COVID Delays SLO Film Festival, Turns Cambria Virtual



Viewers watch a videotape featuring film clips from actress Pam Grier on March 17, 2018, at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo during the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.

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For the second year in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the routines and usual schedules of central coast film festivals.

Some choose to delay their events in the hope that the number of cases will improve and the tide will ease.

Many also rely on virtual components to avoid cancellation.

First of all, the Cambria Film Festival, now in its fifth year of celebrating love in cinema, will hardly take place until early February, “based on the current increase. of COVID cases and the likely peak “when the festival is scheduled, according to media information released Jan. 5.

The dates of the event are February 2-11. Full details, including virtual ticketing options and programming, are available at

The board of directors of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, hoping for a mix of in-person screenings and virtual presentations, has chosen to postpone its events, which were postponed from April 26 to May 1.

This festival was supposed to start on March 8.

The organizers wrote online at that, if all goes according to plan, “we will host a virtual experience and return in person to our favorite locations on the central coast!”

In the south, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival – the grandfather of the region’s cinematic extravagance that typically takes place off the central coast’s winter trifecta – is currently planning to host screenings and in-person events in postponing the festival to March again this year, as it did in 2021.

Organizers have set the Santa Barbara festival for March 2-12, however, noting online at that “that could change over the next two months, and if so, we’ll let you know.” .

Not to be outdone, little Big Sur also offers a film festival, a monthly online competition of independent short films.

As the organizers wrote online at, “Our goal is to promote and showcase emerging filmmakers. We believe every story is worth telling and we want to provide this opportunity. “


There will be pandemic rules to follow with any in-person event in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

The SLO festival website informed as early as January 6:We will follow state guidelines and, although subject to change, we will check proof of vaccination and / or a negative test to ensure the festival is safe for everyone involved. … We apologize for any inconvenience this causes, but we think this is the best.

The notice from the Santa Barbara website states: “All participants, staff and volunteers will need to provide photo identification and proof of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19. We recommend a booster injection for those who are eligible and for whom the CDC recommends.

The rules continued, “Some Festival events will require another negative COVID-19 test prior to admission. SBIFF to provide free tests. Masks will be mandatory inside as well as in the queue for all Festival events and screenings. The cinemas will operate at reduced capacity.

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Kathe Tanner has written about the people and places of SLO County’s North Coast since 1981, first as a columnist and then also as a journalist. Her career has included stints as a bakery owner, public relations manager, radio host, trail guide, and jewelry designer. She has lived in Cambria for over four decades, and if it happens in town, Kathe knows it.


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