Cambrian: Slice of Life

Film fest’s local ties

Documentary filmmaker Leslie Iwerks meets ‘Mother Goose & Grimm’ cartoonist Mike Peters.
Documentary filmmaker Leslie Iwerks meets ‘Mother Goose & Grimm’ cartoonist Mike Peters. Courtesy photo

“You oughta be in pictures. You’re wonderful to see. You oughta be in pictures. Oh, what a hit you would be!”

— Nadine Dana Suesse and Eddie Heyman, “You Oughta Be in Pictures”

There’s something so kicky about watching a film with ties to your own hometown. Many Cambrians discovered that pleasure when the sci-fi thriller “Arachnophobia,” featuring Cambria locations and extras, was released in 1990 — although some of us with fear of spiders are ashamed to admit we’ve never yet been able to watch it.

The North Coast certainly is star-worthy for filming movies. What’s not to love: Tree-covered hills and rolling open fields stretching to the sea, homes from tiny to mansions, a charming downtown, wonderful people. 

So, it’s no surprise that, among the documentaries, features and shorts to be shown at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival through Sunday, March 10, are seven productions with ties to this area.

Among the festival’s North Coast-related selections are some by student producer-directors who live in Cambria or attend schools in Coast Unified School District. Another was produced by someone who used to represent the North Coast on the county Board of Supervisors. A third international-level documentary profiles William Randolph Hearst. Another film profiles director-actor Jim Buckley.

• The festival’s first (and last) North Coast-linked film is “Citizen Hearst,” about the powerful media magnate, his Castle and the corporation he founded. The Western U.S. public premiere of Leslie Iwerks’ 84-minute documentary will be in the hilltop Hearst Castle screening room, concluding a mostly-by-invitation-only event Friday, March 8 (a few tickets were still available for $400 each as of Tuesday).

“Citizen Hearst” also brings down the curtain on the 2013 festival at 6:30 p.m. March 10 at the Fremont Theatre in San Luis Obispo. There, tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for students and SLOIFF Film Society members.  

Three local films are part of the festival “Filmmakers of Tomorrow Showcase.” Admission to the showcase at 10 a.m. March 10 at Downtown Cinemas, 888 Marsh Street, is $5 for adults and free for students. A portion of monies raised are to be donated to a worthwhile youth organization; the remainder will be used to fund the festival’s summer youth filmmaking programs.

• “The Second Mission,” by Kyle and Carlos Plummer of Cambria, is a 20-minute science fiction film about three astronauts who travel to a planet similar to Earth. The young brothers’ previous films include “Indiana Jones and the Crystals of Eternity” (2009) and “The Magic Hat” (2010), an award winner.

The latter won the “Best Local Film” prize in SLOIFF’s 2010 showcase for young filmmakers, and the Children’s Jury Award first prize at the 2010 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. Cast members from Cambria included Daniel and Eddie Dominguez, Jackson Willhite, Callie Cashdan and Cesar Viveros.

A Plummer video about California’s 2010 summer-reading programs was selected as the official statewide public service announcement on And this year, the brothers entered another video, “We ‘Dig’ Reading,” in the  California Summer Reading Program Teen Video Challenge. Voting ended Feb. 28. See the video at

 Young participants in the 2012 YMCA Summer Institute, a program run in partnership with the Coast school district, created two other short films showing at the festival. The students voluntarily, enthusiastically, spent many summer hours in nearly two months of free youth-institute classes.

 • “The Do-It-All Remote,” was the work of Santa Lucia Middle School students Leo Martinez, Daniel Pena, Edwardo Hernandez, Maria Ramirez, Sheridyn Murray and Dante Garcia of Cambria and Logan Kepins of Shandon. At last year’s YMCA Long Beach Youth Institute Film Festival, “Remote” won the first-place award for middle-school productions.

• “The Mustache Adventures” was the work of Coast Union High School freshmen Arturo and Adrian Gonzales, Lalo Garcia, Andrew Solar, Josue Montenegro and Andy Garcia.

Other local-oriented films to be screened at Downtown Cinemas March 10, both at 4 p.m., are:

• David Baumgarten’s “From Broadway to Cambria” about Jim Buckley and the Pewter Plough Playhouse, and

• “Redemption of the Monster from Piedras Blancas,” 25 minutes, a locally produced film that embraces “love, acceptance, community and all things green,” also available on DVD from the Cayucos Education Foundation.

And the final film with North Coast ties?

• Filmmakers for “Between The Tides” are 35-year industry veteran Peter Coonradt and former District 2 Supervisor Bud Laurent, a marine biologist who now lives in Oregon.

 “Between The Tides” profiles pioneering marine ecologist Ed Ricketts, famed friend of the legendary author John Steinbeck. Much of the footage was shot at Central Coast locations, including the Abalone Farm in Cayucos and Avila Beach. 

Laurent’s  70-minute film screens at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at Perla del Mar, 205 Windward Avenue in Shell Beach.

For details about these and other showings at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, go to

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