The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF) announced its slate of films and events for the 17th annual Festival scheduled to take place in San Luis Obispo County, California, from Wednesday, March 9 to Sunday, March 13, 2011.

This year, the Festival kicks off with a Sneak Preview event at the brand-new Galaxy Theatres in Atascadero, on Saturday, March 5th. Not only will the theatre be open to Festival attendees for the first time ever, but the Festival will be previewing two films that have yet to be shown in public in the U.S.: a Canadian documentary, Na Nai’a, Legend of the Dolphins, and IFC’S Certified Copy starring Juliet Binoche and Willian Shimmel.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to open the Galaxy Theatres and enjoy the luxury of having a new state-of-the-art theatre complex for the run of the Festival,” said Festival Director, Wendy Eidson. “We have a great lineup of films playing there, with a focus on “50 Years of Classics”, great musicals, westerns and dramas from the 20’s through the 60’s, with local and Hollywood personalities to introduce each film.”

The Festival will open with several World Premieres and a variety of films made by tri- county area filmmakers as part of the Central Coast Filmmaker Showcase, sponsored by Pacific Eye.  These opening night films include Lynching Charlie Lynch, with Mr. Lynch and filmmaker Rick Ray (10 Questions for the Dalai Lama) in attendance, and Killing Memories, by SLO filmmaker and Vietnam vet, Peter Pepper.

Other film highlights throughout the Festival include excellent new award-winning documentaries, The People Speak, Wretches and Jabberers, Voices Unbound: The Story of the Freedom Writers, and City LAX: An Urban Lacrosse Story. Filmmakers will be in attendance for lively Q&A sessions and several members of the HighRoad/HTC bicycle racing team will be on hand, with team owner Bob Stapleton for screenings of Chasing Legends, based on the team’s amazing success in the 2009 Tour de France.

There will also be many provocative and entertaining new narrative features and short films, including Thanks, starring comedienne Rita Rudner (who will be in attendance with her husband/director, Martin Bergman), Nothing Special starring Karen Black and Barbara Bain, and Pound of Flesh starring Malcolm McDowell and Timothy Bottoms. The short film God of Love, nominated for an Academy Award this year, will screen twice, as will the short film, Lab Rats, written by Shell Beach resident Louis Rosenberg and the feature film, Polish Bar, directed by San Luis Obispo resident, Ben Berkowitz.

Another new addition to the Festival this year is the CHICKS ‘N FLICKS program, headquartered at the Monday Club in San Luis Obispo. The program will celebrate the success of women in the film industry from the early silent days to the present, with a series of films, panel discussions, workshops and wine tastings. This program was made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.  Special guests include author Mollie Gregory (Women Who Run the Show); actresses Karen Black, Barbara Bain, and Virginia Madsen; UC Santa Cruz film historian Shelley Stamp and many directors, producers and writers with films in the Festival this year.

Red Carpet Events are always an important part of the Festival. Besides the Sneak Preview event on March 5th, Surf Nite in SLO will be back for its sixth year at the Fremont Theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo, on Friday, March 11. This year’s event will feature the award-winning film, The Westsiders, directed by Joshua Pomer. This edgy new documentary focuses on the rise and fall of The Westsiders surf tribe as seen through the eyes of three best friends from the original ”Surf City”: Santa Cruz, California.  Best friends Daryl “Flea” Virostko, Shawn “Barney” Barron, and Jason “Ratboy” Collins bonded by common tragedy and their love of surfing.  As always, a fun and stimulating Q&A is planned after the screening of the film, as well as a pre-screening meet-and-greet at SLO Brewing Company.

On the Closing night of the Festival, Sat. March 12, the Fremont Theatre will once again host the 2011 Independent Film Awards. Major media sponsors will present cash awards in five categories, as well as three Audience Awards. Also, Alan Arkin,  last year’s King Vidor Award recipient,  will return to host the presentation of the 2011 King Vidor Award for Excellence in Filmmaking to this year’s honoree, to be announced soon. Following the awards, the Fremont will play host to America’s first Ultimate Laughing Contest, MC’d by Canadian filmmaker Albert Nerenberg, director of Laughology. Contestants will be judged by local “Laughter yoga leaders”, and the evening will end with a screening of the new documentary, Laughology.

On Saturday, March 12, Avila Beach will host the 3rd annual Movie in a Day Marathon, with amateur filmmakers competing to make a short film in only 7 hours, from conception to finished film. Films are based on a logline given immediately before shooting begins. Crews of four will fan out through downtown Avila Beach and the Avila Valley to shoot their films and completed films and prizes will be presented on Sunday, March 13, in Avila Beach and at the Downtown Cinemas in San Luis Obispo. This special workshop is sponsored by the Avila Beach Community Foundation.

And on Saturday, March 12, the SLOIFF will celebrate youth filmmakers at the Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase, at the Galaxy Theatres, with two screenings of
short films by young people aged 10 to 18. Films being screened were submitted from youth filmmakers all over the country, and are eligible for cash prizes.

via:  San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF)

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