improv teacher—but some was made up. Now I can talk about this, but there’s this perception that because a member of your family is in acting [Brolin’s father is the actor James Brolin], people immediately assume you can get jobs. Well, a family member might be able to get you a job, like a guest role on CSI or something, but they can’t give you a career. When I first started out, I auditioned constantly, but I wasn’t great. I didn’t come out of the gate a talented actor.”

In fact, in his younger years, Brolin had no interest in acting. He didn’t spend much time on his father’s sets, and they didn’t have a lot of actors up to the ranch.

“My mom was much more apt to invite country singers to the ranch. Actors, on a respect level, were not very high in my mom’s point of view. It seemed like a very insecure profession to me. At that age I was interested in law.”


Josh Brolin with his mom, Jane Cameron Agee.


When he did finally take that improv class, the acting bug hit.

“I wasn’t one of those kids who at 4 years old says, ‘I want to be an actor.’ That wasn’t me at all, but when I first started, I got it. I had a lot of fear and a lot of stage fright, but I found when I played a character, that fear went away, and I had an excuse to act and react to the character, and it was great, like a drug—I finally could let go and not think about all the consequences of what was going on in my life and be this other person.”


Catching the acting bug and suddenly having an acting career are not the same things, of course. Yes, Brolin scored the role of Brand, the older brother, in The Goonies (1985).

“I’m gonna hit you so hard that when you wake up your clothes will be out of style,” Brant famously threatened in the cult classic.


The following year he got the lead part of Corey Webster in Thrashin’ (1986), a story about rival skateboard gangs. When he saw the film, however, Brolin thought his performance was terrible. He nearly quit, but instead he kept auditioning.


By 1989, he’d scored the role of James Butler Hickok in the TV series The Young Riders (1989-1992), and the job and a friendship with co-star and character actor Anthony Zerbe (American Hustle, Papillon, The Dead Zone, Cool Hand Luke) changed his life and career.

While his castmates were spending their three-month annual hiatus trying to score film roles, Zerbe encouraged Brolin to do theater.


“Anthony Zerbe, who’s still my best friend, told me to get my ass to Rochester, N.Y., to do a play on my hiatus, and that’s what I did for four or five years. The natural trajectory was to use your hiatus to do a film, but theater work turned out to be the best thing that ever happened, and he [Zerbe] turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. During that time, I found the ability to lose myself in a character and to understand the bigger psychological and sociological implications of each role.”


The big break

If you look at Brolin’s pre-No Country for Old Men filmography, it looks as if he was working constantly, but he paints a different picture of his early years.



Josh Brolin’s first role, filmed when he was 16, was in the Richard Donner-directed ‘The Goonies,’ with a story by Steven Spielberg and a screenplay by Chris Columbus.

“It looks like a lot of work, but it wasn’t. There were a lot of small roles, and I wasn’t being paid a lot because I didn’t have a lot of value as a commodity. For instance, Flirting with Disaster [1996, with Ben Stiller and Patricia Arquette] was an art film and it wasn’t very profitable.”


After his foray into TV, he went on to roles in films such as Nightwatch (1997, with Ewan McGregor), Mimic (1997, with Mira Sorvino), The Mod Squad (1999, with Claire Danes), and Hollow Man (2000, with Kevin Bacon).

He also had a pivotal role in Into the Blue (2005, with Paul Walker and Jessica Alba), and an important part in the “Planet Terror” segment of Grindhouse (2007, with Jeff Fahey, Michael Biehn, and Bruce Willis), and then No Country for Old Men (2007, with Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem) became a surprise hit.


“You never really know what’s going to work. Did we think No Country was going to be a hit? Not in the least. They hired a Spanish guy that American audiences didn’t know, and Tommy had been doing a lot of movies but he wasn’t exactly a big star anymore. Javier I knew from some small art house films, and who am I? Nobody. It all should have gone horribly wrong, man. I had the same experience on Sicario [2015, with Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro]. After we wrapped filming, I was talking to Benicio and director of photography Roger Deakins, and we were like, ‘Oh well, we tried.’ Then we saw the movie.”



