Category Archives: #SLOFilmFest

THE 2021 SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FILMMAKER AWARD WINNERS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

THE 2021 SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

ANNOUNCES FILMMAKER AWARD WINNERS

Xuan Liu’s BLOOM wins Best Narrative Feature, with Lisa Molomot and Jeff Bemiss’ MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY
and Paul Michael Angeli’s MEDICINE MAN: THE STAN BROCK STORY sharing the Best Documentary Feature Award

Silje Salomonsen and Arild Ostin Ommundsen’s SISTERS: THE
SUMMER WE FOUND OUR SUPERPOWERS wins the Audience
Award for Best Narrative Feature

Judith Ehrlich’s THE BOYS
WHO SAID NO! wins the Audience Award for Best Documentary
Feature, while MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY adds to its haul with the Best in Fest honor

San Luis Obispo, CA (March 17, 2021) – The 2021 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival announced this year’s filmmaker award winners during a virtual presentation with more than 150 filmmakers and jury members participating. Winners of their jury awards for the popular film festival included Xuan Liu’s BLOOM (Best Narrative Feature) and Lisa Molomot and Jeff Bemiss’ MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY and Paul Michael Angeli’s MEDICINE MAN: THE STAN BROCK STORY (Tie for Best Documentary Feature). Audience Award winners were topped by Silje Salomonsen and Arild Ostin Ommundsen’s SISTERS: THE SUMMER WE FOUND OUR SUPERPOWERS, chosen as Best Narrative Feature, Judith Ehrlich’s THE BOYS WHO SAID NO!, Best Documentary Feature, with MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY taking the Best of Fest award.

 

While this year’s hybrid edition of the popular film festival winds down with encore screenings of the award winners concluding on Wednesday, SLO Film Fest saw increased numbers of virtual viewers this year thanks – in part – to the film festival’s addition of its Short Films, Big Voices: A Program of Diverse Voices programming and a series of panels that invited discussion on issues relating to diversity and racial equity, establishing SLO Film Fest as more than a willing participant in those necessary conversations, but taking the next step to host and lead them as well.

In addition, this year saw a huge turnout to a first-time drive-in edition of its signature Surf Nite surfing movies presentation – even with a day’s postponement due to rain, as well as its first in-person event in more than a year – a Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase event held at SLO Brew Rock. Central Coast film fans clearly were enthusiastic to see what was on tap this year, be it virtual or in-person.

San Luis Obispo International Film Festival Director Skye McLennan,

San Luis Obispo International Film Festival Director Skye McLennan, said, “We were thrilled to welcome back so many from our film festival family and have the opportunity to see several at the drive-in and in-person, just as it was exciting to once again introduce people from all over the state of California to see our films and get a taste of what makes SLO Film Fest so special. We look forward to some of them making the trip to join us in beautiful San Luis Obispo next year.”

 

Additional winners in the George Sidney Independent Film Awards category included; Meital Cohen Navarro’s OVER MY DEAD BODY (Best Narrative Short Film); Jacob Reed’s FULL PICTURE and Dana Frankoff’s VOICE ABOVE WATER (tied for Best Documentary Short Film); Best Animated Film selection KAPAEMAHU from directors Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson; and Best Student Film, SOUS LA GRACE, from the directing team of Luce Grosjean, Ismail Berrahma, Flore Dupont, Laurie Estampes, Quentin Nory, and Hugo Potin.

Other films to win the audiences’ favor included; Jacob Reed’s GUM (Best Narrative Short Film); Kris Bowers and Ben Proudfoot A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION (Best Documentary Short Film); Miranda Winters and Rocky Romano’s WE CAN’T BREATHE (Best Music Video); and Justice Whitaker’s RESTRICTIONS APPLY (Best Central Coast Film).

Winners of the Central Coast Filmmaker Awards were; Chris Hite and Dennis Ford’s FIRESTORM ‘77: THE TRUE STORY OF THE HONDA CANYON FIRE (Best Feature Length Film); Alix Angelis’ comedy SÉANCE-ING (Best Narrative Short Film); Nick Cavalier’s BODEGA DE EDGAR (Best Documentary Short Film); and Jo Anna Edmison’s stylish documentary, STOKE CHASERS (Best Student Film). The Music Video category was singled out for awards including Miranda Winters and Rocky Romano’s WE CAN’T BREATHE (Best Overall); Taisia Deeva’s PARACHUTE with music by Paul Kalkbrenner (Best International); and Casey Wieber’s INSUFFERABLE with music by Heart to Heart (Best SLO County).

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival also continued its traditional support of the development of student filmmakers with SLO’s Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase. Award winners included; Jacob Pincus’ LAST STOP (Best Narrative Film); Akash Dewan’s WE ARE THE REVOLUTION (Best Documentary Film); Emmanuel Li’s MUSIC FOR THE END OF THE WORLD (Best International Film); Phoebe Mitchem’s AMPLITUDE OF THOUGHTS (Best SLO County Film); and Piotr Kazmierczak’s SYSTEM ERROR (Best Animated Film).

SLO Film Fest’s jury winners were selected by an impressive lineup of film influencers and professionals, including journalists  Richard Propes (The Independent Critic), Rebecca Pahle (Boxoffice Pro), Tim Molloy (MovieMaker Magazine), Jack Moulton (Letterboxd), Glen Starkey (New Times), and Kirk Honeycutt (Former Film Critic, Hollywood Reporter), filmmakers Beth & George Gage (A HOME CALLED NEBRASKA, BIDDER 70), Sky Bergman (LIVES WELL LIVED), and Patrick Lawler (BLEEDING AUDIO) and industry veterans Erica Thompson (Executive Director, Ashland Film Festival), Logan Taylor (Acquisitions, Screen Media Ventures), Robin Robinson (Programmer, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival & Mountainfilm), and Ryan Suffern (Head of Documentaries, Lucasfilm).

 

Closing Night featured the presentation of San Luis Obispo’s own Brittany App’s directorial debut, WHERE THERE ONCE WAS WATER. Along with the virtual presentation of the call-to-action documentary looking at growing water shortages and how communities are taking steps to head off a potential crisis in the future, SLO Film Fest also put together an impressive panel including; Kandi (Mossett) White (Native Energy and Climate Campaign Coordinator, Indigenous Environmental Network), Kate Lundquist (Co-Director of the WATER Institute & the “Bring Back the Beaver” Campaign, Occidental Arts & Ecology Center), Jason Haas (Partner & General Manager, Tablas Creek Vineyard), and Chief Caleen Sisk (Spiritual Leader and Tribal Chief of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe) joining App to add further depth to the discussion of the film and the issues it presents. It was a fitting capstone to an edition of the film festival that saw it continue its growth from an annual favorite of local film fans to an organization and event accepting the mantle of community arts and activism leader, giving a platform to energized diverse voices.

 

The 2021 San Luis Obispo Film Festival Award Winners:

GEORGE SIDNEY INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS

BLOOM – Best Narrative Feature

Director: Xuan Liu

 

MEDICINE MAN: THE STAN BROCK STORY – Best Documentary Feature (TIE)

Director: Paul Michael Angeli

 

MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY – Best Documentary Feature (TIE)

Directors: Lisa Molomot, Jeff Bemiss

 

OVER MY DEAD BODY – Best Narrative Short Film
Director: Meital Cohen Navarro


FULL PICTURE – Best Documentary Short Film (TIE)

Director: Jacob Reed

 

VOICE ABOVE WATER – Best Documentary Short Film (TIE)
Director: Dana Frankoff

 

KAPAEMAHU – Best Animated Film

Directors: Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson

 

SOUS LA GRACE – Best Student Film
Directors: Luce Grosjean, Ismail Berrahma, Flore Dupont, Laurie Estampes, Quentin Nory, Hugo Potin

 

AUDIENCE AWARDS

MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY – Best in Fest (Highest Score)

Directors: Lisa Molomot, Jeff Bemiss

 

SISTERS: THE SUMMER WE FOUND OUR SUPERPOWERS – Best Narrative Feature

Directors: Silje Salomonsen, Arild Ostin Ommundsen

 

THE BOYS WHO SAID NO! – Best Documentary Feature
Director: Judith Ehrlich

 

GUM – Best Narrative Short Film

Director: Jacob Reed

 

A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION – Best Documentary Short Film
Directors: Kris Bowers, Ben Proudfoot

 

WE CAN’T BREATHE – Best Music Video

Directors: Miranda Winters, Rocky Romano

 

RESTRICTIONS APPLY – Best Central Coast Film
Director: Justice Whitaker

 

CENTRAL COAST FILMMAKER AWARDS

FIRESTORM ‘77: THE TRUE STORY OF THE HONDA CANYON FIRE – Best Feature Length Film

Directors: Chris Hite, Dennis Ford

 

SÉANCE-ING – Best Narrative Short Film

Director: Alix Angelis


BODEGA DE EDGAR – Best Documentary Short Film

Director: Nick Cavalier


STOKE CHASERS – Best Student Film

Director: Jo Anna Edmison

 

MUSIC VIDEOS

WE CAN’T BREATHE – Best Overall

Directors: Miranda Winters, Rocky Romano

 

PARACHUTE – Best International

Director: Taisia Deeva

Music: Paul Kalkbrenner

 

INSUFFERABLE – Best SLO County

Director: Casey Wieber

Music: Heart to Heart

 

FILMMAKERS OF TOMORROW SHOWCASE

LAST STOP – Best Narrative Film

Director: Jacob Pincus

 

WE ARE THE REVOLUTION – Best Documentary Film

Director: Akash Dewan

 

MUSIC FOR THE END OF THE WORLD – Best International Film

Director: Emmanuel Li

 

AMPLITUDE OF THOUGHTS – Best SLO County Film

Director: Phoebe Mitchem

 

SYSTEM ERROR – Best Animated Film

Director: Piotr Kazmierczak

 

ABOUT SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

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 film festival’s thoughtful audiences and unique programming sensibility.

 *Featured Photo by J Kevin O’Connor

PRESS CONTACT

John Wildman, Wildworks PR

FilmsGoneWild.com

jswildman@hotmail.com

The 2021 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival Announces A Program of Diverse Voices

Posted by Larry Gleeson

PRESS RELEASE

Film festival teams with City of San Luis Obispo to
amplify discussions of inclusion and racial equity

San Luis Obispo, CA (March 8, 2021) – On the eve of the 27th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (March 9-14), SLO Film Fest teams with the City of San Luis Obispo to highlight the brand new free-to-the-public Short Films, Big Stories: A Program of Diverse Voices, designed to amplify discussions of inclusion and racial equity in the arts and elsewhere.

As the film festival begins the transition process to bringing back beloved events like Wednesday night’s Surf Nite celebration, which will be held at the Sunset Drive-in (255 Elks Lane), Festival Director Skye McLennan and Artistic Director Wendy Eidson have also worked to take more of a leadership approach regarding engaging the community and connecting them with filmmakers and notable speakers in the interest of furthering discussion and inspiring change in terms of illuminating the issues, concerns, and hopes among an array of under-represented groups.

 

San Luis Obispo Film Festival Director Skye McLennan

San Luis Obispo Film Festival Director Skye McLennan said, “The intent of this program is to continue to be a platform for diverse voices in our community of San Luis Obispo. The murder of George Floyd last year and the increase in the Black Lives Matter protests that followed only amplified the need for more diversity within the arts and how crucially important representation can be. We designed this program to be free and accessible to all and an opportunity for all audiences to fall in love with film festivals and the power of the cinema. This collection of films and panels aims to inspire, stimulate and engage our community and others to participate in creating change. Through the grant received by the City of SLO we are able to pay the filmmakers, programmers, and panelists and this is something we hope to continue to expand and grow and be able to offer more opportunities in the future.”

 

Programmed by Courtney Haile, the Co-Founder of R.A.C.E Matters, Short Films, Big Stories: A Program of Diverse Voices, the short film program features both narrative and documentary films from BIPOC filmmakers, whose visions amplify unique stories and experiences. The accompanying panel discussions promise lively conversations from both grassroots and studio motion picture creative change-makers.

The films include; Kris Bowers and Ben Proudfoot’s A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION, about a virtuoso jazz pianist and film composer who tracks his family’s lineage through his 91-year-old grandfather from Jim Crow Florida to the Walt Disney Concert Hall; Orion Rose Kelly and Pedro Cota’s IN THEIR FIGHT, which follows a group of women bravely fighting back as they track the growing violence, learn self-defense, and challenge the systems failing to keep them safe; Keith Powell’s IN WHITE PLACES, about a young black man receiving a mysterious package upon moving into a new community; Jess de la Merced’s PHONY, which focuses on a young Asian American woman with anger issues trying to keep in together during a shopping trip with her mom; and Ciara Lacy’s THIS IS THE WAY WE RISE, which follows a Native Hawaiian slam poet who utilizes her art to protect sacred mountaintop sites atop Maunakea, Hawaii.

