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 29th Annual festival from April 25 - 30, 2023.

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 2023 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 Video's). 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 10 minutes or less.

Named for the sixth 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 former 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)
Best Music Video
Best Animated Film

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

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.) Prizes will be announced in early 2023.

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, 2021. 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 1, 2023. 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 2023 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.

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

Overall Rating
  • David Baram

    Absolutely wonderful and well run festival! The team is amazing and honored to have been part of the festival.

    June 2022
  • Anuja Ganpule-Sheorey

    I felt welcomed and had a lot of communication from the organizers. Met a lot of fun people and saw a lot of awesome films! 10/10!

    June 2022
  • Mye Hoang

    Great experience and audiences at SLO! Top notch hospitality. Most of my screenings were great. One screening was at a new venue they had not used before, so that turnout was less than expected, but the other screenings were great. I love the town and really recommend attending if you are able. I didn't get to attend many events, but loved their filmmaker lounge!

    May 2022
  • Amazing festival, everyone that helps organize the event does a great job and is only going to get bigger. Stoked to have been apart of the event. Look forward to the future of SLO FILM FEST!

    May 2022
  • SLO Film Fest is everything I'd hoped it would be -- open, curious, friendly, and passionate staff, filmmakers, and audiences make up the community. The film program was beautifully curated and the hospitality truly can't be beat. There were great networking opportunities and the events were well-sponsored. I made new friends and saw some excellent, diverse work. Having recently moved to the Central Coast, I'm eager to continue to get to know the SLO film community and am hopeful about making the county my artistic home.

    May 2022