In ‘Labor Day,’ a depressed single mother falls for a wounded and escaped convict played by Josh Brolin.

The film about an idealistic FBI agent (Blunt) who’s enlisted to help a secret taskforce trying to disrupt the Mexican drug trade was a surprise hit, and Brolin and Del Toro recently wrapped filming a follow-up in New Mexico and Mexico, called Soldado, scheduled for release later this year.


“You really never know,” Brolin admitted. “Movies you think are good don’t go anywhere and one’s you think are a flop … they hit.”


No Country for Old Men, the 2008 Academy Award-winning Best Picture, suddenly made Brolin into a hot Hollywood commodity, and all you need to know about his long-lasting affinity for the Central Coast is the scene in which Brolin, as Llewelyn Moss, wears a Templeton High School jacket. Brolin lobbied directors Joel and Ethan Coen to include the jacket in the film. You can take the man out of the Central Coast, but you can’t take the Central Coast out of the man.


The Brolin spread

After Brolin’s parents—James, now married to Barbra Streisand, and his mother Jane Cameron Agee, a wildlife activist—divorced, he lived on the ranch with his mother, who passed away when he was in his 20s, when he took over running the ranch in 1995.

“My mom didn’t have a lot of money, and the ranch had heavy liens on it. I learned a lot from running it. I’ve always been a numbers guy, and I started doing some stock trading. I raised my kids there, but in 2004, I sold it. It was the top of the market, I wasn’t acting a lot then, and it seemed like a smart thing to do.”



In ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,’ Josh Brolin plays Dwight, a private detective who keeps falling for the wrong woman.


Brolin used the proceeds of the sale to invest further. He made a killing in the stock market, and that coupled with his No Country success put him in a position to reacquire the property, which he did in 2010.


“I overpaid for it, but I don’t care,” Brolin confided. “The place is special to me.”

Brolin truly feels connected to SLO County. When he’s not on location working, it’s his home.


“We’re really tucked back into a corner of Adelaida, and we’re surrounded by old-school Paso families whose roots go way back. We’re sort of the newest of that gang, but we’re very much a part of the gang, which I appreciate very much. I’ve tried to leave the area a couple times, but I always get pulled back, like the mafia. They pull you back in.”

Brolin now shares the ranch with his new bride, model Kathryn Boyd, whom he married last year. Judging from his Instagram account, they’re madly in love.

“We are, man,” Brolin said. “It’s not a bullshit presentation. We’re really happy, and it was a really wonderful wedding.”


Becoming a consummate actor

Brolin used to dismiss vocal coaches and the trappings of “serious” acting—he was more of a “just do it” guy—but these days as he’s stretched himself into more challenging roles, for instance as Hollywood fixer Eddie Mannix in the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar! (2016) with George Clooney, he’s realized the importance of preparation. In the film, he changed his voice, his mannerisms, and his walk. He was like a person transformed in the role.

“Now, every role I take on, I think of it like going back to school. Right now I’m preparing to play [country singer] George Jones [in the 2018 film George and Tammy, directed by Taylor Hackford and co-starring Jessica Chastain], so I’ve been taking guitar and singing lessons. It’s like going to college and getting a degree.”



In his third collaboration with famed directors the Coen Brothers after his star turn in ‘No Country for Old Men’ and his role in the remake of ‘True Grit,’ Josh Brolin played Eddie Mannix in the ’50s-era Hollywood homage ‘Hail, Caesar!’

Frequently typecast as a tough guy, Brolin is landing increasingly different roles.

“Look, you have a certain physicality, you know? You don’t look at me and think, ‘He’s definitely a rom-com kind of guy.’ Physically you have a certain niche, and as an actor you try to stretch yourself away from that look that fills a certain archetype. I’ve been lucky to do comedies like W. [2008, where he played George W. Bush in a film directed by Oliver Stone] and a Woody Allen film [You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, 2010].”