Virtual free-to-the-public panels include From the Bottom Up: Building Representation in Film on Thursday, March 11 at 6:00PM PST, with film experts discussing ways to build racial equity and diversity from production to distribution, and Power of Media to Promote Social Justice on Saturday, March 13 at 4:00PM PST, which will bring together local organizations to talk about the power and pros and cons of media for activism.

 

SLO Film Fest also announced an impressive lineup of jury members, including journalists  Richard Propes (The Independent Critic), Rebecca Pahle (Boxoffice Pro), Tim Molloy (MovieMaker Magazine), Jack Moulton (Letterboxd), Glen Starkey (New Times), and Kirk Honeycutt (Former Film Critic, Hollywood Reporter), filmmakers Beth & George Gage (A HOME CALLED NEBRASKA, BIDDER 70), Sky Bergman (LIVES WELL LIVED), and Patrick Lawler (BLEEDING AUDIO) and industry veterans Erica Thompson (Executive Director, Ashland Film Festival), Logan Taylor (Acquisitions, Screen Media Ventures), Robin Robinson (Programmer, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival & Mountainfilm), and Ryan Suffern (Head of Documentaries, Lucasfilm).

Passes are now on sale and information on the film festival can be found at https://slofilmfest.org.

 

SHORT FILMS, BIG STORIES: A PROGRAM OF DIVERSE VOICES

A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION

Directors: Kris Bowers, Ben Proudfoot

Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min

 

IN THEIR FIGHT

Directors: Orion Rose Kelly, Pedro Cota

Country: USA/Brazil, Running Time: 23 min

 

IN WHITE PLACES

Director: Keith Powell

Countries: USA, Running Time: 10 min

 

PHONY

Director: Jess de la Merced

Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min

 

THIS IS THE WAY WE RISE

Director: Ciara Lacy

Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min

 

FREE PANELS

From the Bottom Up: Building Representation in Film

Thursday, March 11 at 6:00PM PST (virtual presentation)

Film experts discuss ways to to build racial equity and diversity from production to distribution.

Moderator: Brian Khan (Director of Strategic Partnerships and Engagement, Full Spectrum Features)

Panelists include:

Sohini Sengupta (Group Creative Director, Amazon Studios)

Ivette Rodriguez (Founder, American Entertainment Marketing)

Fanshen Cox (Actor, One Drop of Love & Producer and Development Executive, Pearl Street Films)

 

Power of Media to Promote Social Justice

Saturday, March 13 at 4:00PM (virtual presentation)

Discussions with local organizations on the power and pros and cons of media for activism.

Moderator: Fanshen Cox (Actor, One Drop of Love & Producer and Development Executive, Pearl Street Films)

Panelists include:

Harold Brown (Lorde Santcus) (Music Licensing, Connect the Coast)

Alisa Heraldo (Co-Founder, Community Roots Project)

Courtney Haile (Co-Founder, R.A.C.E Matters)

Karen Garcia (Editor, New Times)

 

2021 SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FF JURY

 Narrative Features

Richard Propes (Founder & Film Critic, The Independent Critic)

Erica Thompson (Executive Director, Ashland Film Festival)

Logan Taylor (Acquisitions, Screen Media Ventures & Professor, Austin Community College)

 

Documentary Features

Beth & George Gage (Directors, A HOME CALLED NEBRASKA, BIDDER 70)

Rebecca Pahle (Deputy Editor, Boxoffice Pro)

María Elena de las Carreras (Lecturer, Cal State Northridge, UCLA)

 

Narrative Shorts

Robin Robinson (Programmer, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival & Mountainfilm)

Kirk Honeycutt (Former Film Critic, Hollywood Reporter)

Jon Eidson (Writer/Actor, Extremely Decent)

 

Documentary Shorts

Tim Molloy (Editor-in-Chief, MovieMaker Magazine)

Jack Moulton (Contributing Writer, Letterboxd)

Ryan Suffern (Head of Documentaries, Lucasfilm)

Sky Bergman (Director, LIVES WELL LIVED & Professor, Cal Poly)

 

Music Videos
Suzanne Schonig (Program Director, American General Media)
Glen Starkey (Journalist, New Times)
David Hardberger (SLO Film Fest Board of Directors)
Patrick Lawler (Cinematographer/Visual Effects, BLEEDING AUDIO)

Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase:
Jody Nelson (Director, IRON BOY, HERO OF THE GAME)
Cindy Kitagawa (Writer, COAST & Festival Programmer)
Wendy Eidson (Artistic Director, SLO Film Fest)

Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase:
Grace Tucker (Industry Relations Coordinator, SLO Film Fest)
Nancy Ross-Joynt (Former Coordinator, SLO Film Fest)

 

ABOUT SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

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 film festival’s thoughtful audiences and unique programming sensibility.

PRESS CONTACT

John Wildman, Wildworks PR,                                   jswildman@hotmail.com                                                                                           (323) 600-3165                                                                          FilmsGoneWild.com

 

 

The 27th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival announces this year’s film lineup

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 2021 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival

Announces Film Lineup

(March 9-14)

 

 

Philippe Falardeau’s MY SALINGER YEAR is the Opening Night

selection and Brittany App’s WHERE THERE ONCE WAS WATER

will make its US Premiere on Closing Night.

 

Surf Nite returns to SLO Film Fest at the Drive-in

 

San Luis Obispo, CA (February 10, 2021) – The 27th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (March 9-14) announced this year’s film lineup including the Opening Night selection of Philippe Falardeau’s drama MY SALINGER YEAR, starring Margaret Qualley and Sigourney Weaver, and the US premiere of local photographer Brittany App’s environmental documentary WHERE THERE ONCE WAS WATER on Closing Night. The festival will primarily be a virtual presentation, following the success of last year’s edition in the virtual space. However, SLO Film Fest’s signature Surf Nite event will be held at the Sunset Drive-in (255 Elks Lane), marking the first in-person event for the film festival since March 2019.

This year’s film lineup will feature 111 presentations, including 30 feature films (10 narrative, 20 documentary), 63 short films, and 18 music videos.

“Following last year’s whirlwind experience to shift our film festival to an online presentation seemingly overnight due to the onset of the pandemic, it’s a gift to know that the same dedication we put into selecting our films is matched by the SLO Film Fest audience’s anticipation to see them – virtually or in-person. But safety is still the priority, so while we will all go to the drive-in for Surf Nite, the rest of the time, we will once again be coming into our film faithful’s homes to deliver the best movies we could find,” said San Luis Obispo Film Festival Director Skye McLennan.

San Luis Obispo Film Festival Director Skye McLennan

 

Falardeau’s MY SALINGER YEAR is toplined by one of the hottest young actresses (Margaret Qualley, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD), and one of the most distinctively singular actresses, Sigourney Weaver in film today. It’s a tale of a young woman who takes a job working for an old-style literary agent whose chief client is J.D. Salinger. The struggling writer-to-be starts to discover her own voice as she begins personalizing the responses to his fan mail.

 

Brittany App’s WHERE THERE ONCE WAS WATER marks the photographer’s return to the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, where she could frequently be seen in years’ past catching the directors and stars on the red carpet. Now, she is the director making her feature film debut with a documentary about our personal relationship with water, an increasingly finite resource in need of fresh new approaches to conservation and perhaps even, appreciation for the role it plays in our lives.

 

THE ENDLESS SUMMER

SLO Film Fest’s one-of-a-kind surfing film event will be presented on Wednesday, March 10 at the Sunset Drive-In with a double feature of Brent Storm’s new WHITE RHINO and Bruce Brown’s all-time surfing classic THE ENDLESS SUMMER (1965). WHITE RHINO features the surfers and the photographers who followed them during three historic swells hitting the beaches of the South Pacific in 2011-12. Brown’s THE ENDLESS SUMMER, which follows two young surfers chasing the perfect wave, maybe the most iconic surfing documentary ever made. Surf Nite will also include the traditional appearance of some classic 60’s surfing autos to add to the atmosphere of what could be called the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” for the surfing film lover.

 

BLOOM, THE DOG WHO WOULDN’T BE QUIET, SIX MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT

Additional highlights among the narrative features include; Xuan Liu’s exquisite Chinese love story BLOOM told through a conversation a man has with his younger self; Ana Katz’s Argentinian drama THE DOG WHO WOULDN’T BE QUIET about a man dealing with life’s curve balls, makes its first post-Sundance stop at SLO Film Fest; frequent indie film presence Joshua Leonard steps behind the camera for the comedy FULLY REALIZED HUMANS which takes a look at a couple trying to exhaust their bucket list experiences before impending parenthood; Cassio Pereira dos Santos’ Brazilian drama VALENTINA follows a transgender teen trying to make a fresh start at a new school after having been bullied at the last one; and a Special Presentation of  Andy Goddard’s SIX MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT. Starring Eddie Izzard and Judi Dench, the drama follows the conflict when a new teacher (Izzard) tries to raise the alarm after arriving at a posh finishing school that is training the daughters of Nazis to be ambassadors for the coming Third Reich.

 

AHEAD OF THE CURVE, BLEEDING AUDIO, MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY

Documentaries are featured in the special presentations of Jen Rainin and Rivkah Beth Meadow’s AHEAD OF THE CURVE about the history of Curve Magazine, which became a lesbian cultural institution, and Judith Ehrlich’s THE BOYS WHO SAID NO! which explores the Selective Service System, the federal justice system, and the prosecution and trials of war resisters. Other highlights in a typically strong SLO Film Fest documentary lineup include; Aurélia Rouvier and Seamus Haley’s BANKSY: MOST WANTED which explores the elusive identity of the rogue street artist; Chelsea Christer’s award-winning BLEEDING AUDIO, which chronicles the rise and disbanding of 90s rock group The Matches; and Lisa Molomot and Jeff Bemiss’ MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY, another award-winner, which looks at the tragic side of the immigration crisis, through the eyes of families of missing loved ones that have never been found.

 

The San Luis Obispo International Film festival will once again put local filmmakers on a pedestal via its always-popular Central Coast Showcase, encourage the filmmaking ambitions of elementary, middle school, and high school students with its Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase, and put an added emphasis of inclusion and diversity with the introduction of its Short Films, Big Stories: A Program of Diverse Voices section.

Passes are now on sale and information on the film festival can be found at https://slofilmfest.org.

 

The 2021 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival official selections:

Opening Night Selection

MY SALINGER YEAR

Director: Philippe Falardeau

Country: USA, Running Time: 101 min

In New York City’s late nineties, a young aspiring writer lands a day-job at J.D. Salinger’s literary agency. While her eccentric and old-fashioned boss tasks her to process Salinger’s voluminous fan mail, she struggles to find her own voice.

 

Closing Night Selection

WHERE THERE ONCE WAS WATER

Director: Brittany App

Country: USA, Running Time: 74 min

A story about water. A song for the sacred in all of us. A documentary centered on solutions. WHERE THERE ONCE WAS WATER takes a look at the driest of places – California and the Southwest USA – and the deepest of spaces – our inner worlds. It presents an invitation to change our perspective and heal our relationship with water … one watershed, one meal, one raindrop, at a time.

 

SURF NITE

WHITE RHINO

Director: Brent Storm

Country: USA, Running Time: 64 min

WHITE RHINO is a parallel story from the surfers and photographers who witnessed three historic swells that hit the shorelines of the South Pacific in 2011-2012. Photographer Brian Bielmann takes the audience on an edge of your seat adventure as we discover the stories behind some of his most iconic photos and what really transpired on those memorable days. WHITE RHINO features notable big wave riders Nathan Fletcher, Dave Wassel, Bruce Irons, Mark Healey, Kohl Christensen and Kalani Chapman.

THE ENDLESS SUMMER (1965)

Director: Bruce Brown

Country: USA, Running Time: 95 min

The crown jewel to ten years of Bruce Brown surfing documentaries. Brown follows two young surfers around the world in search of the perfect wave, and ends up finding quite a few in addition to some colorful local characters.

 

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

AHEAD OF THE CURVE

Directors: Jen Rainin, Rivkah Beth Meadow

Country: US, Running Time: 95 min

From its start in 1990, Curve magazine was a visionary and unapologetic celebration of lesbian life from cover to cover. Facing the magazine’s possible demise in 2019, director Jen Rainin and Curve founder Franco Stevens explore questions of lesbian visibility, legacy, and current day issues through interviews with contemporary LGBTQIA+ tastemakers, “celesbians” including Melissa Etheridge, Jewelle Gomez, Denise Frohman, Kate Kendell, and Lea DeLaria, along with rich archival footage recounting the formation of a lesbian cultural institution.

