About the Festival

Photography by Ingrid Dietrich-Visual Artist www.mobilestudio.us

The San Pedro International Film Festival was founded to celebrate the diverse culture and community of San Pedro with a wide spectrum of independent film, documentaries, and shorts. SPIFF is committed to exhibiting films that embody inspiring entertainment for all.  Works that express fresh voices and differing global perspectives, with the intent that these films enlighten audiences while providing invaluable exposure for filmmakers, local and international.


The San Pedro International Film Festival’s mission is two-fold:

– To help promote and develop the exhibition of media arts to audiences in and around San Pedro by presenting a forum for film festival professionals and filmmakers;

– To make the international community aware of San Pedro as both a film festival forum and event destination, film production destination, and to promote the works of international and local filmmakers to an international and domestic audience.


With the objective of supporting the development of local filmmakers and actors, as well as enriching local audiences, SPIFF will offer a series of workshops, panel discussions and presentations. The San Pedro International Film Festival will endeavor to collaborate with other festivals and film organizations and encourage education of new technological advancements that make filmmaking accessible to everyone.

SPIFF will aim to encourage young people to enjoy films as well as develop their interest in filmmaking careers. SPIFF will organize “youth in film” workshops to further encourage and educate young people interested in film, with potential grants and loans of digital equipment.

For inquiries, please email info@spiffest.org.

San Pedro

Images © 2015 Lee Uran

San Pedro has been the port district of the City of Los Angeles since 1909 and it is documented that Spanish ships visited the port back in the 1540′s.  Because of its proximity to the ocean, San Pedro attracted various cultures with prominent fishing traditions.  It became ethnically diverse and people were able to settle down, continue their own traditions, and eventually start businesses in the area.  San Pedro is a melting pot of people from Italy, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Norway, Japan, and a large portion of the community is made up of Mexican-Americans and African-Americans.

The up and coming waterfront city is one of Los Angeles’s hidden secrets and has loads of activities to check out.  There is a great art scene, with several galleries in the Art District as well as Crafted, a large craft and artisanal food marketplace.  San Pedro is a wonderful mix of this emerging culture and cultural history.  Points of interest are the USS Iowa floating museum, the fully operational museum ship the SS Lane Victory, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, the LA Maritime Museum, the Vincent Thomas Bridge, and the Williams’ Bookstore, the oldest fully operated bookstore in LA.  You can even take a ride on a vintage Red Car Trolley Line to get a view of the waterfront.

Some of DW Griffith’s early short films were shot in San Pedro. These days you’re more likely to find film crews for NCIS, Mad Men, and Dexter.  Other films shot in San Pedro include ‘King Kong’, ‘Chinatown’, ‘Point Break’, ‘Silence of the Lambs’, ‘The Usual Suspects’, ‘Pearl Harbor’, ‘Titanic’, ‘500 Days of Summer’, and a ton more.  SPIFF is thrilled to present our inaugural festival in a city with such a rich film history.


Photo Mark Hanauer


Beloved, prolific author & icon; San Pedro Resident 

Penning thousands of poems, hundreds of stories and six novels, Charles Bukowski eventually published over forty-five books and various collections of his work chronicling his own personal experiences reflecting the gritty glamour of Los Angeles and society in general. The universal accessibility of his poetry and modern works resonate within the hearts of readers worldwide.  In 1978, Charles Bukowski moved to San Pedro with his wife to be, Linda Lee Bukowski, where he continued to write prolifically, until his death in 1994. SPIFFest celebrates the work of Bukowski with a dedicated film category

His years working as a mail carrier and clerk at the US Post Office, Terminal Annex in downtown LA inspired his acclaimed debut novel, Post Office.  His works address the full spectrum of the human condition, from his own tangled youth and the wretchedness of the world in general, to more uplifting works that have heartfelt expressions of love and joy highlighting the good things that come our way in life. Through his unbridled passion for writing, Bukowski became a philosopher in his own right,  and is more popular today than during his lifetime.

In 2015, SPIFFest hosted a  tribute to the legendary writer – The Laughing Heart: 95th Birthday Celebration  – in Old San Pedro, which included a screening of Bent Hamer’s feature, Factotum, a film based on one of his novels; readings of selected Bukowski works and Q&A; and a curated exhibition of images taken by several leading professional photographers.