He’s also started to forgive himself for some of his early performances.

“I just think that every role requires something different. Even with Thrashin’, which I saw at 18 and thought, ‘Get out of this business and save people from the horrible pain of your bad acting,’ I’ve had people come up and say, ‘Dude, you changed my life. I grew up with drug addict parents and watching that film got me into skateboarding and changed my life,’ so I don’t judge anymore. Different films speak to different people.”

He’s also found he loves the hard work of really digging into a role.


“I’m lucky to have a good voice and I’m good at mimicry, so with Eddie Mannix, he was a different kind of role and doing his voice wasn’t easy. It was New Jersey and Abbott and Costello. I actually rented a theater in LA and treated the script like a play. Even before we began working with the Coens, the other actors and I would rehearse, and I have to say, this part of the process I enjoy more than anything. It’s like building a house. Planning to build your house is amazing, and living in the house after it’s built is amazing, but building the house is a pain in the ass. Acting is a lot of work and a lot of trial and error; it can be an embarrassing thing, things can not be working, but you keep going, and you find the magic in that not working and the reaction to it. It’s like painting a picture—sometimes an accident is the best part. But acting is truly a profession of humiliation.”


2017 #SLOIFF Surf Nite – Between Land & Sea

Posted by Larry Gleeson


Presented by San Luis Obispo Collection

Also sponsored by Apple Farm, City of Pismo Beach, Cliffs Resort, Quality Suites of San Luis Obispo, Sea Venture Resort, Coast 104.5, and Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa.

Directed by SLO Film Fest alum, Ross Whitaker (his short Bye Bye Now screened at SLO Film Fest in 2010) Between Land and Sea,  screening March 17th at 7 PM in the stunning Art Deco inspired Fremont Theater, chronicles a year in the life of an Irish surf town at the mercy of the Atlantic Ocean.

Against the backdrop of Ireland’s stunning west coast, this film digs deep into the day to day lives of the surf community, taking the audience beyond the bluster of the typical adrenaline fueled film to create a very real portrait of those who choose the surf lifestyle.

Irish Big Wave surfer Ollie O’Flaherty will be in attendance, along with the Irish Patagonia surf ambassador, Tom Doidge-Harrison. Both are featured throughout the film and will be traveling to San Luis Obispo for the Premiere.

And if that’s not enough for you, the evening will begin with a short called CHANDLER’S ARK, about Scott Chandler’s quest to put a record number of dogs on a surf board and have them catch a wave! It’s entertaining, amazing and…no dogs were harmed in the making of that film.

But wait there’s more…

Coast 104.5’s Adam Monteil will host the event! Join Surf Nite special guests, visiting filmmakers, and fellow Surf Nite attendees at an After-party in the Festival VIP tent after the movie and Q&A. $10 and a Surf Nite wristband is the cover charge for beer, wine and snacks in the Filmmakers tent.

Get your tickets here!

Surf Nite 2015 at the SLO Film Fest in downtown San Luis Obispo, Calif. The Art Deco inspired Fremont Theater hosts this epic wave event. Lining the street each year are a collection of classic surfing rides. An event and sight not to be missed! (Photo via


*To learn more about SLOIFF click here.

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 9.34.04 AM


#SLOIFF is vamping up for its 2017 Opening Night

Posted by Larry Gleeson.

The 23rd San Luis Obispo SLO Film Fest (SLOIFF) is vamping up for its Opening Night. After last year’s mesmerizing Opening Night Film, Nosferatu, this year’s fest is starting with Academy Award Nominee Leslie Iwerks’ new documentary on New Orleans famed restaurateur Ella Brennan, “ELLA BRENNAN: Commanding the Table.” The Brennan family is the first family of restauranting in NOLA. Three generations of the iconic Brennan family operate and run 17 dining establishments!