 

THE BOYS WHO SAID NO!

Director: Judith Ehrlich

Country: USA, Running Time: 90 min

THE BOYS WHO SAID NO! explores the Selective Service System, the federal justice system, and the prosecution and trials of war resisters, showing news footage of anti-war demonstrations and The Resistance’s rising visibility, anti-draft meetings, and smuggled film of resisters serving time in Federal prison as well as the influence of Ghandian nonviolence and the Civil Rights Movement.

 

SIX MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT

Director: Andy Goddard

Countries: Canada/Ireland, Running Time: 99 min.

Eddie Izzard and Judi Dench star in this brand new film directed by Andy Goddard (Downtown Abbey). In the summer of 1939, influential families in Nazi Germany sent their daughters to a finishing school in an English seaside town, run by a strict but humane head mistress (Dench), to learn the language and be ambassadors for the future Nazi state. Eddie Izzard who also co-wrote and produced, plays a new teacher who tries to raise the alarm. But the authorities believe he is the problem. Jim Broadbent plays a supporting character in this fascinating story based on historical facts.

 

 SNEAK PREVIEW SCREENING

ECHOES OF THE EMPIRE: BEYOND GENGHIS KHAN

Director: Robert H. Lieberman

Country: USA, Running Time: 73 min

Film director/novelist Robert H. Lieberman takes us into this vast country little known by many, creating a stunning cinematic view of Mongolia’s past and present. The film leads us through the remarkable evolution of Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire—a realm that once encompassed all of Asia, the Middle East and Europe leading up to the doorsteps of Vienna.

 

 NARRATIVE FEATURES

BLOOM

Director: Xuan Liu

Country: China, Running Time: 90 min

An amazing first film from Xuan Liu, BLOOM is a richly layered, poetic love story that takes place in late 1990s Beijing. Uniquely told through conversations between Mu Ke and his younger self, it weaves together memories, disillusions and hope. Gorgeous cinematography and superb acting help elevate this film into the realm of great art.

 

THE DOG WHO WOULDN’T BE QUIET

Director: Ana Katz

Country: Argentina, Running Time: 73 min

Straight from a World Premiere at Sundance, this charming film from Argentina follows Sebastian, a man in his thirties, who works a series of temporary jobs as he deals with life’s curve balls. He slowly transforms as he encounters love, loss and crisis.

 

FULLY REALIZED HUMANS

Director: Joshua Leonard

Country: USA, Running Time: 74 min

When parents-to-be Elliot and Jackie are confronted with the fear of pending parenthood, they decide to embark on a journey of self-discovery, crossing adventures off their bucket list while they still can. Dealing with the grandparents-to-be is all part of the fun in this hilarious portrait of parenthood in all its iterations.

 

MONKEY BEACH

Director: Loretta Todd

Country: Canada, Running Time: 104 min

Indigenous Canadian filmmaker Loretta Todd has done justice to Eden Robinson’s novel about a complex family story of love, loyalty and spiritual beliefs. Filmed on the coast of British Columbia in the Haisla Nation in Kitamaat, Lisa Hill returns from Vancouver to her family home after visions warn that her brother is in danger.

 

SISTERS: THE SUMMER WE FOUND OUR SUPERPOWERS

Directors: Silje Salomonsen, Arild Ostin Ommundsen

Country: Norway, Running Time: 78 min

Two sisters, ages 9 and 5, go on an exciting outdoor hike with their adventurous dad, but he suddenly has an accident and the girls are left to figure out what to do next. They take us on a childlike journey through the wilderness of Norway as they navigate their way to find help, discovering strength in sisterhood along the way.

 

SMALL TIME

Director: Niav Conty

Country: USA, Running Time: 104 min

SMALL TIME eloquently mixes the sweet innocence of young Emma growing up in rural Pennsylvania, with poverty, the opioid crisis and “the war on terror.” In a stand-out debut performance, Audrey Grace Marshal takes us on an empathetic and darkly humorous journey through family drama exasperated by addiction and trauma.

 

VALENTINA

Director: Cassio Pereira dos Santos

Country: Brazil, Running Time: 95 min

Valentina, 17, moves to rural Brazil with her mother to start fresh, after being bullied at her last high school. When enrolling with her new name, she faces an unexpected dilemma when the new school requires a second parental signature, exposing the real-life hardships that young trans people must endure as they embrace who they are.

 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

ALICE STREET

Director: Spencer I. Wilkinson

Country: USA, Running Time: 96 min

A powerful, colorful display of community and culture is showcased in this battle to preserve Oakland’s downtown from the onslaught of gentrification. A mural comes alive, dedicated to the diverse artists that intersect Alice Street. The community rallies to fight a condo that will obstruct the mural and transform the cultural landscape.

 

 BANKSY: MOST WANTED

Directors: Aurélia Rouvier, Seamus Haley

Country: France, Running Time: 90 min

With Banksy, the prevailing question is not about his art, but something more basic — who is he? How can someone so provocative, and who stirs up so much emotion, manage to stay so hidden? BANKSY: MOST WANTED combines a journalistic approach and love of art in a true modern day whodunnit.

 

BLEEDING AUDIO

Director: Chelsea Christer

Country: USA, Running Time: 91 min

Told through the eyes of quirky, charming and humble bandmates Shawn, Jon, Matt and Justin, Chelsea Christer’s BLEEDING AUDIO is an intimate portrait detailing The Matches’ promising career, defeating break up, and inspiring reunion, as they reflect on what success truly means for musicians in today’s digital industry. A recent Slamdance 2021 pick!

 

THE BOOK MAKERS

Director: James Kennard

Country: USA, Running Time: 58 min

What should books become in the digital age now that they’re freed from the burden of fulfilling tasks like encyclopedias and the Yellow Pages? An eclectic group of people are dedicating their lives to answering that question. This film spins a tale of the enduring vitality of the book in a world where physical pages are being creatively reinvented.

 

LIKE A WOMAN

Director: Gail Mooney

Country: USA, Running Time: 52 min

A helicopter pilot. A Goodyear blimp pilot. All are women with moxie who are succeeding in male-dominated fields in this inspiring film that includes current and former female deans at Cal Poly. “There’s no such thing as a boy thing or a girl thing,” one woman says. “There’s the thing that speaks to you, and if it speaks to you, go out and do it.”

 

MEDICINE MAN: THE STAN BROCK STORY

Director: Paul Michael Angell

Country: UK, Running Time: 96 min

This is the incredible life story of Amazonian cowboy turned U.S. TV star, Stan Brock, who sacrificed everything to bring free healthcare to millions of people in need. It is a heart-warming tribute to the unifying power of volunteerism, and an exploration of a perennial outsider’s search for meaning through selflessness and deep compassion.

 

MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY

Directors: Lisa Molomot, Jeff Bemiss

Country: USA, Running Time: 90 min

This exceptional documentary takes us boldly into an American border town that has been caught in the middle of the daily life and death situation created by our current immigration system. We meet vigilante ranchers, humanitarian activists, Border Patrol and others locked in an endless battle of human rights and politics.

 

THE RACE TO ALASKA

Director: Zach Carver

Country: USA, Running Time: 127 min

Be Safe. Be Bold. Get Over Yourself — is the theme of this 750-mile boat race of a lifetime from Washington to Alaska. Whirlpools, deadly currents, bears and much more test these intrepid mariners to their very limit. The only rule — no engines. The rest is up to the imagination, from state-of-the-art custom craft to a makeshift paddle board.

 

ROAD TO VRINDAVAN

Director: Ravinol Chambers

Country: UK, Running Time: 84 min

On a life-changing journey across India, culture and progress collide as a former Krishna monk re-examines traditional gender roles and the barriers girls face in escaping child marriage and rape. With the obvious need to educate girls, there is the cultural challenge: Will education bring them true equality or transform them into caged butterflies?

 

VAS-Y-COUPE! (WINE CRUSH)

Director: Laura Naylor

Country: USA/France, Running Time: 92 min

A loyal crew of laborers travels from northern France each year to harvest grapes at a small family-owned vineyard. We are privy to the gritty underbelly to the charmed romantic life of the Champagne region. Despite stunning scenery, endless champagne and great food, this is a story of relationships between owners, workers and family.

 

VINYL NATION

Directors: Christopher Boone, Kevin Smokler

Country: USA, Running Time: 90 min

“Everything old is new again!” perfectly sums up the fascinating history of the vinyl record that seemingly vanished into relative obscurity in the 1980s, but is now one of the hottest trends again worldwide. But there’s just something about spinning vinyl, and VINYL NATION does an entertaining deep dive into what that something might be.

 

MOVIES FOR THE HEART AND MIND

Sponsored by The Coastal Awakening / Shanbrom Family Foundation

 

THE FALCONER

Director: Annie Kaempfer

Country: USA, Running Time: 75 min

This is an intimate portrait of master falconer Rodney Stotts on his mission to build a bird sanctuary and provide access to nature for his stressed community. By weaving Rodney’s present-day mission with the story of his past, both deeply rooted in issues of social and environmental injustice, the film reminds us that nature heals.

 

INVITATION TO THE DANCE

Director: Sarah Shoemaker

Country: USA, Running Time: 38 min

Dance teacher Lena Forster introduces us to her adult special-needs ballet class in Greenville, SC where we follow five charming students through a year of dance and life. We get a sensitive and very touching glimpse of a community frequently overlooked, listen to voices frequently unheard and witness the joy of dancing and the arts as it impacts the dancers’ lives.

 

A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL

Director: Aimee Long

Country: USA, Running Time: 88 min

After accidentally killing an unarmed Black man when his gun fires off through an apartment wall, a young Chinese American cop deals with his guilt and begins to unravel as he navigates the charged and complicated worlds of media, justice and racial politics in modern-day New York. The film, drawn from an actual event in Brooklyn, explores systemic racism.

 

SHORT FILMS, BIG STORIES: A PROGRAM OF DIVERSE VOICES

A CONCERTO IS A CONVERSATION

Directors: Kris Bowers, Ben Proudfoot

Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min

 

IN THEIR FLIGHT

Directors: Orion Rose Kelly, Pedro Cota

Country: USA/Brazil, Running Time: 23 min

 

IN WHITE PLACES.

Director: Keith Powell

Countries: USA, Running Time: 10 min

 

PHONY

Director: Jess de la Merced

Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min

 

THIS IS THE WAY WE RISE

Director: Ciara Lacy

Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min

 

 NARRATIVE SHORTS

A PIECE OF CAKE

Director: The Bragg Brothers

Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min

 

ALA KACHUU (TAKE AND RUN)

Director: Maria Brendle

Country: Switzerland, Running Time: 38 min

 

THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF AWESOME

Director: Allison Brownmoore

Country: UK, Running Time: 6 min

 

COFFEE WITH EXES

Director: Brett A. Hart

Country: USA, Running Time: 10 min

 

THE DELIVERY

Director: Dogus Ozokutan

Country: Cyprus, Running Time: 12 min

 

DISTANCE

Director: Shin Sonoda

Country: Japan, Running Time: 22 min

 

EL REGALO (THE GIFT)

Directors: Sheila and Kenneth Vatan-Woodall

Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min

 

EXIT PACKAGE

Director: John Gray

Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min

 

GUM

Director: Jacob Reed

Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min

 

 HANDSCAPE

Director: Yiru Chen

Country: China, Running Time: 19 min

 

HONOR

Director: Lauren Noll

Country: USA, Running Time: 16 min

 

HOT DOG

Directors: Flore Burban, Logan Cameron, Nicholas Diaz, Chloe Raimondo, Hugues Valin

Country: France, Running Time: 5 min

 

KAPAEMAHU

Directors: Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson

Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min

 

MY HERO

Director: Logan Jackson

Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min

 

THE OTHER MORGAN

Director: Alison Rich

Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min

 

OVER MY DEAD BODY 

Director: Meital Cohen Navarro

Country: USA, Running Time: 25 min

 

REBEL

Director: Pier-Phillipe Chevigny

Country: Canada, Running Time: 15 min

 

RENAIDANCE

Directors: Zhike Yang, Wenjie Wu, Han Chen Chang

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

 

THE SCAR

Director: George Simon

Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min

 

SOUS LA GLACE

Directors: Luce Grosjean, Ismail Berrahma, Flore Dupont, Laurie Estampes, Quentin Nory, Hugo Potin

Country: France, Running Time: 7 min

 

THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS

Director: Lisa Gold

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

 

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS

FULL PICTURE

Director: Jacob Reed

Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min

 

NOT JUST ANOTHER DAY

Director: Ricky Rhodes

Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min

 

THE KHE SAHN PEACE GARDEN

Director: Tihn Mahoney

Country: Vietnam, Running Time: 28 min

 

PANT HOOT

Director: Richard Reens

Country: USA, Running Time: 21 min

 

SHEPHERD’S SONG

Director: Abigail Fuller

Country: USA, Running Time: 18 min

 

VOICE ABOVE WATER

Director: Dana Frankoff

Country: USA, Running Time: 11 min

 

 CENTRAL COAST FILMS

FIRESTORM ’77: THE TRUE STORY OF THE HONDA CANYON FIRE

Directors: Chris Hite, Dennis Ford

Country: USA, Running Time: 54 min

The true story of the terrible fire that occurred on Dec 20, 1977 at Vandenburg Air Force Base. Confused leadership led to a loss of four lives and many injuries.

