SLO Film Festival kicks off Tuesday with a foodie's delight

Mar 14, 2017

The 2017 San Luis Obispo Film Festival starts Tuesday and runs through Sunday. Actor Josh Brolin, who grew up on a ranch in Templeton, will receive the festival’s top award on Saturday.

Film Festival Director Wendy Eidson said the festival tends to stay away from specific themes, but many of the films this year feature music or politics.

“This year there definitely has been a very political undertone. We actually really turned away quite a few good films because we had so many that were political,” Eidson said. “You know, you can only have so many, because you’re trying to keep this a fun experience for people as well.”

Eidson says 12 years ago, only 200 films were submitted to the festival. This year, they had to choose from 1000. She says screenings are getting more competitive too, and attendees should expect to wait in line.

“Standing in line at a film festival is actually very much a part of the experience...that’s where you get to talk people and meet people from all over the place and find out what movies they love,” Eidson said. “it really is part of the fun and we encourage people to come early and stand in line.” 

Opening night features Leslie Iwerks’ documentary on restauranteur Ella Brennan, owner of the venerable New Orleans fine dining spot Commander’s Palace, and a Mardi Gras-themed party. 15 local chefs are creating dishes and area wineries are providing the libations for a pre-screening fete.

The festival was started in 1993 by local film buffs. Each year, festival staff award the King Vidor Award for Excellence in Filmmaking to a successful celebrity, industry insider or personality. Films are screened at the Fremont Theatre, Mission Cinemas and the Palm Theater in San Luis Obispo, as well as the Bay Theater in Morro Bay and Park Cinemas in Paso Robles.

For complete listings, times and venues, check out the festival website at