Lights, camera, action! The annual SLO International Film Festival kicks off across SLO CAL each April showcasing more than 100 films from around the world. Kick back and watch at your favorite venues, including the Fremont Theater, Palm Theatre, Downtown Centre Cinemas, Sunset Drive-In, Park Cinemas and more. Ready to check out all of the movie magic surrounding this celebration of cinema? Read on, folks! 


1. We’re awesomely old school

people sitting in theater for SLO IFF
Photo provided by: SLO Film Fest

Yes, we’re just as cool as those thrifted Ray Bans. The SLO International Film Fest been around 30 years and counting. Over that time, the event has showcased a diverse collection of independent films—way too many to name here. Founded in 1993 by a few community-minded movie buffs, the festival brings together first-time filmmakers and pros, Hollywood celebs and movie lovers of all stripes (that’s you!). That history doesn’t mean the festival is stuck in the past, though—not by a long shot. Enjoy more than 100 films from around the world, incredible filmmakers, special guests from across the country, live music performances, workshops, panel discussions, red-carpet events, themed parties and more. 


2. We get around town


We’re screening all over SLO CAL! Enjoy contemporary and classic films flickering to life at the historic Fremont Theater, the Palm Theatre and Sunset Drive-In in San Luis Obispo. Lucky for you, there’s much to do before and after each screening, too. Pair your movie-going experiences with all kinds of awesome extras: hiking, surfing, antiquing, horseback riding—even a trip to the world-famous Hearst Castle, if you’re feeling fancy. Plus, the festival will encore in Paso Robles at the Park Cinemas. Savor live music paired with Paso’s famous wine offerings. How sweet is that?


3. We get a reaction

men watching a film at SLO IFF
Photo provided by: SLO Film Fest

When you showcase more than 100 films from around the world, you’re bound to get a few raised eyebrows. Whether you love psychological dramas, off-the-wall documentaries, quirky comedies or total tear-jerkers, the SLO International Film Festival is ready to move you—body, mind and soul. From inventive short films that bring a grin to your face to heartfelt features that stick with you long after the lights go up, you'll experience the rich tapestry that is film. Want a more detailed preview of what’s hitting the big screen? Check out a thrilling SLO International Film Festival selections. We're not crying...that's just soda in our eye.


4. We dare to be different

It’s time to shake things up. Back by popular demand, Surf Nite returnes to the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo each year, offering an interactive event fueled by the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd. Take part in a celebration of surf culture emblazoned across San Luis Obispo's most historic silver screen! With classic cars rumbling outside, cold drinks served in the lobby and live music, you’ll be transported into a tubular world, indeed. Get there early to soak up every drop of these feel-good vibes. 


5. We help you get your steps in

Couple walking on the streetWe love a good walk and talk. Forget where you parked the car and take a leisurely stroll to the screening of your choice. The Festival's incredible venues are nestled within some of SLO CAL’s most coveted (and walkable) destinations. Whether you enjoy the warm evening air as you shop and dine in Paso Robles Wine Country or explore the energetic epicenter of downtown San Luis Obispo, you'll surely experience local color, flavor and culture around every bend. Farmers' markets, artist galleries, craft beer and wine tasting rooms and culinary delights await—all just a quick jaunt from the theater.


6. We’ve got your questions answered

SLO IFF eventPhoto provided by: SLO Film Fest

Ever watch a great film only to be left with more questions than answers? If this applies to you, you’ll be stoked to know there are Q&A discussions after film showings. After all, understanding how or why the movie was made can be just as fascinating as the plot itself. Take part in a vibrant exploration of festival screenings featuring none other than the directors and cast members in the flesh. Simply raise your hand and take the microphone. We want to hear what you think (and that’s not lip service).


7. We believe you're a VIP

Outside of the Fremont theatre during the SLO Film Festival

No matter who you are, you’re very important to us. The SLO International Film Festival is excited to offer several festival passes designed to help you get the most of your movie-going experience. Whether you choose the premium Movie Mogul pass—which includes access to all festival screenings, workshops, panels and red carpet moments or the popular Movie Star Pass—which includes access to all regular Fest screenings and events—you’re sure to feel like a star. Check out all ticketing options, including individual and group fan packs, for easy, one-click admission. You can even gift movie buffs in your life festival tickets or nifty merch!


8. We’re in good company

Each year, the SLO International Film Fest celebrates films that wow. While all the screenings are amazing, some performances demand an extra round of applause. The festival’s King Vidor Award for Excellence in Filmmaking is named after the late SLO CAL resident King Vidor, Guinness Book of World Records title-holder for the Longest Film Director Career (1913-1980). A five-time Academy Award nominee, this beloved local celebrity even had a hand in The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind! While in his day Vidor made the transition from silent films to talkies, modern-day winners of the award—which include filmmakers, film artists and actors alike—carry the torch with exceptional contributions to the motion picture industry. Past award recipients include Jeff Bridges, Morgan Freeman and Ann Margret, to name just a few!


Where can I get festival tickets and passes? 
You can purchase tickets online at or in person at their box office during the month of April. 

When do the doors open for screenings?
Pass holders are let in 30 minutes before screenings. Those with pre-sold tickets can enter 15 minutes before screening time. All seating is general admission and will be seated as first-come, first-served. You are encouraged to arrive at least 35 minutes prior to screening time to reserve your place in line. 

Can I ask a question at a screening Q&A? 
Yes, in fact it's encouraged! 

How can I receive a complementary ticket?
Volunteers are given a ticket for a regular festival screening for every volunteer shift they work.

What are the SLO Film Festival venues?
Five theaters located in San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles. The 2024 venues are: Fremont Theater, Palm Theatre, Downtown Centre Cinemas, Park Cinemas and Sunset Drive-In.

Can I attend screenings virtually?
Yes, the virtual passes are available for Encore Week of the festivals. Learn more at

How long has the SLO International Film Festival been around? 
2024 will be the Festival's 30th year!