 

38 MINUTES

Director: Paul Lacovara

Country: USA, Running Time: 17 min

 

BODEGA DE EDGAR

Director: Nick Cavalier

Country: USA, Running Time: 22 min

 

CALIFORNIA LANDSLIDE

Directors: Dana Richardson, Sarah Zentz

Country: USA, Running Time: 18 min

 

COLORS IN HARMONY

Director: Clemencia Macias

Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min

 

ENTWINED

Director: Dale Griffith Stamos

Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min

 

F*UCK YOU, SETH

Director: Barry Galperin

Country: USA, Running Time: 6 min

 

IRON MAN

Director: Curtis Francisco-Sarmiento Yap

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

 

ISOLATED DAYDREAMS

Director: Ryan Pavone

Country: USA, Running Time: 3 min

 

LIFT OFF

Director: Alyssa Toledo

Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min

 

THE PROMISE

Director: Carlos Plummer

Country: USA, Running Time: 3 min

 

RESTRICTIONS APPLY

Director: Justice Whitaker

Country: USA, Running Time: 18 min

 

SEANCE-ING

Director: Alix Angelis

Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min

 

STOKE CHASERS

Director: Jo Anna Edmison

Country: USA, Running Time: 10 min

 

TAKE TWO

Director: Curtis Francisco-Sarmiento Yap

Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min

 

MUSIC VIDEOS

CANES CREEK

Director: Michael Everett

Music: Mitchell Tenpenny

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

 

DAVID KORESH FAN CLUB

Director: Matthew Oates

Music: Nate Cole

Country: USA, Running Time: 2 min

 

 

FEEL YOUR LOVE

Director: Matt Jermstad

Music: True Zion

Country: USA, Running Time: 3 min

 

FLESH & BONE

Director: Ashley Rodbro

Music: The Robot Song by Joe Iconis

Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min

 

THE GREAT DIVIDE

Director: Paul Trillo

Music: The Shins

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

 

GREYHOUND

Director: Aidan Cheeatow

Music: Greenhouse

Country: Canada, Running Time: 4 min

 

GUN

Director: Nave Pinhas

Music: Lyri

Country: Israel, Running Time: 5 min

 

INSUFFERABLE

Director: Casey Wieber

Music: Heart to Heart

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

 

I AM SAMANTHA

Director: T Cooper

Music: Benjamin Scheuer

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

 

I DON’T NEED ANOTHER

Directors: Justin Lacy, J. Noel Sullivan

Music: Justin Lacy

Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min

 

THE LIGHT

Directors: Guillaume Heulard, Benoît Aubert

Music: L’An2000

Country: France, Running Time: 6 min

 

LOS BRAVOS

Director: Jonathan Shepard

Music: LPT

Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min

 

 PARACHUTE

Director: Taisia Deeva

Music: Paul Kalkbrenner

Country: Germany, Running Time: 4 min

 

RED WATCH

Director: David Kennedy

Music/Spoken Word: Kyla Kennedy

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

 

TV

Director: rubberband.

Music: Lewis del Mar

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

 

WE CAN’T BREATHE

Directors: Miranda Winters, Rocky Romano

Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min

 

THE WRONG LOVE

Director: Francesco Faralli

Music: Giacomo Rossetti

Country: Italy, Running Time: 4 min

 

YOU BRING CHAOS

Director: Oliver Blair

Music: Lowrie

Country: UK, Running Time: 4 min

 

 FILMMAKERS OF TOMORROW SHOWCASE

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

MOBILE FOLKTALES

Directors: Beichen Elementary School Film and Animation Creation Club

Country: Taiwan, Running Time: 10 min

 

MIDDLE SCHOOL

SYSTEM ERROR – ANIMATED

Director: Piotr Kazmierczak

Country: Poland, Running Time: 4 min

 

HIGH SCHOOL

ASCETIC

Director: Gopal Bala

Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min

 

AMPLITUDE OF THOUGHTS

Director: Phoebe Mitchem

Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min

 

BRAIN DEAD

Director: Ian Hammons

Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min

 

DISMAL AND HIMSELF

Director: Zach Larche

Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min

 

HOLOGRAPHIC DREAMS

Director: Satvik Shankar

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

 

I WISH MY EDUCATION TAUGHT ME

Directors: Bay Cat Academy

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

 

KALAOPSIA

Director: Sage Somma

Country: USA, Running Time: 3 min

 

LA REVERIE

Director: Ian McKay

Country: USA, Running Time: 2 min

 

LAST STOP

Director: Jacob Pincus

Country: USA, Running Time: 10 min

 

MUSIC FOR THE END OF THE WORLD

Director: Emmanuel Li

Country: UK, Running Time: 6 min

 

OFFISH

Director: Emma Nebeker

Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min

 

ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT

Director: James Brammer

Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min

 

SMILE, YOU’RE ON CAMERA

Director: Nat DiCicco

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

 

STRONGER THAN STEEL

Director: Jacob Pincus

Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min

 

WE ARE THE REVOLUTION

Director: Akash Dewan

Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

 

*Featured photo: Larry Gleeson by J. Kevin O’Connor

ABOUT SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

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 film festival’s thoughtful audiences and unique programming sensibility.

SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2020’s TOP TEN FILMS

Posted by Larry Gleeson

BOYS STATE, IM THINKING OF ENDING THINGS, AND NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS, RANK 1-2-3 AMONG THE TOP CHOICES

   

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA (December 30, 2020) – To highlight the great work of filmmakers during a challenging year for the film industry, film fans, and everyone else, the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival has announced their choices for the Top Ten Films of 2020 to call attention to some of their favorite films released in theaters, drive-ins, and online this year.

Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss’ BOYS STATE, Charlie Kaufman’s I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS, and Eliza Hittman’s NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS, took the top three spots among films released domestically in 2020.

San Luis Obispo International Film Festival’s Top 10 Films of 2020

  1.     BOYS STATE (DIRS: Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss)
  2.     I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS (DIR: Charlie Kaufman)
  3.     NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS (DIR: Eliza Hittman)
  4.     THE PAINTER AND THE THIEF (DIR: Benjamin Ree)
  5.     PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (DIR: Céline Sciamma)
  6.     SUMMERLAND (DIR: Jessica Swale)
  7.     SAVE YOURSELVES! (DIRS: Alex Huston Fischer, Eleanor      Wilson)
  8.     PALM SPRINGS (DIR: Max Barbakow)
  9.     OUT STEALING HORSES (DIR: Hans Petter Moland)
  10.     PREMATURE (DIR: Rashaad Ernesto Green)

The 2021 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival will take place March 9-14.

 

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival names Skye McLennan Festival Director

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Wendy Eidson to stay on as Artistic Director

San Luis Obispo, CA (May 28, 2020) – The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival announced today that after a year as Associate Director, Skye McLennan has been named Festival Director. Wendy Eidson continues with the organization as Artistic Director, the job she was originally hired for in 2005.

Wendy Eidson
Wendy Eidson, SLO FilmFest Artistic Director

“I am so thrilled to announce Skye’s promotion and look forward to continue to work with her. She brings a wealth of festival experience, new ideas and a youthful perspective to our organization as we continue to add to the reputation we have earned across the country as an important regional festival,” said Eidson. “We all recognize how important it is to bring in people with enthusiasm and innovation to keep an organization fresh and relevant and she brings all of that and so much more to the table.”

McLennan grew up in Templeton, CA and went on receive her degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University. She also studied TV Documentary in Denmark at the Danish School of Media and Journalism. A dual citizen of Australia and the United States, after college she moved to Sydney, Australia and worked extensively in film production design on short films, features, advertisements, music videos and documentaries.

She first became involved in film festivals in high school. Her first volunteer position was with the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. Over the next ten years she went on to work with major film festivals including the Sydney, Sundance, Tribeca and San Francisco International Film Festivals.  Since moving back to SLO County, she has been involved in the wine industry in both marketing and winemaking. In 2017, she launched her own rosé label, Rebel Skye. In her job as Associate Director this past year, Skye introduced new ticketing software, procedures and website improvements, as well as working with Wendy on programming and overall planning.

Skye McLennan - SLO Film Fest
Skye McLennan, SLO FilmFest Director

McLennan said, “It is an honor and a privilege to continue working alongside Wendy, our board and staff in my hometown of San Luis Obispo. While a difficult time for our industry, I continue to be amazed by the incredible creativity, ingenuity and dedication to sharing film with audiences. With the help of my incredible team, we look forward to coming back bigger and stronger to continue our mission of bringing diverse stories and entertainment to San Luis Obispo County.”

With a long held reputation as a beloved destination film festival, SLO Film Fest earned further kudos as one of the very first film festivals to go online following the effects of the pandemic across the country. MovieMaker Magazine cited the fest, known for its beautiful location, parties mixing filmmakers with film fans, and unique melding of surf culture and wine country, for leading the way for other film festivals to pivot to the virtual space. From the magazine, “San Luis Obispo is known for tranquil Central California weather, wine and beer, and a festival that boosts a personalized Filmmaker Concierge for moviemakers and other special guests. SLO also offers the truly unique Surf Nite in which surfers and ocean-lovers unite for an event that’s like a cross between a ’60s surf movie screening and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.”

Since then, SLO Film Fest has continued to share films online, with a Best in the Fest virtual presentation featuring popular films screened at the film festival from the past ten years, with a new film introduced each week. So far, Tom Walters’ 2014 winner (and locally produced) BOTSO, Mark Hayes’ 2018 winner SKID ROW MARATHON and Gabriela Cowperthwaith and Tor Myhren’s 2011 winner CITY LAX: AN URBAN LACROSSE STORY have been added to the lineup. These films are available to watch on a variety of platforms, some free, some for a small fee.

Plans are currently underway for the 2021 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. Organizers will announce new dates and plans in the coming months.

ABOUT SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

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 film festival’s thoughtful audiences and unique programming sensibility. At the SLO Film Fest, “Movies Matter!”

 

 

San Luis Obispo International Film Festival 2020 Announces King Vidor Award Honoree!

Posted by Larry Gleeson

SLO Film Fest 2020

The 2020 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival

presented by Hotel San Luis Obispo

announces Lawrence Kasdan will be this year’s

King Vidor Award honoree

(March 17-22)

Kasdan

San Luis Obispo, CA (February 24, 2020) – The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (March 12-17) has announced that critically acclaimed director/writer/producer Lawrence Kasdan will be this year’s King Vidor Award honoree.

Kasdan will be attending the film festival with his wife, frequent collaborator Meg Kasdan, with their documentary short film, LAST WEEK AT ED’S, about the closing of the beloved Ed’s Coffee Shop in West Hollywood.

Wendy Eidson
Wendy Eidson

“The King Vidor Award offers us an opportunity each year to celebrate and honor someone that has impacted our love of cinema, and Lawrence Kasdan epitomizes that as much as anyone” said SLO Film Fest Director Wendy Eidson. “From RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, to THE BIG CHILL, to so much that we love about the STAR WARS films and more, he has either been one of the key people behind their creation or outright been responsible for some of our favorite movie moments.”

Presented by BHE Renewables and JUSTIN Vineyards and Winery, the King Vidor Award presentation will take place immediately after the George Sidney Independent Film Awards ceremony on Saturday, March 21 at 7:00PM at the Fremont Theater (1025 Monterey Street). Following the presentation, Turner Classic Movies’ Ben Mankiewicz will host a discussion of Kasdan’s career including a number of his classic and beloved films.

Known for updating old Hollywood genres—film noir, science-fiction, westerns—in a classical dramatic style with quick-witted dialogue, but dealing with contemporary social themes, Kasdan has helped create some of the defining cinematic mythologies of the 20th century (with a hand in resurrecting the Star Wars franchise in the 21st), while as a director he has made personal, slightly quixotic movies that examine characters and generations.

