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 28th Annual festival from March 8th to 13th, 2022.

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 2022 we will 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 min. 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 2022.

The SLO Film Fest reserves the right to determine eligibility of any work submitted. All films submitted must have a completion date after December 1, 2019. 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, 2022. 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 2022 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
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  • Cindy Wathen-Kennedy

    This is hands down one of the best festivals on the circuit! Count your lucky stars if you get to be a part of the SLO Film Fest. Keep your eye on this festival. It's a true gem!

    July 2021
  • Lisa Molomot

    Wonderful festival. Thanks for supporting the film and helping to share this story.

    March 2021
  • Sarah Shoemaker

    San Luis Obispo Film Fest did an amazing job transitioning to the virtual model. Everyone was so friendly and professional and supportive. I hope to submit again and be able to attend in person.

    March 2021
  • Meital Cohen Navarro

    It was definitely the best virtual cinema experience so far. Wendy, Skye, and Grace's do an outstanding job of creating such an amazing atmosphere that celebrates indie filmmakers. A festival that truly cherishes the filmmakers. I am glad to be screening amongst so many amazing films at the SLO 2021 Edition. It was an honor to be included alongside impactful films touching important social and environmental issues. I can't wait to be there again in person!

    March 2021
  • One of the best film festivals in California! Highly recommend submitting your film!

    March 2021