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The 2018 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival Announces Award Winners

Harris Doran’s Beauty Mark wins Best Narrative Feature, with Moon Chang-Yong,and Jeon Jin’s Becoming Who I Was named Best Documentary Feature. Audience Award winners are led by Peter Luisi’s Streaker (Best Narrative Feature), Julie Simone’s Fiddlin’ (Best Documentary Feature), and Mark Hayes’s Skid Row Marathon (Best of Fest)
San Luis Obispo, CA (March 28, 2018) – The 2018 San Luis Obispo Film Festival announced the winners of their jury and audience awards during closing night events held over consecutive evenings, Saturday, March 17, and Sunday, March 18, at San Luis Obispo’s legendary Fremont Theatre.
 
Leading the way for the jury awards were Harris Doran’s Beauty Mark (Best Narrative Feature) and Moon Chang-Yong and Jeon Jin’s Becoming Who I Was (Best Documentary Feature).

Vicki Vlasic, Julie Simone (FIDDLIN_), Joe Gillette (RECEPTION), Gabby & Mark Hayes (Skid Row Marathon) (Photo by Brittany App)

Audience Award winners were topped by Peter Luisi’s STREAKER (Flitzer), chosen as Best Narrative Feature, Julie Simone’s Fiddlin’ winning audience favor as Best Documentary Feature, and Mark Hayes’s documentary Skid Row Marathon taking the Best of Fest award.
Pam Grier (Photo Brittany App)

 
 
 
The George Sidney Independent Film Awards took place on Saturday, preceding the presentation of SLO’s King Vidor Award to 70s cinema icon, Pam Grier. The festival’s Student Filmmaker Awards and Audience Awards were announced the following evening, prior to the presentation of SLO’s Spotlight Award to Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Robin Swicord.
Robin Swicord (Photo Johannes Beals)

“The winning films highlighted the variety and scope of the programming offered to our film fans this year,” said San Luis Obispo Film Festival Director Wendy Eidson. “The SLO Film Fest demonstrated once again that sandwiched between our celebration of the surfing community, wine country, local films and filmmakers and honorees, is a slate of competition films that are challenging and provocative, as well as being entertaining – and our jury members and audiences responded enthusiastically to that.”
Additional winners in the George Sidney Independent Film Awards category were Marcus Markou’s Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times (Best Narrative Short Film), Matthew Gelb’s Prince of Smoke (Best Documentary Short Film), and Joel Fendelman’s Man On Fire (Best Student Film). The short films chosen for Audience Award nods were Joe Gilette’s Reception (Best Narrative Short Film), and Ric and Jen Serena’s My Indiana Muse (Best Documentary Short Film).
Winners of the Central Coast Filmmaker Awards were; Gail Osherenko’s Broke: The Santa Barbara Oil Spill Of 2015 (Best Documentary Feature); Haley White’s Maudie (Best Narrative Short Film); Casey McGarry’s The Boat Maker (Best Documentary Short Film); and John Gallen and Alex Faoro’s Daddy (Best Student Film).
Logan Gilbert (How To Keep Wildlife Safe), Isabella Masrouga (Maybe the Monster) (Photo Birttany App)

Sunday also featured awards given to the top high school and middle school students whose films screened in SLO’s Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase. Best Individual Achievement went to Raymond’s Peel (High School), and Isabella Masrouga’s Maybe The Monster (Middle School). The films chosen for Best Group Achievement were Grant Thorshov’s Mindtrap (High School), and Liliana Monge, Sage Taub,and Kai Monge’s The Wild Child (Middle School). Gregory Thom’s One Life won Best SLO County, Logan Gilbert’s How To Keep Wildlife Safe took The Wild World We Love Award, and Leonardo Perez’s The Gourmet Stray was named Best Animated Film. There was a tie in the Best International Film category, with Partho Gupte’s Jasmine Stung (India), and Yiwen Gong’s Cycle, Cycle, Cycle (China) sharing the top prize.
The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival opened with a large and enthusiastic crowd enjoying Shubhashish Bhutiani’s Hotel Salvation at the Fremont Theatre before continuing the Bollywood-themed evening under the SLO festival’s tent at the Mission steps with Indian dancers from the Cal Poly Student Association, party favors, Central Coast wine, beer and a mixture of savory Indian and American food. However, that evening actually managed to pale in comparison to the raucous standing room only crowd that turned out for the festival’s signature “Surf Nite” also at the Fremont, featuring Tim Bonython’s latest film, The Big Wave Project and Ross Haines’s The Agave Gun.
Other highlights included filmmaker panels featuring Spotlight Award honoree Robin Swicord, Nicholas Kazan (Reversal Of Fortune), Anthony Peckham (Invictus), Scott Budnick (The Hangover), and others. Programming and events also highlighted women and female filmmakers, like the ironically-titled “Women Belong in the Kitchen,” where female chefs and restaurant owners competed in a “Chopped”-style competition, before the documentary A Fine Line, about the rarity of women in commercial kitchens. Let It Shine, a film documenting the SLO Women’s March, and Jennifer Townsend’s Catching Sight Of Thelma & Louise, the 79-year-old first-time filmmaker’s in-depth look into the effects of that iconic film many years after its release, were screened among others.
 
