San Luis Obispo International Film Festival 2019 Announces Slate

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The 25th Annual San Luis Obispo Film Festival (March 12-17) has revealed its full slate which begins with the Opening Night performance by Katharine Ross followed by a 50th Anniversary screening of the classic Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.

Along with the films competing in the George Sidney Independent Films Competition, SLO is bringing back several festival favorites from years past for encore presentations The line-up includes 147 films (23 narrative features, 38 documentary features, and 86 short films) representing 25 countries. 

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"It's always exciting for a film festival to celebrate an anniversary, and this is a big one for us. 25 Years! So along with another great lineup up of competition films, especially on the documentary side where our cup runneth over, as they say, we have brought back a number of favorites from years past here at SLO. There are award winners and films that truly affected our audiences, as well as classics that speak to the film festival's history or literally started traditions that we continue to follow today. A wonderful mix of the old with the new to cap a quarter century here at the SLO Film Fest!"

Kicking off the film festival will be the special Opening Night event, "An Evening with Katharine Ross" will take place on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at the Fremont Theatre, The acclaimed five-piece Malibu Coast Silent Film Orchestra will accompany Ross as she recounts the true story from Margaret K Wetterer's "Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express," of Kate Shelley followed by a special introduction to one of her classic films, BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID.
Closing Night will feature the presentation of San Luis Obispo native 25-year-old Hannah Marks' directorial debut, AFTER EVERYTHING to local audiences. Co-directed with Joey Power, AFTER EVERYTHING premiered at SXSW in 2018 to rave reviews and Marks was named one of the Rolling Stone's 25 under 25 Artists Changing the World. In the film, a young couple's relationship develops quickly when one of them is diagnosed with a life-changing illness.

Making its world premiere will be Dina Mande's TIN CITY about the wine region in Paso Robles wine country that has grown into a mecca for food and wine travelers from around the world. Guillermo García López's thought provoking DELICATE BALANCE, which looks at stories on three continents that touch on questions regarding our humanity, makes its North American premiere. Rodrigo Bernardo's MAYBE A LOVE STORY, about a man seeking to find out who the woman that just broke up with him actually is, since he has no recollection of her, and Meaghan and Marie Wright's documentary THE SOCIAL SHIFT, which captures the stories of change makers who use business as a tool for social good, will both be making their U.S. premieres at the SLO Film Fest this year.

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The 25 Years of Memorable Movies series of special screenings will include memorable films from the film festival's past, including; Sky Bergman's LIVES WELL LIVED (2016), a multiple award-winning filmed survey of  forty people, aged 75-100, sharing their stories of how to lead a meaningful life; Laura Davis and Tjardus Greidanus' THE SHOT FELT AROUND THE WORLD (2012), the dramatic story of the development of the polio vaccine; Shane McDougall's WEINER TAKES ALL (2009), a tongue-in-cheek "dogumentary" about the surprisingly cutthroat world of dachshund races, Chris Metzler's PLAGUES AND PLEASURES ON THE SALTON SEA (2004), the award-wining look at a blue jewel sitting in he harsh desert valley in California's southeast corner; and Tom Walters' BOTSO (2014), another award-winner, about Wachtung "Botso" Korisheli – musician, sculptor, and beloved teacher to generations.


Among the classics brought back for an encore are; William Wellman's A STAR IS BORN (1937) and William Wellman Jr's documentary about his legendary father, WILD BILL: HOLLYWOOD MAVERICK (1996). Wellman Jr. will be on hand for both screenings to discuss his father's amazing career.