Kasdan Vidor

Kasdan’s introduction to film fans as a screenwriter came via two of the all-time popular classics of the 80s and beyond: STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980) and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981).

Kasdan Vidor 2

What would follow were a string of films that, while varied in setting and style, cemented Kasdan, the writer/director, as one of the top talents behind the camera helping set the tone for a decade onscreen: BODY HEAT (1983), THE BIG CHILL (1983) – for which he received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay, SILVERADO (1985), and THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST (1988), for which he received nominations for both Best Picture and Best Screenplay Adaptation. The latter two films, Kasdan also produced.

Kasdan Vidor 3

Prolific, Kasdan continued to both write and direct films throughout the next decade, with highlights including; the critically acclaimed GRAND CANYON (1991), which he co-wrote with his wife, Meg Kasdan (and received another Academy Award nomination for Best Screenplay), as well as directed and produced; the box-office smash, Mick Jackson’s THE BODYGUARD (1992), which Kasdan wrote and produced; the epic western WYATT EARP (1994), which he co-wrote with Dan Gordon, directed, and produced; the Meg Ryan/Kevin Kline romantic comedy FRENCH KISS (1995), which he helmed; and the lightly comedic drama MUMFORD (1999), which he wrote, directed and produced.

Kasdan Vidor 4

2003’s DREAMCATCHER (co-written with William Goldman) and 2012’s DARLING COMPANION (co-written with Meg Kasdan), Kasdan’s other two outings as writer, director, and producer, could not have been more different from one another. The former being an adaptation of one of Steven King’s more gonzo horror works, and the latter being an introspective drama centered around the love for and loss of a dog.

Kasdan, the screenwriter, has recently been one of the architects of the growing Star Wars universe, having written STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015), and SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY (2018).

Kasdan Vidor 5

Event tickets and Festival Passes are now on sale and the full film festival schedule and program can be found at https://slofilmfest.org.

 

ABOUT SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

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 film festival’s thoughtful audiences and unique programming sensibility. At the SLO Film Fest, “Movies Matter!”

SLOFF_2020

(Source: Press release provided by Wildworks PR, John Wildman)

 

 

The 2020 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival presented by Hotel San Luis Obispo announces galas & special event screenings (March 17-22)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

 Chusy Jardine’s IT ALL BEGINS WITH A SONG: THE STORY
OF THE NASHVILLE SONGWRITER is the Opening Night
selection and Benjamin Kasulke’s BANANA SPLIT
is the Closing Night choice

Special screening events include “Hollywood & Vines” presentations
and two top titles from Sundance:
Adam Carter Rehmeier’s DINNER IN AMERICA and
Sam Feder’s DISCLOSURE: TRANS LIVES ONSCREEN

San Luis Obispo, CA (February 18, 2020) – The 26th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival presented by Hotel San Luis Obispo (March 17-22) today announced this year’s gala selections and special event screenings. Chusy Jardine’s IT ALL BEGINS WITH A SONG: THE STORY OF THE NASHVILLE SONGWRITER is the Opening Night selection, and Benjamin Kasulke’s BANANA SPLIT is the Closing Night selection. Special events include the “Hollywood & Vines” screening events celebrating the intersection of food, wine, and film. The Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase titles were also announced.

Wendy Eidson
Wendy Eidson, San Luis Obispo Film Festival Director

“We have set ourselves up for a very musical start, which will lead into a number of special film events that set us apart from a lot of other film festivals: joining our love of food, wine and great cinema into one combined evening” said San Luis Obispo Film Festival Director Wendy Eidson. “When you then add on two very popular films to come out of Sundance this year, 64 George Sidney Independent Film selections, and our growing Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase, we will be rolling out one our most impressive lineups of films and events yet.”

Jardine’s IT ALL BEGINS WITH A SONG: THE STORY OF THE NASHVILLE SONGWRITER will open the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival on Tuesday, March 17 at the Fremont Theatre (1035 Monterey Street). The film documents songwriters’ struggles, from paying their dues to working through the creative process. Drawing from more than 100 hours of footage, the film includes more than 80 interviews with well-known and lesser-known music industry figures and songwriters, such as Garth Brooks, Ben Folds, John Hiatt, Brett James, Alison Mosshart, Kacey Musgraves, and Keb’ Mo.’ Attending are Jardine, Executive Producer Kathryn Montgomery, John Godsey, as well as singer-songwriter with local roots, Jude Johnstone and Jade Jackson, who will also perform following the screening. The Opening Night celebration will include an Opening Night Pre-Screening Party at Luna Red (1023 Chorro Street), featuring a performance by popular SLO County band Mother Corn Shuckers.

The Closing Night selection will be Kasulke’s teen comedy, BANANA SPLIT. Screening on Sunday, March 22 at the Fremont Theatre, the film marks the return of one of the SLO Film Fest’s favorite filmmakers, Hannah Marks, who stars alongside Dylan Sprouse, Liana Liberato and Luke Spencer Roberts in a film where two high school senior girls have to figure out how to maintain their friendship while one of the dates the other’s ex-boyfriend. Marks, who also wrote and produced the film returns after premiering her feature film directorial debut AFTER EVERYTHING at the film festival last year.

Two hot titles were picked up out of the recently concluded Sundance Film Festival for SLO Film Fest fans to catch: Adam Carter Rehmeier’s audacious crowd-pleasing comedy stars Kyle Gallner as an on-the-lam punk rocker who connects with a young woman (Emily Skeggs) obsessed with his band. They go on an unexpected and epic journey together through the decaying suburbs of the American Midwest. The film features a cast of favorites including Pat Healy, Hannah Marks, Jennifer Prediger, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Lea Thompson. Sam Feder’s documentary, DISCLOSURE: TRANS LIVES ONSCREEN looks at how Hollywood has deeply influenced how Americans feel about transgender people, and how transgender people have been taught to feel about themselves. Both screenings are expected to have the filmmakers and special guests attending.

Special events this year are highlighted by something that the SLO Film fest is famous for (next to its previously announced Surf Nite): the intersection and celebration of Food, Wine, and Film on the Central Coast. Described as “Hollywood & Vines” events, the carefully curated and produced events include East Meets West, a double feature of Peter Schroeder III’s FULL BOAR, about Gary Eberle, the godfather of the Paso Robles wine industry, and Tim Clott and Libbie Agran’s 91 HARVESTS, which tells the story of the Dusi Vineyards and their wines. Naturally, wine and appetizers will be served in the lobby of the historic Fremont Theatre in between the screenings on Wednesday, March 18.

BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM

The Octagon Barn Movie Night features John Chester’s hit documentary THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM about the filmmaker and his wife’s experience leaving the city for farm life, along with a special sneak preview of PBS’s WALKIN’ CALIFORNIA – PISMO PRESERVE, which takes us on a journey through the newly opened Pismo Preserve. The evening will include a delicious BBQ dinner with wine, to go along with the films in the historic and recently renovated barn in San Luis Obispo.

Other films in the “Hollywood & Vines” presentations include Beth Elise Hawk’s BREAKING BREAD, about the A-sham Arabic Food festival in Haifa, Israel; Abby Ainsworth’s STAGE: THE CULINARY INTERNSHIP about the apprenticeship experience at one of the best Michelin-starred restaurants in the world – Mugaritz; NOTHING FANCY: DIANA KENNEDY, about Mexican cuisine cookbook author and environmental activist; and the Tastes and Flavors of Japan afternoon event featuring Hironori Sakurai’s THE STORY BEYOND A CUP OF SAKE and Sky Bergman’s MOCHITSUKI.

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The Coastal Awakening this year will sponsor a special sidebar of films celebrating the life and art of renowned composer and pianist Philip Glass with presentations of Scott Hick’s documentary, GLASS: A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN TWELVE PARTS (2007), and two films that feature Academy Award-winning original scores by Glass: Godfrey Reggio’s KOYAANISQATSI (1982), and Martin Scorsese’s KUNDUN (1997).

Passes are now on sale and information on the film festival can be found at https://slofilmfest.org.

SPECIAL PRESENTATION FILMS

HOLLYWOOD AND VINES PRESENTATIONS

91 HARVESTS
Directors:  Tim Clott and Libbie Agran
Country: USA, Running Time: 45 min
The story of the Dusi Vineyard began in the early 1920s, when Sylvester and Caterina Dusi emigrated from Northern Italy and settled in Paso Robles. The Dusi Vineyard introduced some of the first Zinfandels to California’s Central Coast; vineyards were rare in Old California in the early 1900’s.  Sylvester and Caterina were highly enterprising, and working together with their three sons – Guido, Dante and Benito, eventually bought an additional property on the west side of Highway 101 in 1945 and planted Zinfandel. Three generations after Janell Dusi’s great-grandparents first planted the land to Zinfandel, she is continuing the legacy of one of the area’s most well-loved vineyards, and taking ten percent of the production off the Dante Dusi Vineyard to create J Dusi Wines.

THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
Director: John Chester
Country: USA, Running Time: 91 min
This beautiful, multi-award winning documentary chronicles the eight-year quest of John and Molly Chester as they trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature. By doggedly persevering and embracing the opportunity provided by nature’s conflicts, the couple unlocks a biodiverse design for living that exists far beyond their farm, its seasons and our wildest imagination. Featuring breathtaking cinematography, captivating animals and an urgent message to heed Mother Nature’s call, this film provides us all a vital blueprint for better living and a healthier planet.

BREAKING BREAD
Director: Beth Elise Hawk
Country: USA, Running Time: 86 min
A visually beautiful film that offers a recipe for tolerance – and hope. Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, the first Muslim Arab to win Israel’s MasterChef television competition, is on a quest to effect social change. So she starts the A-sham Arabic Food Festival in Haifa, Israel, where pairs of Arab and Jewish chefs collaborate on mouthwatering local dishes – and become friends. Set in a region beset with conflict, Breaking Bread sends a clear message: Strip away politics and religion and you’ll find that people are people. And what better way to do that than over a great meal?

FULL BOAR
Director: Peter Schroeder III
Country: USA, Running Time: 50 min
In this insightful documentary about Gary Eberle, you’ll get a sense of the man called the godfather of the Paso Robles wine industry – his astute winemaking skills, warmth, self-deprecating humor, genuine compassion and determination in overcoming a hostile corporate takeover. Now celebrating his namesake winery’s 40th year, the man once destined for medical research credits legendary football coach Joe Paterno and famed winemaker Robert Mondavi for teaching him key lessons along the way.

NOTHING FANCY: DIANA KENNEDY
Director: Elizabeth Carroll
Countries: USA/Mexico, Running Time: 82 min
Cookbook author and environmental activist Diana Kennedy reflects on an unconventional life spent mastering Mexican cuisine. It’s a candid, comprehensive whirlwind tour through the life and work of this 96-year-old uncompromising chef who’s been called an “adorable narcissist.” “If her enthusiasm were not beautiful, it would border on mania,” says influential New York Times food editor Craig Claiborne in a quote that opens the film.

STAGE: THE CULINARY INTERNSHIP
Director: Abby Ainsworth
County: Spain, Running Time: 78 min
A group of interns work together during a nine-month apprenticeship at one of the best Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, Mugaritz. They’re unpaid, away from home, speaking a different language and working brutally long hours. While the restaurant’s notorious avant-garde cuisine and creative working environment elevate those young hopefuls to think outside the confines of a kitchen, the extremely high standards prove to be mentally and physically challenging.

THE STORY BEYOND A CUP OF SAKE
Director: Hironori Sakurai
Country: Japan, Running Time: 62 min
A wonderfully intimate and special look at the delicate care and production of a local sake brewery in Japan through the eyes of a married couple who create the sake and oversee the brewery. We also meet many individuals who work in and care for the gorgeous rice fields and distribute the finished sake, drawing interesting parallels to the wine industry in California.
Screening with

MOCHITSUKI
Director: Sky Bergman
Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min
The ancient tradition of preparing Mochi to celebrate the Japanese New Year goes back centuries. Join one close-knit intergenerational community in San Luis Obispo County who revels in the ceremonial pounding of the cooked rice, the forming of the warm Mochi cakes, and of course eating the yummy results! Elders and kids alike reflect on what Mochi means to them, leaving not a cheek untouched by rice flour.

WALKIN’ CALIFORNIA – PISMO PRESERVE
Director: Cameron Mitchell
Country: USA, Running Time: 27 min
WALKIN’ CALIFORNIA – PISMO PRESERVE is about getting out of the office and off the couch and exploring all the diversity this incredible state has to offer. Join host Steve Weldon as he and Land Conservancy staff take a hike on the newly opened Pismo Preserve, located just north of Pismo Beach. As we meet a variety of Central Coast residents along the way, this episode highlights the natural beauty of the area and the important work the Land Conservancy is doing in our community.