Pam Grier and Ben Mankiewicz (Photo Alan Fraser)

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival was capped by the award presentations featuring two accomplished women in film, with Pam Grier receiving the King Vidor Award on Saturday night. She then participated in a lively conversation with Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz in which she regaled the SLO audience with stories including teaching Fellini how to make fried chicken, being thrown out of the Troubadour with John Lennon, and Quentin Tarantino stopping L.A. traffic to meet her.
Jenelle Riley and Robin Swicord (Photo Brittany App)

The next evening, Robin Swicord spoke with Variety’s Jenelle Riley after receiving the festival’s Spotlight Award and discussed the realities of being a woman writing and making films in Hollywood.
 
 
 
2018 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival Jury Ryan Cooley – Arts Editor (New Times) John Hampian – Production Manager/Producer (Mad Men, Kingdom, Magic City) Kirk Honeycutt – Author/Film Critic/Journalist (Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University) Betsy Kalin – Producer/Director (ROOF, HEARTS CRACKED OPEN, CHAINED!)
Camilla Lanham – Editor (New Times)
Sarah Linn – Entertainment Editor (The Tribune)
Cindy Myers – Screenwriter (A Woman of Independent Means, Incident in a Small Town)
Tom Walters – Writer/Producer/Director (BOTSO)
Lia Rinaldo – Managing Director (Devour! The Food Film Fest)
The 2018 San Luis Obispo Film Festival Award Winners:
GEORGE SIDNEY INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS
BEAUTY MARK – Best Narrative Feature
Director: Harris Doran
BECOMING WHO I WAS – Best Documentary Feature
Directors: Moon Chang-Yong, Jeon Jin
TWO STRANGERS WHO MEET FIVE TIMES – Best Narrative Short Film
Director: Marcus Markou
PRINCE OF SMOKE – Best Documentary Short Film
Director: Matthew Gelb
MAN ON FIRE – Best Student Film
Director: Joel Fendelman
AUDIENCE AWARDS
STREAKER (Flitzer) – Best Narrative Feature
Director: Peter Luisi
FIDDLIN’ – Best Documentary Feature
Director: Julie Simone
SKID ROW MARATHON – Best in the Fest
Director: Mark Hayes
RECEPTION – Best Narrative Short Film
Director: Joe Gillette
MY INDIANA MUSE Best Documentary Short Film
Directors: Ric Serena, Jen Serena
CENTRAL COAST FILMMAKER AWARDS
BROKE: THE SANTA BARBARA OIL SPILL OF 2015 – Best Documentary Feature
Director: Gail Osherenko
MAUDIE – Best Narrative Short Film
Director: Haley White
THE BOAT MAKER – Best Documentary Short Film
Director: Casey McGarry
DADDY – Best Student Film
Directors: John Gallen, Alex Faoro
FILMMAKERS OF TOMORROW SHOWCASE
PEEL – Best Individual Achievement (High School)
Director: Raymond
MAYBE THE MONSTER – Best Individual Achievement (Middle School)
Director: Isabella Masrouga
MINDTRAP – Best Group Achievement (High School)
Director: Grant Thorshov
THE WILD CHILD – Best Group Achievement (Middle School)
Directors: Liliana Monge, Sage Taub, Kai Monge
ONE LIFE – Best SLO County
Director: Gregory Thom
HOW TO KEEP WILDLIFE SAFE – The Wild World We Love Award
Director: Logan Gilbert
THE GOURMET STRAY – Best Animated Film
Director: Leonardo Perez
JASMINE STUNG – Best International Film (TIE)
Director: Partho Gupte
Country: India
CYCLE, CYCLE, CYCLE – Best International Film (TIE)
Director: Yiwen Gong
Country: China
ABOUT SAN LUIS OBISPO FILM FESTIVAL
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. At the SLO Film Fest, “Movies Matter!”