The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLO Film Fest) will once again attract stars, great films and film enthusiasts to the Central Coast of California, when it celebrates its 26th Annual festival from March 17th to 22nd, 2020.

The submission deadline for our two main competition is now past, but the youth competition (Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase) is now open until January 13, 2020.

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

Named for the fifth time to MovieMaker Magazine's list of the "Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee", the SLO Film Fest was also called "one of the best film events in the country" by MovieMaker publisher, Timothy Rhys after a festival visit. Come and find out why filmmakers, celebrities and the press return year after year to enjoy the Festival's perfect balance of film, wine and fun!

George Sidney Independent Film Competition Prize categories:
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short Film
Best Documentary Short Film
Best Student Film (any length)

All winners will receive cash prizes: $1000 for feature-length films and $500 for short and student categories. Other prizes may also be awarded.

The Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase films are eligible for awards in the same categories, but not cash prizes. Competition films will also be eligible for Audience Awards in five categories: Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature, Best Short Narrative Film, Best Short Documentary Film and Best in Fest (any length.) Best in the Fest award is a weekend resort package at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort in Avila Beach.

The SLO Film Fest reserves the right to determine eligibility of any work submitted. All films submitted must have a completion date after March 1, 2018. Preferred format for screening copies is online link – preferably Vimeo or YouTube.

Films selected for screening at the Festival will be notified no later than January 31, 2019. All George Sidney Independent Film Competition filmmakers will be provided with one night’s accommodation at a hotel in the San Luis Obispo area. They will also be given two all-access passes to the 2020 SLO Film Fest.

Filmmakers with films that were produced, directed or written by residents in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara or Monterey counties are invited to submit their films for a discounted entry fee, for possible screening in the Central Coast Filmmakers Showcase. The same film cannot be entered in the George Sidney Independent Film Competition however. A separate set of jurists will choose a selection of films to be screened as “local” films. If the “local” film is entered in the George Sidney Independent Film Competition it will be judged by the SLO Film Fest Programming Committee along with all other entries from around the world. If a film is entered in the wrong category, it will be disqualified.

SLO Film Fest Alumni filmmakers are invited to submit a new film with a fee waiver.

Overall Rating
  • Drew Boylan

    Simply amazing festival in such a picturesque destination. The staff is so communicative and really makes you feel like you are a part of the SLO Film Fest family. Great networking opportunities each night of the festival as well. Highly recommended!

    November 2019
  • Thiago Dadalt

    Great Festival! Can't wait to come back

    July 2019
  • Lucas Bell

    A wonderful festival. Super communicative Staff and wonderful turnouts with engaging Q&A's at our packed screenings. We highly recommend attending the festival and submitting your film to SLO! Great experience and amazing location.

    June 2019
  • SLO International Film Festival has an incredible programme and audience turnout. We're thrilled our client THE DRINK could screen this year. Unfortunately we couldn't attend but fingers crossed for 2020!

    May 2019
  • Bruno Chatelin

    We are a big fan of SLO film fest, thrilled they have been such big fans of Rob's works. everything seemed so easy. Trust and passion.
    Bruno Chatelin Rob Stewart's agent

    April 2019