ADDITIONAL SPECIAL PRESENTATION FILMS

ALMOST FAMOUS
Director: Ben Proudfoot
Country: USA, Running Time: 51 min
Pop stars who never were. Household names who remain unknown. Astronauts who never entered space. Rock stars whonever had their day. The lives of these fascinating and incredibly talented individuals are chronicled in this collection of four wonderful short films, produced by the New York Times Op-Docs series and directed by SLO Film Fest alum Ben Proudfoot (RWANDA AND JULIET, 2016), KIM I AM, THE LOST ASTRONAUT, THE OTHER FAB FOUR, and THE KING OF FISH & CHIPS are all memorable stories that will amaze, inspire, and most importantly, entertain.

THE BIG PARADE (1925)
Director: King Vidor
Country: USA, Running Time: 151 min
Wealthy young idler Jim Apperson (John Gilbert) enlists during the early days of World War I, to the worry of his mother (Claire McDowell) and the pride of his father (Hobart Bosworth). Sent to the front lines in the French countryside, Jim bonds with his working-class bunkmates and falls in love with young French farm girl Melisande despite having a girlfriend back home. But the romance of war is soon shattered for good. This 1925 silent film features a wonderful score by Carl Davis.

DINNER IN AMERICA
Director: Adam Carter Rehmeier
Country: USA, Running Time: 106 min
An on-the-lam punk rocker and a young woman obsessed with his band go on an unexpected and epic journey together through the decaying suburbs of the American Midwest.

DISCLOSURE: TRANS LIVES ONSCREEN
Director: Sam Feder
Country: USA, Running Time: 100 min
An investigation of how Hollywood’s fabled stories have deeply influenced how Americans feel about transgender people, and how transgender people have been taught to feel about themselves.

ENAMORADA (1946)
Director: Emilio Fernández
Country: Mexico, Running Time: 96 min
This 1946 Mexican drama was shot on location in Puebla. The revolutionary José Juan Reyes (Pedro Armendáriz, a Cal Poly graduate!) takes the town of CholulaPuebla and demands contributions from its wealthiest citizens for the Mexican Revolution. However, his plans are disrupted when he falls in love with the Señorita Beatriz Peñafiel (María Félix), the tempestuous daughter of the town’s richest man. The film was fully restored by UCLA in 2018. Film will be introduced by Latino Film expert Maria Elena de las Carreras.

GLASS: A PORTRAIT OF PHILIP IN TWELVE PARTS (2007)
Director: Scott Hicks
Country: USA, Running Time: 119 min
An eventful year in the career and personal life of distinguished Western classical composer Philip Glass as he interacts with a number of friends and collaborators, who include Chuck Close, Ravi Shankar, and Martin Scorsese.

HEARTS OF GLASS: A VERTICAL FARM TAKES ROOTS IN WYOMING
Director: Jennifer Tennican
Country: USA, Running Time: 68 min
Vertical Harvest (VH) is a highly innovative but risky experiment in growing crops and providing meaningful employment for people with disabilities. Built on 1/10 of an acre at an elevation of 6,237 feet, the high tech hydroponic greenhouse is located in Jackson, Wyoming, a mountain town with extreme seasonal fluctuations in weather, population and demand for goods and services. Business drama is interwoven with the personal journeys of individuals who are part of an underemployed and underestimated group, adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Plants and people grow together in this intimate portrait of one community’s attempt to address timely and pressing issues around local food production, inclusion and opportunity.

KOYAANISQATSI (1982)
Director: Godfrey Reggio
Country: USA, Running Time: 86 min
A collection of expertly photographed phenomena with no conventional plot. The footage focuses on nature, humanity, and the relationship between them.

KUNDUN (1997)
Director: Martin Scorsese
Country: USA, Running Time: 134 min
From childhood to adulthood, Tibet’s fourteenth Dalai Lama deals with Chinese oppression and other problems.

CENTRAL COAST FILMMAKER SHOWCASE

FEATURE DOCUMENTARY
91 HARVESTS
(see above)

BETTER TOGETHER
Director: Isaac Hernandez
Country: USA, Running Time: 50 min
Community makes the difference. The response to a horrendous oil blowout fifty years ago in Santa Barbara sparked the modern environment, creating a culture that continues to inspire local solutions to global problems. The legacy of the oil spill continues to inform this community, which keeps coming together, providing local solutions to global environmental problems; such as when over 3,000 volunteers jointed the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade to dig the mud from homes after the deadly 2018 debris flow.

BY HAND
Director: Kellen Keene
Country: USA, Running Time: 67 min
In an attempt to escape comfort, reconnect to the natural world and set a new bar for ocean adventure, SLO County residents and twin brothers Casey and Ryan Higginbotham made a decision that would reshape their loives. On March 18, 2016, they embarked on a 2200-mile paddle from Alaska to Mexico with 18-foot paddle boards.

SPOONS: A SANTA BARBARA STORY

Director: Wyatt Daily

Country: USA, Running Time: 58 min

Dusty archives have been re-discovered remastered to bring a new perspective to one of the most crucial periods in surfing’s evolution. This is a film compiled of never-before-seen footage from surfing’s Golden Age, with outtakes and extras from some of surfing’s most well-known filmmakers to tell a history that has never been told before. A story of craftsmanship, work ethic, renegades and tradition; a film that goes beyond the time spent in the ocean to define how one spends a lifetime.

NARRATIVE SHORT FILMS
THE ADVENTURES OF COWMAN AND LAMBOY
Director: Dominic Hure
Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min

BLUE NOISE
Director: Jonah Moshammer
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min

CAL POLY SHORTS
Directors: Cal Poly Liberal Arts students
Country: USA, Running Time: 50 min

CRIMSON CUFFS
Director: Madeline Vail
Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min

DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS
Director: Dale Griffiths Stamos
Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min

THE INCIDENT
Director: Johannes S. Beals
Country: USA, Running Time: 5 min

LOCKDOWN
Director: Jorrit Van Der Kooi
Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min

MOVING PAINS
Director: Michael Gould
Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min

NICKEL IN THE SAND
Director: Mike Winger
Country: USA, Running Time: 3 min

ODD BIRD
Director: Katy Dore
Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min

ROSIE
Director: Shanti Herzog
Country: USA, Running Time: 17 min

DOCUMENTARY SHORT
93: LETTERS FROM MARGE
Director: Heather Hudson
Country: USA, Running Time: 30 min

BIRDS OF LOS BANOS
Director: Gail Osherenko
Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min

CARRIZO PLAIN: A SENSE OF PLACE
Director: Jeff McLoughlin
Country: USA, Running Time: 32 min

THE EDGE OF PURPOSE
Director: Winslow Perry
Country: USA, Running Time: 40 min

FARM TO FLOAT: THE MAKING OF THE CALIFORNIA GROWN ROSE PARADE ENTRIES
Director: Alex Raban
Country: USA, Running Time: 17 min

FOREVER VOTERS
Director: Sky Bergman
Country: USA, Running Time: 7 min

KUT TO BE THE BEST: THE LAST BLACK BARBERSHOP IN SAN LUIS OBISPO
Director/Writer: Justice Whitaker
Country: USA, Running Time: 40 min

LIFESAVER: THE SLO NOOR FOUNDATION STORY
Director: Bob Williams
Country: USA, Running Time: 40 min

MARGARET SINGER: SEEKING LIGHT
Director: Louise Palanker
Country: USA, Running Time: 20 min

MOCHITSUKI
(see above)

ORANGEBURG: A TOWN, A TEAM, AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY
Director: Jim Fabio
Country: USA, Running Time: 20 min

PASO ROBLES: A GOODBYE STORY
Director: Brandt Goodman
Country: USA, Running Time: 4 min

REFORGING A LEGACY
Director: Bryan McLain
Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min

SLOFF_2020

ABOUT SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
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 film festival’s thoughtful audiences and unique programming sensibility. At the SLO Film Fest, “Movies Matter!”

*Featured photo: HollywoodGlee at the SLO Film Fest Festival Tent (Photo by Kevin O’Connor, in memoriam)

(Source: Press release provided by John Wildman, Wildman PR)

Surf Nite in SLO to Feature the Biggest Year for Big Wave Surfing at the Historic Fremont Theatre

Posted by Larry Gleeson

San Luis Obispo, CA (January 29, 2020) – The San Luis Obispo International Film
SLOFF_2020Festival (SLO Film Fest) presented by Hotel San Luis Obispo is delighted to announce its Surf Nite picks for 2020. Brent Storm’s award-winning WHITE RHINO will be the focus the festival’s most popular event, on Friday, March 20, with big wave surfer Dave Wassel traveling from Hawaii for the event. Surf photographer Brian Bielmann, director Brent Storm and producer Randy Olson will also be in attendance. Surf Nite will open with Santa Barbara filmmaker Heather Hudson’s new short documentary that about female surfing pioneer, Marge Calhoun. 93 – LETTERS TO MARGE will be introduced by her friend and surf legend, Linda Benson.

Surf Nite in SLO is presented by Surfing for Hope Foundation and the City of Pismo Beach. Surfing for Hope is a local non-profit organization created to help inspire people challenged by cancer through the positive energy of surfing. The event is also sponsored by Cliffs Hotel and Spa, Sea Venture, Sycamore Mineral Spring Resort, Coast 104.5, and Quality Suites San Luis Obispo.

Canadian Filmmaker Brent Storm’s latest release, WHITE RHINO, is a parallel story from the surfers and photographers who witnessed three historic swells that hit the shorelines of the South Pacific in 2011-2012. Photographer Brian Bielmann takes the audience on an edge of your seat adventure as we discover the stories behind some of his most iconic photos and what really transpired on those memorable days. WHITE RHINO features notable big wave riders Nathan Fletcher, Dave Wassel, Bruce Irons, Mark Healey, Kohl Christensen and Kalani Chapman. It also features cinematography from some of the best surf filmmakers, including SLO Film Fest Surf Nite alum, Tim Bonython (The Big Wave Project).

In 93: LETTERS TO MARGE, Heather Hudson pays tribute to surfing pioneer Marge Calhoun, sharing memories from handwritten letters to a friend before her death in 2017 at the age of 93 in Morro Bay, CA. Chronicling an independent life that most people know little about, Marge won contests, shared waves and held her own with many of the sport’s legends in the early days of surfing. She won the 1958 Makaha International Championships and continued to travel, surf and compete. She judged, organized competitors on the beach and worked closely with Hoppy Swartz and others to form the U.S. Surfing Association. Later, she moved to Morro Bay and loved watching the waves from her home in the hills above the ocean.

Surf Nite Special Guests:

Fearless, fit and funny are some of the adjectives that have been used to describe Dave Wassel, the Hawaiian-born North Shore lifeguard who is also featured in WHITE RHINO. He’s well known for braving huge surf as a surfer and lifeguard, going well beyond his duty to save lives in treacherous waters. He has a passion for the history andculture of Hawaii and is now the ambassador of Sustainable Surf, a California-based non-profit that protects and restores ocean health by shifting people to a highly desirable, low carbon, “Deep Blue” lifestyle.

As an internationally renowned photographer, Brian Bielmann has traveled extensively with many of the world’s best surfers. With his images gracing more than 150 magazine covers, the pages of 30 books and appearing in iconic magazines like Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, National Geographic and Sports Illustrated, he is recognized worldwide to be a photographer at the very top of his field. He captures the entire surf lifestyle and continues to push the boundaries of photography both above and below the water. Brian’s passion for surfing and his love of photography have kept him on the cutting edge for over 35 years. He has won numerous awards and his client list includes major corporations. He is also an captivating public speaker.

Dividing his life between Canada and the United States, Brent Storm has a passion for surfing that began in his mid-20’s in San Francisco after a snowboarding injury in Mammoth. He discovered a way to blend his new passion with an old one – filmmaking, and after finally giving up on making wedding videos in Toronto, he decided to move to the North Shore and focus on surfing. WHITE RHINO began to take shape after he met Brian Bielmann and Randy Olson in 2016, and he discovered an amazing story in the three major swells Bielmann had captured on film in just one surf season.

Randy Olson began a career as a professor of marine biology at the University of New Hampshire, but during his first year as a professor he realized that he had grown more interested in telling stories about science and was drawn to the world of filmmaking. Despite his Harvard Ph.D., four years of post-doctoral research in Australia and Florida, and years of diving around the world from the Great Barrier Reef to Antarctica, he resigned from his tenured professorship and moved to Hollywood to explore film as a medium for communicating science. Now an independent filmmaker he is ‘fluent’ in the two languages of science and cinema. He has written and directed his own films about major issues in science, and has worked with clients to assist them with the use of visual media in communicating science to the general public.

