For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Friday, March 7, 2014

20th Annual SLOIFF: Day 1 of Movies!

Yesterday I cried at least twice. But I also smiled, laughed and learned a heck of a lot. By attending three screenings at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (SLOIFF), I watched a little-known piece of history unfold in the riveting documentary, "Second Opinion;" I discovered the heartening life story of a Morro Bay resident in "Botso: The Teacher from Tiblisi;" and I learned the whole story of the high school student who gained national attention in 2010 when she collapsed at a cross-country meet and crawled across the finish line in "Running for Jim."

Not only did these powerful documentaries bring three very different stories to life for audiences, but after each screening the filmmakers were present for Q&A's. Being able to engage in these illuminating sessions and hear their "stories behind the stories" after watching their films is what makes a film festival so extraordinary.
Filmmaker Eric Merola and Science Writer Ralph Moss at Downtown Cinemas in Downtown San Lius Obispo

In "Second Opinion," filmmaker Eric Merola recounted the 1970s events of science writer, Ralph Moss. Moss, who blew the whistle on a massive cover-up on a promising cancer therapy being tested at Sloan-Kettering, was also in attendance for the Q&A. This movie screens again today at 4pm at La Perla Del Mar in Shell Beach.

Wachtung "Botso" Korisheli, SLOIFF's Managing Director Charlotte Alexander, Writer/Producer Hillary Roberts Grant, Director/Producer Tom Wallters, and Producer David Thayer at the Fremont Theatre in Downtown San Luis Obispo.
"Botso: The Teacher from Tiblisi" shares the extraordinary life of one of San Luis Obispo County's long-time residents, Wachtung "Botso" Korisheli. His early hardships in Stalinist Georgia brought him to the United States, where he's lived an exemplary life as a musician, sculptor, teacher, mentor, husband, father and friend to many. This film portrays one of the most inspirational stories I've ever seen and audiences have the opportunity to watch it Sunday, March 9, at 10am at the Palm Theatre in downtown San Luis Obispo.

SLOIFF's Artistic Director Wendy Eidson and Director Robin Hauser Reynolds at the Fremont Theatre
In 2010, remember the media blitz when 16-year-old Holland Reynolds collapsed near the finish line at a cross-country meet, then crawled through the finish to secure the title for her team and her ailing coach? Her mother, Robin Hauser Reynolds, co-directed the inspirational film, "Running for Jim," which shares the story of Jim Tracy, the most decorated high school cross-country coach in California history, and serves to bring awareness to the fatal Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), which Coach Tracy is currently battling.

I hope you can attend some of the SLOIFF's screenings and Q&A's over the next three days where you can laugh, cry and learn. That's a wrap!

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