The Brennan family’s Commander’s Palace Couples Dining Room in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo via

The Festival Headquarters, located at 1003 Osos St. (corner of Monterey), is open for business. According to the festivals’ website,, “the Festival Ticket Mistresses look forward to helping you with ticket and pass purchases, and festival information.” Click here for the Festival Headquarters hours.

This year promises to be the biggest and best festival yet!

To learn more about SLOIFF click here.

More from #SLOIFF

We are proud of the great lineup of films and panels at this year’s SLO Film Fest that celebrate women in diverse ways. Highlighting inspiring and talented role models, strong protagonists and just all-round cool chicks, check out this must-see selection in this year’s program: Equal Means Equal Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table A Tribute to Debbie Reynolds […]

via SLO Film Fest celebrates Int’l Women’s Day with movies and panels! — San Luis Obispo International Film Festival


Posted by Larry Gleeson

Located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, surrounded by lush vineyards, ranchland and a 100-mile coastline, the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF) is headquartered in the quaint, sophisticated downtown of San Luis Obispo on the spectacular Central Coast of California. As a premiere 6-day annual event, the SLOIFF showcases contemporary and classic film screenings in a wide variety of venues, from the city’s classic art deco Fremont Theatre, to the popular independent Palm Theatre, with a variety of unexpected venues from the wine country of Paso Robles to the seaside towns of Avila Beach and Pismo Beach.

This year marks the 23rd year for the festival with run dates of March 14-19. Tickets and passes are still available here.

That being said variety is the spice of life, and the SLOIFF is proud to embrace that philosophy in its programming. From cutting edge documentaries to tried and true cinema classics, the SLOIFF celebrates film on the ‘big screen’ by offering something for everyone. Experience HOLLYWOOD & VINES EVENTS that pair excellent local wines with film classics. Or the RED CARPET EVENTS, where celebrities from Hollywood filmmakers to action sports legends are welcomed.

This year’s Opening Night is blasting off with a New Orleans style theme party followed by Leslie Iwerks new film, “ELLA BRENNAN: Commanding the Table,” about one of New Orleans’ most famous restaurants, Commander’s Palace. The evening is sponsored by Jim Sargen, Taste Buds, The Krush 92.5, Cafe Musique and the following restaurants & caterers:

Baklava RoyaleThe Spoon TradeGiuseppe’s, ChipwreckedPapi’s GrillBunn Thai, The Cracked CrabEfren’s Mexican RestaurantJeffery’s CateringApple FarmOki Momo Asian GrillVivant Fine CheesesSurfside Deli, and Bon Temps Creole Cafe

And libations from: Amplify WinesBaker and Brian, Barrel House BrewingField RecordingsOpolo VineyardKynsi WineryCass Winery, The Central RoastTimbre Wines, Puffers of Pismo, Robin Bogue formerly of William James, Summerland Wines, Cambria Wines, Talley Vineyards and M Special Brewing Company.

And afterward Opening night enjoy premieres of INDEPENDENT FILMS – films that you may not have a chance to see anywhere else. Filmmakers from all over the world attend the Festival and offer informative Q & A sessions after the screening of their films.Last year’s Borrowed Time made it all the way to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 2017 Oscars as an animated short.

This is a film festival and locale on the move within the filmmaking world. If you haven’t made it yet, get there. You’ll be glad you did! Check out this year’s Lineup and create your own film viewing schedule. I did.

See you at the cinema!

SLOIFF MISSION STATEMENT: To entertain, educate and inspire film-goers and filmmakers. Movies Matter!

SLOIFF VISION STATEMENT: The SLOIFF will continue to grow in importance as a successful regional event, providing cultural and economic benefit to San Luis Obispo County by promoting the concept that “Movies Matter” and that the art of film is a cultural force with the capacity to transform lives of individuals and society at large, we will nurture new filmmakers, attract new audiences, and develop film-related youth outreach and education programs. We will expand collaboration with other community non-profits, and the local hospitality and wine industries with events that emphasize the uniqueness of our area.