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SLO Film Fest to feature movie shot in the Santa Maria Valley

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Posted at 6:46 PM, Apr 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-26 22:45:28-04

Tuesday night is the opening night of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival, which is back and in-person this year.

One of this week's featured films was shot entirely in and around the Santa Maria Valley.

"COAST" is a coming-of-age drama centered around 16-year-old Abby, who, like many teenagers, is desperate to escape small-town life on the Central Coast.

Falling in love with the singer of a touring rock band only makes matters more complicated.

"The main character is confronting some challenges and heartbreak in her personal life and she has to decide if she's going to run away from it all or confront it," said co-producer Paul Della Pelle.

"I would say it pretty much accurately reflects life on the Central Coast," said Kaylee Kamiya, who plays Abby's friend, Laura, in the movie. "There's not a lot to do so you have to kind of make your own fun. It's a lot of going out with friends to parks at night, finding hidden concerts or parties out in the valley, and having to drive a way to get there."

Kamiya, a Santa Maria local, described the role that her character plays in the film.

"Laura is a grounding aspect for Abby. She is just somebody who is always there no matter what."

This is Kamiya's first time acting.

Her hometown of Santa Maria served as the backdrop for the movie while her great-grandmother's house served as her character's home and a concert venue.

"It was really crazy to see my grandma's house converted into this concert venue," Kamiya said. "This was a place where I went to Christmas and it's like, 'okay no running up and down the stairs', and then there's people like smoking cigarettes, there's people with big beer barrels out there and you know, it was kind of crazy."

The movie, written by local Cindy Kitagawa, is now about to be in the spotlight at the SLO Film Fest.

"It was shot here, it takes place here on the Central Coast so it kind of feels like the film's coming home," said Della Pelle.

"COAST" will screen Tuesday night at 7:30 at the Fremont Theater.

Opening night festivities kick off at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The SLO Film Fest continues through May 1.

Click here for details on the full festival lineup and how to purchase tickets.