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Dale Dickey and Michael Showalter to be Honored at San Luis Obispo International Film Festival
Dale Dickey and Michael Showalter (Photo by Brouk Peters)

Dale Dickey (A Love Song) will receive the King Vidor Award and Michael Showalter (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) will be this year’s Spotlight Award honoree at the 28th Annual San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (April 26-May 1). Stacy Peralta’s The Yin and Yang of Gerry Lopez was also announced as the featured film for this year’s Surf Nite at the Drive-in.

San Luis Obispo Film Festival Director Skye McLennan said, “We have been thrilled to return to the SLO Film Fest we have all known and loved for so long and bring back traditions, beloved favorites within our programming and events that this film festival is known for. The King Vidor Award, the Spotlight Award, Surf Nite, moderated talks with Ben Mankiewicz, Jenelle Riley, and more are the things lovers of cinema on the Central Coast have sorely missed. I can speak for everyone here when I say we are counting each day until SLO Film Fest opens next week!”

In addition to the film festival’s return to in-person screenings at movie theaters for the first time in two years, this edition of SLO Film Fest will also include the first live presentations of the film festival’s celebrated King Vidor and Spotlight Awards during the Filmmaker Awards Night on Saturday, April 30 at the Fremont Theater (1035 Monterey Street). A popular highlight of the film festival, the presentations will also feature the always entertaining moderated “Conversations on Film” with Turner Classic Movies’ Ben Mankiewicz and Variety’s Jenelle Riley.

Receiving this year’s King Vidor Award, will be veteran character actor, Dale Dickey, who has received much attention as one of the stars of Max Walker-Silverman’s romantic drama, A Love Song. Dickey, who has long been regarded as one of film and television’s most prolific and critically esteemed supporting players, stars opposite Wes Studi, as a couple, childhood sweethearts several years ago, who are now both widowed. They meet up at a campsite and reconnect, sharing stories, memories, and emotions during a night by a lake in the mountains.

One of Hollywood’s most coveted character actors, Dale Dickey forged a reputation for illuminating gritty, dark, and oftentimes damaged characters. Following inspired performances onstage, including the Broadway production of “The Merchant of Venice” (1989) and the 2009 stage adaptation of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Dickey has put together an enviable list of performances together in films like Sordid Lives (2000), Winter’s Bone (2010), Super 8 (2011), Iron Man 3 (2013), Hell or High Water (2016), and Palm Springs (2020), and on countless television shows like The X-Files, True Blood, Breaking Bad, and My Name is Earl. Her role in A Love Song is a well-deserved lead in a feature that has been critically acclaimed since its debut at Sundance earlier this year.

Receiving the film festival’s Spotlight Award will be Michael Showalter, the prolific director, writer, and producer who skillfully blends drama and comedy, telling unique and heartfelt stories with unconventional lead characters. Showalter most recently directed The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which earned two Academy Awards including Best Actress for Jessica Chastain and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. On the television side, Showalter also recently directed, and executive produced the critically acclaimed miniseries The Dropout, starring Amanda Seyfried. Showalter’s other feature credits include The Lovebirds, which he directed and produced, starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, and the critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated film The Big Sick, which he directed, and Hello My Name Is Doris, for which he also wrote and directed. He is also the co-creator of the cult-comedy favorite Wet Hot American Summer and the hit HBO Max original series, Search Party, which just premiered its fifth and final season. Upcoming films include directing and producing Spoiler Alert, starring Sally Field and Jim Parsons, and executive producing I Love That for You, an upcoming series for Showtime, starring Molly Shannon and Vanessa Bayer.

SLO Film Fest’s Surf Nite, its signature one-of-a-kind surfing film event, will feature Stacy Peralta’s The Yin and Yang of Gerry Lopez. The documentary looks at one of surfing’s most enigmatic heroes. Famously known as “Mr. Pipeline” for his calm demeanor in the tube, Lopez built his career with aggressive surfing that left behind a trail of blood and tears. As radical as he is Zen, Lopez transcends categorization. His influence on modern surfing is immeasurable and for the first time, his story has been told in full. Presented on Thursday, April 28, at the Sunset Drive-In for the second straight year. Surf Nite will include the traditional appearance of some classic 1960s surfing autos to add to the atmosphere of what could be called the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” for the surfing film lover. The evening will include the iconic cars and live music from the Boomer Surf Band before the feature presentation and the first 100 people to arrive early will receive a custom t-shirt from Cayucos Collective.

Along with the aforementioned honorees, this year’s San Luis Obispo International Film Festival will have many filmmakers descending on the Central Coast from outside the state and other parts of California to represent their films and participate in post screening Q&As and more. Among them are; Alastair Evans (DIR/PROD) A Crack in the Mountains; Kristy Guevara-Flanagan (DIR/PROD), Josh Beddingfield (Sound); Aguilas; Lorena Gordon (DIR) At Last; Sandra Chandler (DP) The Automat; Elaine Carmody (PROD), Jason Park (DIR/SCR) BJ’s Mobile Gift Shop; Robert Walker (PROD) Bring Them Home; Mye Hoang (DIR), Dave Boyle (PROD/ED), Jeff Judkins (Subject) Cat Daddies; Ulysses Salcido (PROD/DP), Victor Villa (Subject) Échale Ganas: The Villa’s Tacos Story; Seanne Winslow (DIR/SCR/PROD) The Falconer; Geoff Pingree (PROD) Fireboys; Nicholas Weisman (PROD) Havana Libre; Justin Monroe (DIR/PROD) Holy Frit; Cheryl Bookout (DIR/SCR/PROD), Cheri Gaulke (DIR/SCR/PROD), Stacy Sweeting (PROD), Jeff Hafler (Subject) Inside the Beauty Bubble; CJ Russo (DIR/SCR/PROD), Chiah Rodriques (CAST) Lady Buds; Isabel Castro (DIR), Doris Munoz (Subject), Ruth Munoz (Subject) Mija; Afton Quast Saler (DIR), Jesse Saler (DP) Neurodivergent; PJ Palmer (DIR/SCR/PROD), Ryan Haffey (PROD), Emily Palmer (PROD), Caroline Metz (EXEC PROD), Zelda Hallman (EXEC PROD), Ernesto Lomeli (DP) North Star; Kanani Koster (DIR), Jasmine Karcey (DP), Janie Faison (Art Director) No Spectators Allowed; David Baram (DIR/SCR/PROD), Harry Baram (CAST) One All the Way; Nicholas P. Vilarreal (DIR), Alessandro Squitti (PROD) On/Off; James Becket (DIR) The Seeds of Vandana Shiva; Alison Rich (DIR/SCR/CAST) Training Wheels; Orion Huang (DIR) The Yellow Panther: The Life of Richard Aoki.

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