Other classics to be seen on the big screens will include; King Vidor's HALLELUJAH (1929), the first "sound" film directed by the festival's career achievement award namesake; Ida Lupino's THE BIGAMIST (1953), with film critic and journalist Elizabeth Weitzman attending to discuss the film in relation to her latest book, "Renegade Women in Film and TV" in which Lupino certainly has a prominent place; Anthony Mann's epic EL CID (1962) starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren; John Ford's THE QUIET MAN (1952), screening appropriately enough, on St. Patrick's Day; a 3-D presentation of CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954), and a MARY POPPINS (1964) Sing-along, continuing a SLO tradition that started in 2000.
The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival's hugely popular "Surf Nite," celebrating the surfing culture and community via films featuring the gigantic waves and the people that seek to conquer them captured on the big screen will be back at the Fremont Theatre on Friday, March 15. The focus is on South Africa this year with the California premiere of SATORI, with director Rick Wall and surfer Rod Torr coming from Cape Town to attend the fest.

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The evening will begin with the short film CAN'T STEAL OUR VIBE, directed by Graham Nash for Van's, about a program to inspire disadvantaged youth in South Africa,  Additionally, "Surf's Up at the Bay Theatre" the following day will include; Anna Moore's THE ESSENCE, featuring archival footage by Bud Browne, a pioneer in surf cinematography; Elizabeth Pepin Silva's SUPER STOKED SURF MAMAS OF PLEASURE POINT, a film celebrating mothers who surf; and Aaron Lieber's  UNSTOPPABLE: BETHANY HAMILTON, about the charismatic young surfer who lost her arm to a tiger shark at age 13 -  all of which will be screened at the Bay Theater in Morro Bay (464 Morro Bay Blvd.) on Saturday, March 16.
The Special Presentations will also include the "Fighting Fascism" Film Series. The program will feature interactive talks, including one by Professor of Literature Larry Inchausti ("Hard to Be a Saint in the City") about Henry Miller's response to the brilliant Japanese monarchist and militarist author and playwright Yuko Mishima.

Films include; Jen Senko's documentary THE BRAINWASHING OF MY DAD (2016) about her father's transformation and descent into angry right-wing fanaticism due to his daily diet of FOX News viewing; Gregory La Cava's GABRIEL OVER THE WHITE HOUSE (1933) starring Walter Huston as a political hack who becomes President, yet undergoes a change of conscience and becomes an incorruptible statesman; and Paul Schrader's MISHIMA: A LIFE IN FOUR CHAPTERS (1985) about the celebrated and controversial Japanese author.

Films selected for the Narrative Competition, include; Leon Chambers' ABOVE THE CLOUDS; Richard Levien's COLLISIONS; Timothy Busfield's GUEST ARTIST; Danish Renzu's HALF WIDOW; Jesus del Cerro's HAWAII; Rodrigo Bernardo's MAYBE A LOVE STORY; William Dickerson's NO ALTERNATIVE; and Benedikt Erlingsson's WOMAN AT WAR.

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The robust group of Documentary Competition selections include; Steven Oritt's ACCCIDENTAL CLIMBER; Sarah Menzies' AFGHAN CYCLES; Nick Kovacic and Matt Riggieri's AGAVE: SPIRIT OF A NATION; Emily Kassie's A GIRL NAMED C; Robin Hauser's BIAS; Mia Tate's CAMPESINO; Oliva Martin-McGuire's CHINA LOVE; M.A. Taylor's THE CREEPY LINE; Guillermo García López's DELICATE BALANCE; Dina Khreino's FINE LINES; Sarah Kerruish and Matt Maude's GENERAL MAGIC; Bernardo Ruiz's HARVEST SEASON; Susan Rivo's LEFT ON PEARL; Lis Bartlett's LIGHT IN THE WATER; Meigan and Lucas Bell's LIVE THE STREAM: THE STORY OF JOE HUMPHREYS; Aube Giroux's MODIFIED; Delila Vallot's SATAN AND ADAM; Rob Stewart's SHARKWATER EXTINCTION; Meaghan and Marie Wright's THE SOCIAL SHIFT; Dina Mande's TIN CITY; Collin Monda's THE TROUBLE WITH WOLVES; Tyler Florence's UNCRUSHABLE; and Rob Garver's WHAT SHE SAID: THE ART OF PAULINE KAEL; and Zachary Stauffer's WHO KILLED LT. VAN DORN?
Passes are now on sale and information on the film festival can be found at

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