Linda Benson started surfing at age eleven and at age fifteen was the first woman to surf the legendary big waves at Waimea Bay in Hawaii. Linda made her competitive debut in the 1959, winning the West Coast Surfing Championship and the Makaha International contest in Hawaii a few weeks later (a year after Marge Calhoun had won.) Linda’s other notable contest wins include the United States Invitational in 1964, the West Coast Championship in both 1960 and 1961, and the United States Championship in both 1964 and 1968. Moreover, Benson not only was a runner-up in the 1964 World Championship and was the top female vote-getter in a 1965 reader’s poll for Surfing Illustrated magazine, but also was the first female surfer to be featured on the cover of a 1963 issue of Surf Guide. She was inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame in 1997. This will be her third visit to the SLO Film Fest’s Surf Nite.

Heather Hudson is also not a stranger to the SLO Film Fest. Her short films, THE WOMEN AND THE WAVES, and its sequel screened at the Festival in 2009 and 2016. An avid surfer, filmmaker and mother, Heather has been sharing her love for surfing on the big screen since 2007 when she started her production company Graciegirl LLC. For over 18 years, Heather has supported and volunteered for Heal the Ocean, a Santa-Barbara-based non-profit citizen’s action group committed to ending ocean pollution. She is currently on the board and coordinates fundraising.

EVENT DETAILS:
SURF NITE IN SLO – Presented by Surfing for Hope and City of Pismo Beach
Friday, March 20 – 7:00pm
Fremont Theatre, 1025 Monterey St. SLO

Tickets: $20 General / $15 Students & SLO Film Society (Mogul passes accepted)

Online: slofilmfest.org (limited tickets available pre-show)
In Person: Festival HQ (opens Feb. 15 – check website for hours)
South East corner of Hotel SLO, entrance on Morro St. (between Palm & Monterey)
Day of Show: Fremont Theatre Box Office – tickets will be sold first-come, first-served
beginning at 6:30pm
Phone: 805-546-3456

SLO-Film-Fest-680-680x380

(Source: SLO Film Fest News Release)

The 2020 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival announces line up of competition films (March 17-22)

Posted by Larry Gleeson

San Luis Obispo, CA (January 19, 2020) – The 26th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (March 17-22) has revealed the films selected this year for the George Sidney Independent Film Competition sections. They comprise 10 narrative features and 20 documentary features, 22 narrative short films, and 10 documentary shorts. Representing 18 countries, the films include some surprising names as well as the independent streak that has characterized SLO Film Fest films for more than a quarter-century now.

Wendy Eidson
San Luis Obispo Film Festival Director Wendy Edison

“While our galas, special events and screenings, including Surf Nite, and the annual presentation of the King Vidor Award are always can’t miss affairs, the core of the film festival will always be our competition films. They represent the heart of the SLO Film Fest,” said San Luis Obispo Film Festival Director Wendy Eidson. “We look forward to presenting these films to movie lovers here in San Luis Obispo, and seeing which films and filmmakers take this year’s awards home.”

 

Highlights among the narrative competition include; Hans Petter Moland’s OUT STEALING HORSES, Norway’s official Oscar entry stars Stellan Skarsgård (recent Golden Globe winner for Chernobyl) about a widower looking back on a fabled childhood summer in the late 40s when he and his father rode wild horses; Danish Renzu’s THE ILLEGAL starring Suraj Sharma LIFE OF PI) as a film student in Los Angeles; Ron Vignone’s award-winning drama TWO WAYS HOME about a bi-polar woman’s attempt to get your life back on track and reclaim her family following a stint in jail. The film was a winner at the Awareness FF, Marina del Rey FF, and the Women Texas Film Festival. Gille Klabin’s mindbender THE WAVE is about a man dealing with the effects of a mysterious hallucinogenic drug stars Justin Long (TUSK, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD) and Donald Faison (“Scrubs,” CLUELESS), and features incredible visual effects by SLO native, Patrick Lawler.
Wide-ranging topics and subjects in the documentary competition include; immigration – via Beth and George Gage’s A HOME CALLLED NEBRASKA, which looks at how that state approached bringing in more refugees per capita than any other state in 2016; “asshole culture” – via John Walker’s ASSHOLES: A THEORY, inspired by Aaron James’ New York Times bestseller of the same name; the history between Iran and America – via Taghi Amirani’s COUP 53, which unearths never seen footage during the CIA’s overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953; iconic photographers Tony Vaccaro and Santi Visalli – via Andrew Davis’s MENTORS: TONY & SANTI, a charming portrait of friendship and history of the two men who captured some of our most familiar images since WWII; and the perilous status of our bees – via Peter Nelson’s THE POLLINATORS, which looks at the threats to honey bees and what that means to our food security; and Nancy Lang and Peter Raymont’s MARGARET ATWOOD: A WORD AFTER A WORD AFTER A WORD IS POWER chronicles the busy life and career of The Handmaid’s Tale author as one of Canada’s most accomplished writers and ardent feminists.

 BURQA CITY
ALINA, BURQA CITY

Among the short films which stand out at first glance include; Rami Kodeih’s ALINA about a group of women trying to sneak a baby out of the Warsaw Ghetto, which stars Alia Shawkat (“Arrested Development”), Edin Gali (“Mad Men”), Erika Soto (VIDA) and Mark McCullough (LOGAN LUCKY); SLO Film Fest alum Bracq Fabrice’s BURQA CITY about a couple that have just got married in a Kafkaesque country;  John Gray’s EXTRA INNINGS about a contentious interview with the manager of the Boston Red Sox, starring Peter Riegert (LOCAL HERO, CROSSING DELANCY); Caroline Lindy’s YOUR MONSTER, about a girl who moves homesick and brokenhearted to find the monster in her closet is still there and ready to talk. The film stars Kimiko Glenn (“Orange is the New Black”) and Tommy Dewey (“Casual,” “The Mindy Project”).

The documentary short film competition will include Lawrence and Meg Kasdan, who will come to San Luis Obispo with their film LAST WEEK AT ED’S, about the closing of the beloved Ed’s Coffee Shop in West Hollywood.

Passes are now on sale and information on the film festival can be found at https://slofilmfest.org.

The 2020 GEORGE SIDNEY INDEPENDENT FILM COMPETITION selections:

NARRATIVE FILM COMPETITION
ALONE WITH HER DREAMS
Director: Paola Licata
Country: Italy, Running Time: 95 min.
Lucia is 11 when her parents leave Sicily in the late 1960s to find work in France and leave her with grandmother Maria, a strict woman incapable of expressing her feelings. As the months pass, Lucia is curious about the family Maria bans her from seeing without explaining why, so she visits them with tragic consequences. Years later, Lucia faces her past and realizes that Maria taught her dignity, strength, and optimism. This well-acted film also illustrates the plight of immigrants who entrust their children to those who remain – waiting for a family reunion that often isn’t possible.

BOOK WEEK
Director: Heath Davis
Country: Australia, Running Time: 96 min.
When it looks like his novel is going to be published, high school English teacher and once famous novelist, Nicholas Cutler, thinks his luck has finally changed. But what promises to be the best week of his life professionally, spirals into seven days of hell personally. A pregnant girlfriend, student in trouble with the law, a gravely ill brother in law and the prospects of living a life of unfilled dreams force Mr. Cutler to re-examine just what’s most important in his life.
THE ILLEGAL
Director: Danish Renzu
Country: USA, Running Time: 86 min.
In this gritty, realistic story, a young film student from middle-class India is forced to drop out of college in Los Angeles to support his family, then loses his student visa and is stuck working at an Indian restaurant – unable to get a better-paying job because he’s undocumented, unable to save enough money to go home. This excellent, well-paced film is emotional and sad, reflecting a common plight of immigrant restaurant workers who are caught in the system, living a life they never envisioned, asking themselves: “Is this what you thought your life would be when you came to America?”

LOVE SARAH
Director: Eliza Schroder
Country: UK, Running Time: 98 min.
A young woman wants to fulfill her late mother’s dream of opening a bakery in Notting Hill, London, so she enlists the help of an old friend and her grandmother. This well-paced story chronicles the women’s ups and downs as they strive to find their niche, forging lasting bonds along the way. Fine cinematography, moving music and great acting, especially by the lead award-winning actress, contribute to this feel-good film. Guaranteed to leave you wanting a coffee and croissant – or at least popcorn!

OUT STEALING HORSES
Director: Hans Petter Moland
Country: Norway, Running Time: 123 min.
Adapted by Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland from Per Petterson’s beloved 2003 novel “Out Stealing Horses,” the story follows 67-year-old widower Trond Sander (Stellen Skarsgård) as he transitions to a lonely retirement in the breathtaking but desolate landscape of eastern Norway. As winter arrives, he finds a neighbor who he once knew during the summer of 1948. Trond reflects back on that bucolic and childhood summer, the last one he spent with his father as they rode wild horses and chopped wood. This is Norway’s official Oscar entry.

TWO WAYS HOME
Director: Ron Vignone
Country: USA, Running Time: 90 min.
A young woman living with bipolar disorder returns to her hometown in rural Iowa to reconnect with her estranged 12-year-old daughter. Going head to head with her family sets her on a course to free her cantankerous grandfather from a nursing home, and live his last days out on the family farm. As she struggles to maintain balance with her condition, complications with her daughter’s well-being and her grandfather’s health test her sense of self-worth to the limit.

THE WAVE
Director: Gille Klabin
Country: USA, Running Time: 84 min.
A man on the verge of a promotion takes a mysterious hallucinogenic drug that begins to tear down his reality and expose his life for what it really is. Director Gille Klabin creates a stylish world that drags star Justin Long (TUSK, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD) through some unconventional hardships. Also features Donald Faison (Scrubs, CLUELESS), and incredible visual effects by SLO native, Patrick Lawler.

ZORO’S SOLO
Director: Martin Busker
Country: Germany, Running Time: 90 min.
A 13-year-old refugee from Afghanistan living in an emergency shelter in Germany joins a Christian boys’ choir to save his ill father who was left stranded in Hungary – and clashes with the strict choir director, among others. It’s an entertaining, dramatic and well-paced film that reflects the impact of immigration and families torn apart and how one individual can help make a difference in a young person’s life. It’s especially notable given that this is the Berlin director’s first feature film. Choir performances are moving.

DOCUMENTARY FILM COMPETITION
5 BLOCKS
Director: Dan Goldes
Country: USA, Running Time: 50 min.
San Francisco’s Market Street was once the grandest boulevard in America. No stranger to civic celebrations since the 1900s and just minutes from City Hall, the area fell into decline and became home to the city’s poorest population. The neighborhood is currently undergoing its most dramatic change in 50 years as tech companies, their employees, and the restaurants and stores that cater to them confront the realities of a neighborhood that still houses some of the city’s most marginalized residents. 5 BLOCKS explores the complex questions of income disparity, changing demographics, and the very nature of place.

AGNIYOGANA: LOWER THE HEAD, INVOKE THE FIRE
Director: Emma Balnaves
Country: Australia, Running Time: 64 min.
A meditative inquiry into the lost art of classical Hatha Yoga, AGNIYOGANA explores the richness of traditional Hatha Yoga teachings and the deeply connected states of heart, mind and freedom these practices deliver to sincere truth seekers. Take a journey through time and space to rediscover the inner dimensions of Hatha Yoga and reconnect the human spirit to the true meaning of “yug,” the connecting roots of all yogas.

A HOME CALLED NEBRASKA
Directors: Beth and George Gage
Country: USA, Running Time: 69 min.
This well-paced film takes us behind the scenes of the U.S. immigration crisis, focusing on efforts in Nebraska to welcome immigrants and refugees. In 2016, during the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, this Midwestern conservative state resettled more refugees per capita than any other state. “Our legacy as a country is to be welcoming, whether you’re liberal or conservative,” one volunteer noted. The immigrants’ remarkable stories of survival and Nebraskans’ hospitality to help them create new lives here – and change their own perceptions in the process – are both heartfelt and informative.

ASSHOLES: A THEORY
Director: John Walker
Country: Canada, Running Time: 81 min.
Inspired by Aaron James’ New York Times bestseller of the same name, ASSHOLES: A THEORY investigates the breeding grounds of contemporary ‘asshole culture’ — and locates signs of civility in an otherwise rude-n-nasty universe. Venturing into predominantly male domain, Canadian director John Walker moves from Ivy League frat clubs to the bratty princedoms of Silicon Valley and bear pits of international finance. Why do assholes thrive in certain environments? What explains their perverse appeal? And how do they keep getting elected?

