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 it's 31st Annual festival, happening April 24-29, 2025.

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.

In 2025 we will be offering a hybrid festival with virtual and in person screenings. Prizes and cash awards will still be presented and our festival will continue its commitment to presenting world-class cinema in San Luis Obispo County.

There are three categories of competition at the SLO Film Fest. The George Sidney Independent Film competition is open to filmmakers worldwide, all ages and all genres (including our newest category, Music Videos). The Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase is open to producers, writers and/or directors living in San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Barbara counties. And the Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase is open to youth filmmakers, grades K-12, with films 5 minutes or less.

George Sidney Independent Film Competition Prize categories:
Best Narrative Feature
Best Documentary Feature
Best Narrative Short Film
Best Documentary Short Film
Best Student Film
Best Music Video
Best Animated Film

All winners will receive cash prizes: $1000 for feature-length films and $500 for short and student categories. Music Videos receive a $200 cash prize.

The Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase films are eligible for awards in the same categories, and other prizes may also be awarded.

George Sidney 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.)

The SLO Film Fest reserves the right to determine eligibility of any work submitted. All films submitted must have a completion date after July 1, 2023. Preferred format for screening copies is an online link – preferably Vimeo.

Films selected for screening at the Festival will be notified no later than February 15, 2025. All George Sidney Independent Film Competition filmmakers will be provided with one night’s accommodation at a hotel in the San Luis Obispo area (this does not include filmmakers in the Central Coast Filmmakers Showcase, Music Video Showcase, or Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase unless excess availability). They will also be given two all-access passes to the 2025 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. Please email for your waiver!

Submission fees are non-refundable and will not be refunded if a film is not selected.

Overall Rating
  • Chelsea Christer

    SLO is by and large my favorite film festival to attend. Skye and Grace are incredible hosts who are passionate about independent film and curate the most wonderful community experience for filmmakers and audiences. The theaters are beautiful and the events are so fun. Whenever anyone asks what film festival I am most excited to submit to or participate in, SLO is the one I can't wait to recommend. Do not sleep on submitting your film to this festival or even just checking it out as a patron.

    July 2024
  • Josh Peterson

    Fantastic festival in a beautiful town with a welcoming community. Excellent communication and hospitality -- they really care about filmmakers. Audiences are enthusiastic and engaged. And it's brilliantly curated -- you'll be proud to have your film in such great company. I've been twice now and I can't wait for the next time.

    June 2024
  • Sofia Garza-Barba

    What an amazing festival! I did not know what to expect, and left with so many wonderful memories, new connections, and had the best time. The entire team was so helpful, nice and welcoming. Hospitality was amazing! treating all filmmakers so well. The film festival's organization was spot on (more so than bigger festivals) and their film selections top notch. I can't wait to screen there again! Now it's on my top list of film festivals worldwide.

    May 2024
  • Really a wonderfully organized and programmed film festival. Highly recommend!

    May 2024
  • Bianca Catbagan

    Such an amazing time at this festival. They were so well organized and very generous with their filmmakers. I had 2 screenings for my music video, and that was a treat! The audience was very supportive, the screenings were well-attended, and the panels were insightful. As a queer person, I felt welcomed and celebrated. Thank you, Grace and Skye, and the whole team!

    May 2024