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Citizen Kane to have first-ever screening at Hearst Castle

Tom Wilmer

What is considered by many to be one of the best movies ever made will be screened for the first time at Hearst Castle's historic Hilltop Theater.

Some may see this as ironic, while others may find it very appropriate.

The movie is 1941's Citizen Kane, directed by Orson Welles. It's widely accepted that the movie—while fictional—is based on the life of William Randolph Hearst, who was a known critic of the film.

The event is part of this week's San Luis Obispo International Film Festival.

Festival director Wendy Eidson  says a couple of years ago, the film was screened at the Castle's visitor center. Her idea to screen Citizen Kane at the actual Castle started as a joke, until Hearst's great grandson, Stephen Hearst, gave it the green light.

"So, I was pleasantly surprised when my joke was taken seriously," said Eidson. "We have never done a screening of it in the private theater at Hearst Castle, and that theater is just a magical spot, so it's going to be pretty amazing, I think."

Tickets for the screening are $1000 per person, and as of Wednesday night, it was nearly sold out, according to Eidson.

The screening is a fund raiser for both the festival and Friends of Hearst Castle.