AULCIE
Director: Dani Menkin
Countries: USA/Israel, Running Time: 72 min.
Aulcie Perry, a basketball legend in Israel opens up for the first time about his roller coaster career, while searching for his daughter he hasn’t seen for more than 20 years. This is a truly fascinating story of fame, love, loss and redemption.

THE CONDOR AND THE EAGLE
Directors: Sophie and Clement Guerra
Country: USA, Running Time: 79 min.
Four Indigenous environmental leaders embark on an extraordinary trans-continental adventure from the Canadian plains to deep into the heart of the Amazonian jungle to unite the peoples of North and South America and deepen the meaning of Climate Justice.

COUP 53
Director: Taghi Amirani
Country: USA, Running Time: 119 min.
While making a documentary about the Anglo-American coup in Iran in 1953, Iranian director Taghi Amirani and editor Walter Murch (APOCALYPSE NOW, THE GODFATHER) discover never seen before archive material hidden for decades. The 16mm footage and documents not only allow the filmmaker to tell the story of the overthrow of the Iranian government in unprecedented detail, but also lead to explosive revelations about dark British secrets buried for 66 years. What begins as a history documentary about 4 days in August 1985 turns into a live investigation, taking the filmmaker into uncharted cinematic waters.

FULL BOAR
Director: Peter Schroeder III
Country: USA, Running Time: 50 min.
In this insightful documentary on Gary Eberle, you’ll get a sense of the man called the godfather of the Paso Robles wine industry – his astute winemaking skills, warmth, deprecating self-humor, genuine compassion and determination in overcoming a hostile corporate takeover. Now celebrating his namesake winery’s 40th year, the man once destined for medical research credits legendary football coach Joe Paterno and famed winemaker Robert Mondavi for teaching him key lessons along the way. It’s an engaging, informative film worth watching, even if you don’t love wine.

THE LURE OF THIS LAND
Director: Alexandra Lexton
Countries: USA/Belize, Running Time:67 min.
THE LURE OF THIS LAND is an exploration of why people leave the places they know and love. Why do they leave their homelands? What are they looking for? What do they find? Filmmaker Alexandra Lexton came to Belize and found these stories: A story of a place, the story of others, and the more personal internal voyage of the foreigner in a foreign land. Among others, we meet people who have left everything to regenerate and rediscover themselves: Zookeeper Sharon Matola who has made the Belize Zoo out of Belize’s rescued indigenous and threatened creatures, nature documentary filmmakers Richard and Carol Foster, and eco-lodge originators Mick and Lucy Fleming. Behind every door we find another story, another person who had the drive to change their life… and to risk for a time getting lost.

MARGARET ATWOOD: A WORD AFTER A WORD AFTER A WORD IS POWER
Directors: Nancy Lang and Peter Raymont
Country: Canada, Running Time: 90 min.
Margaret Atwood is in serious demand these days. With her dystopian novel of brutal gender divides, The Handmaid’s Tale, having been adapted for TV and becoming a global symbol for Women’s Marches, the 80-year-old’s fiction feels more relevant to real life than ever. Filmed over a year, this doc follows Atwood and her partner, Graeme Gibson (who died in September), as they jet to speaking engagements and meet devoted fans across the world, inspiring action.

MENTORS: TONY & SANTI
Director: Andrew Davis
Country: USA, Running Time: 50 min.
Tony Vaccaro’s subjects include Enzo Ferrari, Pablo Picasso, JFK and Sophia Loren amongst hundreds of others for Look and Life magazines. Santi Visalli photographed five US presidents, Federico Fellini, Mohammed Ali, Louis Armstrong, and Sophia Loren, as well as covers for over 50 magazines and newspapers including the New York Times, Time, Newsweek and Forbes. MENTORS: TONY & SANTI is an intimate portrait of two renowned photographers by director Andrew Davis (THE FUGITIVE) Sharing their life’s journey not only as friends but also legendary photographers, they remind us all of the role family, friends, and mutual support plays in one’s life.

I GOT A MONSTER
Director: Kevin Abrams
Country: USA, Running Time: 103 min.
In March of 2017, Baltimore was rocked by one of the nation’s largest police corruption scandals when seven members of the elite Gun Trace Task Force unit were federally indicted on racketeering charges. Defense attorney Ivan Bates wasn’t shocked by the new because for years he had been listening to the victims of these crimes and had been trying to bring down the corrupt sergeant. I GOT A MONSTER is the true story of a cat-and-mouse game in an upside down world where the cops are also the robbers!

IT ALL BEGINS WITH A SONG: THE STORY OF THE NASHVILLE SONGWRITER
Director: Chusy
Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min.
We all hum their tunes. We know their words by heart. And we tell the story of our own lives through their art. Yet, few of us know their names. This is a film about one of the most important and unknown, forces in music: The Nashville Songwriter. From paying their dues to working through their creative process, this documentary draws from more than one hundred hours of footage and includes more than eighty interviews with music industry figures and songwriters such as Garth Brooks, Ben Folds, John Hiatt, Brett James, Alison Mosshart, Kacey Musgraves and Keb’ Mo’. A truly fascinating and entertaining tribute to the most valuable resource in the music industry today: the songwriter.

LIFE IN SYNCRO
Director: Angela Pinaglia
Country: USA, Running Time: 53 min.
Discover the world of synchronized ice skating, a sport that has been empowering generations of women since 1956 when it was founded by a father who saw the need for team sports for girls. Even though the sport has big dreams of Olympic inclusion, it has remained mostly on the fringe. Syncro is one of the few sports where there is not a male version of it. It’s 99.99% female and serves women of all ages. The film follows several determined skaters and coaches throughout a skating season, including a Team USA skater who wants to win big on the national stage and a 66-year old who found her passion for skating later in life and has built a community for herself around the sport.

LOVE THEM FIRST: LESSONS FROM LUCY LANEY ELEMENTARY
Director: Lindsey Seavert
Country: USA, Running Time: 90 min.
After this Minneapolis school ranked at the bottom of the state’s list of underperforming schools for two decades, its principal set out to change the culture and expectations among students, teachers and parents. Calling the challenge “Mission Possible,” she started with a decision to love all of the students, making them feel safe and accepted. The beautifully executed film, which follows the principal, parents and students for a year, shows the challenges they face in a state that has the largest achievement gap between black and white children in the U.S. An important subject – inspiring, heartwarming and hopeful.

MOTHERLOAD
Director: Liz Canning
Country: USA, Running Time: 86 min.
In MOTHERLOAD, the cargo bicycle becomes a vehicle for exploring parenthood in this digital age of climate change. As Marin filmmaker and new mother, Liz Canning, meets people behind the push to replace cars with purpose-built bikes, she contemplates the increasing tension between modern life and our hunter-gatherer DNA, and discovers the history and potential future of the bicycle as the “ultimate social revolutionizer.” Conflict arises when characters in the film encounter cultural resistance – in particular, “bikelash” focused on women and mothers. MOTHERLOAD draws connections here to the struggle of cyclist Suffragettes and women’s seemingly endless fight for bodily autonomy.

THE MUSTANGS: AMERICA’S WILD HORSES
Director: Steven Latham
Country: USA, Running Time: 74 min.
This beautiful documentary takes audiences on an odyssey throughout America to places few people have seen or even know about. There are more than 80,000 wild horses on our federal lands and more than 50,000 in government holding facilities. Whether you are a horse person or not, this film will make you fall in love with America all over again and understand why the protection of our wild horses and our public lands are worth fighting for. Wild horse sanctuary Return to Freedom, located in San Luis Obispo, is featured in the film.

THE POLLINATORS
Director: Peter Nelson
Country: USA, Running Time: 92 min.
Much of the food on our tables comes from the intrinsic act of pollinating the flowers that become the fruits, vegetables and nuts we eat. But the agricultural practices, pesticides and politics are making that simple act of nature more difficult every day. THE POLLINATORS takes us on a cinematic journey around the United States, as he follows migratory beekeepers and their truckloads of honey bees. Director/cinematographer Peter Nelson meets some fascinating farmers, scientists, chefs, economists and academics that give a broad perspective about the threats to honey bees and what it means to our food security.

SEX, DRUGS AND BICYCLES
Director: Jonathan Blank
Countries: USA/Netherlands, Running Time: 86 min.
Funny, creative and provocative, SEX, DRUGS & BICYCLES takes a good look at Dutch social democracy and answers the question: is having month-long double paid vacations, no fear of homelessness, and universal healthcare the nightmare we’ve been warned about? The answer may surprise you. Then again it may not. It really depends on a lot of factors outside our control. This is an enjoyable ride no matter what!

THE STORY OF PLASTIC
Director: Deia Schlosberg
Country: USA, Running Time: 89 min.
Headlines tout the crisis involving toxic plastic pollution, but not as much about plastic’s origin. This informative, sobering film aims to change that. A neighborhood in the Philippines that’s awash in plastic trash. A pipeline in Pennsylvania. A single refinery in Texas. They’re all part of a web of plastics infrastructure working together to significantly increase the amount of plastics in the world, threatening the life expectancy of animals, humans and Earth itself. Striking footage, original animations and archival material combine in this timely, must-see film that educates, offers solutions – and motivates us to change.

SHORT FILMS

NARRATIVE SHORTS
AGE OF DYSPHORIA
Director: Jessica Petelle
Country: Canada, Running Time: 19 min.

ALINA
Director: Rami Kodeih
Country: USA, Running Time: 25 min.

ANNA
Director: Dekel Berenson
Country: Ukraine, Running Time: 15 min.

AVA IN THE END
Director: Ursula Ellis
Country: USA, Running Time: 10 min.

BALLOON
Director: Jeremy Merrifield
Country: USA, Running Time: 17 min.

BREATHLESS
Director: YiJia Fang
Country: China, Running Time: 16 min.

BURQA CITY
Director: Bracq Fabrice
Country: France, Running Time: 20 min.

THE CHEF
Director: Hao Zheng
Country: USA, Running Time: 20 min.

¡COME! (EAT)
Director: Lizette Barrera
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min.

EXTRA INNINGS
Director: John Gray
Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min.

FEELING THROUGH
Director: Doug Roland
Country: USA, Running Time: 18 min.

THE GERMAN KING
Director: Adetokumboh M’Cormack
Country: USA, Running Time: 20 min.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
Director: Sudhanshu Saria
Country: India, Running Time: 37 min.

MAESTRO
Director: Illogic
Country: France, Running Time: 2 min.

THE ONE YOU NEVER FORGET
Director: Morgan Jon Fox
Country: USA, Running Time: 8 min.

PLANET EARTH CALLING ANA
Director: Fernando Bonelli
Country: Spain, Running Time: 20 min.

SHORT CALF MUSCLE
Director: Victoria Warmerdam
Country: Netherlands, Running Time: 13 min.

STORY
Director: Jolanta Bankowska
Country: Poland, Running Time: 5 min.

TOKE IS CHEAP
Director: Kerry van der Griend
Country: Canada, Running Time: 23 min.

UMBRELLA
Directors: Helena Hilario, Mario Pece
Country: Brazil, Running Time: 8 min.

US MX
Director: Joseph O. Hooten
Country: USA, Running Time: 16 min.

YOUR MONSTER
Director: Caroline Lindy
Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min.

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
CAMP ALEC
Director: Christopher Stoudt
Country: USA, Running Time: 18 min.

DICK PIC’S!
Directors: Hannah McSwiggen, Russell Sheaffer
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min.

FULL CIRCLE
Director: Patrick Norman
Country: USA, Running Time: 38 min.

GLORIA’S CALL
Director: Cheri Gaulke
Country: USA, Running Time: 17 min.

THE GREAT TOILET PAPER SCARE
Director: Brian Gersten
Country: USA, Running Time: 11 min.

KNOCKING DOWN THE FENCES
Director: Megan Shutzer
Country: USA, Running Time: 12 min.

LAST WEEK AT ED’S
Directors: Lawrence and Meg Kasdan
Country: USA, Running Time: 40 min.

SUSTAINED OUTRAGE
Director: Gabriela Cavanagh
Country: USA, Running Time: 24 min.

WATERPROOF
Director: Ross Kauffman
Country: USA, Running Time: 31 min.

WE BEGAN TO SING
Director: Polly Wells
Country: Canada, Running Time: 23 min.

ABOUT SAN LUIS OBISPO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
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 film festival’s thoughtful audiences and unique programming sensibility. At the SLO Film Fest, “Movies Matter!”

(* Featured photo credited and in remembrance of John Kevin O’Connor)

SLOFF_2020

(Source: Press release from SLOIFF, Wildworks PR)

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 SloFilmFest.org)