San Luis Obispo Film Festival announces award winners

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Pam Grier, and Robin Swicord

King Vidor Award, and Spotlight Award, given on Sunday March 18, during closing ceremony of SLO film fest

The San Luis Obispo International Film Festival (March 13-18) has announced that film legend and 70’s cinema icon Pam Grier will be this year’s King Vidor Award honoree, and award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Robin Swicord will be this year’s Spotlight Award honoree.

“We are beyond delighted to have two certifiable powerhouse women of film as this year’s SLO Film Festival honorees,” said SLO Film Fest Director Wendy Eidson. “Pam Grier is the iconic feminine face of urban cinema in the 70s. She inspired that genre’s mainstream success, and her presence has long served as a muse and inspiration for many actors and filmmakers that followed. Robin Swicord is more than an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and oft-honored filmmaker, as she demonstrates the ability to achieve at a high level creatively, and yet assist those filmmakers on their way up the ladder at the same time. Both women embody a dauntless creative spirit that has led them to amazing accomplishments in their film careers. It was important to everyone at the SLO Film Fest this year that we celebrate the work of female filmmakers this year, and we chose quite a combo with this duo.”

Presented by BHE Renewables, the King Vidor Award presentation will take place immediately after the George Sidney Independent Film Awards ceremony on Saturday, March 17 at the Fremont Theater (1025 Monterey Street). Following the presentation, Turner Classic Movie’s Ben Mankiewicz will host a discussion of Grier’s entertaining and inspiring career.

The Spotlight Award will be presented to Swicord by the SLO Film Fest founder Mary Harris during the Closing Night Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 18 at the Fremont Theater (1025 Monterey Street). Following the presentation, Variety’s Jenelle Riley will host a discussion of Swicord’s distinguished and wide-ranging career.

Swicord will also participate on the screenwriter’s panel, “It All Starts with a Good Story” with her husband and frequent collaborator, Nicholas Kazan, as well as Anthony Peckham. The trio will discuss screenwriting and the current state of their trade as new opportunities arise in television, VOD and now-popular documentaries on Saturday, March 17, from 10:30 -11:45 a.m. in the Festival Hospitality Tent.

Born on May 26, 1949 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and raised in Denver, Colorado, Pam Grier was spotted by an agent at a beauty contest in Colorado Springs, who invited her to come to Hollywood and try her hand at acting. She subsequently moved to Los Angeles and began taking acting classes while she worked as a switchboard operator for American International Pictures. Soon after, she had made it onto the big screen in “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,” (1970) and Big Doll House (1971.)

Following appearances in “Hit Man” (1972) and “Black Mama White Mama” (1973), Grier gained notice in Jack Hill’s “Coffy” (1973) as the title character, “the baddest one-chick hit-squad that ever hit town.” The next year, she cemented her status as the undisputed queen of urban cinema as the high-class prostitute out for revenge in Hill’s “Foxy Brown” (1974.)

Passes are now on sale and information on the film festival can be found at https://slofilmfest.org.

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