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The Ojai Film Festival

The Ojai Film Festival is dedicated to supporting the art of the motion picture through the presentation of an annual multi-day festival in which films submitted by filmmakers throughout the world are publicly exhibited at several venues in and around the City of Ojai, California.

The Ojai Film Festival fulfills its goal of serving the art of film:

  • by providing filmmakers, many of them beginning their careers, with a supportive and enthusiastic audience for their creative efforts and giving them access to film industry professionals who offer guidance and other forms of career assistance.
  • by bringing to its audience of both local residents and visitors from all over southern California, a wide array of distinguished motion pictures otherwise inaccessible to them.

Learn more about the festival at:


Bill Paxton Award Goes to Animated Film

For the first time the Ojai Film Festival chose an animated film to receive the Bill Paxton Award. This distinction spotlights one film in the Gold Coast series, which closes out the in-person Festival on Monday, November 6. All the films in the series come from filmmakers in Southern California, including Bill Paxton Award honoree “Driftwood” by Christopher Hills Eaton of Ojai. Eaton’s mother, Merilee Eaton, a local mosaic artist, enc...

LIVE Table Read Returns to Honor Screenplay Competition Winner

 “Long Beach Island,” by fulltime attorney Edson McClellan who wrote his first screenplay four years ago at age 49, won the Eighth Annual Ojai Film Festival Screenplay Competition. The award comes with a Live Table Read performed by professional actors. Festival organizers welcome the return of the Live component of the Table Read, presented via recording the last three years due to the pandemic. The public may attend the reading on Sunday, November 5 at 1 pm ...

Call for Entry 24th Ojai Film Festival

Both the Ojai Film Festival and their Screenplay Competitions opened to submissions February 1, a full month early. The call for entries window also closes sooner, on June 1, 2023. The extra thirty days will allow organizers to plan and promote an extraordinary event. “Submissions opened one month earlier than previous years to give us more time to thoroughly screen the more than 450 submissions we receive from around the world." Festival President Jon Lambert said. "We look...

And the Winners Are....

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT Powers Paige Morrow Kimball BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE Being Michelle Atin Mehra Honorable Mention If You Are a Man Simon Panay Honorable Mention Jack Has a Plan Bradley Berman BEST NARRATIVE SHORT North Star P.J. Palmer Honorable Mention Ousmane Jorge Camarotti Honorable Mention Split Ends Alireza Kazemipour BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE The Justice of Bunny King Gaysorn Thavat Honorable Mention Night F...

Bill Paxton Award Honors Filmmaker Who Grew Up In Ojai, this year recipient is Travis Greer

The Ojai Film Festival spotlights filmmaking in the Ojai Valley, and surrounding areas, with the Gold Coast series which ties up the four days of in-person screenings on Monday, November 7. This year’s Bill Paxton Award goes to Travis Greer, whose narrative feature “Time Capsule” will screen that evening at 7 p.m.. Storytelling talent springs from the soil in this part of California, which sounds impressive, but the results largely remain unsung. The Gold...

Screenplay Winner Drops Out of the Jane Austen Cinematic Universe

Judges for the Seventh Annual Ojai Film Festival Screenplay Competition recently selected this year’s winner. “Very little separated the top choices from the rest of the semifinalists this year,” Bruce Novotny, the competition’s director, said. “The competition was tight and our judges made a difficult choice.” A sharp-witted comedy of manners titled “Pride and Prudence” came out of the Jane Austen Cinematic Universe by way of writer Fran...

2022 Screenplay Competition Finalists Announced

Three scripts went on to Ojai Film Festival Screenplay Competition judges for their final determination of this year’s winner. “Pride and Prudence” by Fran Evelyn Ervin of Los Angeles CA “Prizrack” by Jeff Kaufman of Studio City CA “The Prison Club” by Catherine B. Owens of Hillsborough NC Award-winning writer and filmmaker Fran Evelyn Ervin’s distinctions include Project Greenlight Finalist, Creative Screenwriting CS ...

Submissions Now Open for 23rd Ojai Film Festival

Ojai Film Festival, ranked one of the top 100 Best Reviewed Festivals on FilmFreeway, continues to grow in prestige. The festival, which begins November 3, 2022, showcases the finest new films by emerging and established filmmakers from around the world. Both the film and screenplay competitions opened to submissions March 1. In the previous 22 years 15 alumni received Academy Award nominations, two won an Oscar, and numerous others went on to gain distribution and win prestigious awa...

Best Screenplay Award-Winner

After a close race in the final round judges selected “School Story” by Singaporean writer Jit Fong Oon to receive the Best Screenplay award at the 22nd Annual Ojai Film Festival. The script revolves around teen rebel Kai who joins the school production of “Romeo and Juliet” in order to cozy up to his romantic target Ana. He gets embroiled in her attempt to launch a clandestine gay-themed version of the play despite opposition from the conservative school authorities. On...

An Evening with Chloé Zhao

Ojai resident Chloé Zhao wrote and directed “Nomadland,” Best Picture winner at the 2020 Academy Awards. She makes a special appearance at the 2021 Ojai Film Festival on Saturday, November 13 at 7 pm. A screening of her 2017 film “The Rider” precedes a Q&A with Zhao, followed by a reception, all at the Ojai Art Center. Growing up in Beijing Zhao felt drawn to influences from Western pop culture. She attended a boarding school in London before moving to Los Ang...

Focus Earth Environmental Films at Ojai Film Festival

The Ojai Film Festival thrives on the passion and creativity presented by independent filmmakers. These concerned citizens focus their lenses on problems, situations, hopes and dreams found within their world. Our festival relishes the opportunity to screen their hard work. Environmental concerns are a world-wide phenomenon, and a major part of the Ojai Film Festival. We show films related to this theme from the viewpoints of various filmmakers throughout the festival. We invite you to seek...

Short Doc Chronicles Journalist's Charmed Life

One critic amusingly described Ivor Davis as “a combination of Zelig and Forrest Gump.” Find out what that means at the Ojai Film Festival on Sunday, November 7 at 7 pm. A special screening of the film “I Was There – A Reporter’s Story,” chronicling Davis’ life, takes place in the Ojai Art Center courtyard. Ivor Davis reported on various turbulent, historic, and iconic stories of the last century. During his tenure as a foreign correspondent for the Lon...

New Mini-Festival Focuses on Diversity

A new mini-festival within the umbrella of the 22nd Annual Ojai Film Festival reflects the theme “Enriching the Human Spirit through Film.” This inaugural “Diversity and Inclusion for Social Impact and Vision” program explores the breadth of “diversity.” At the same time it examines “intersectionality,” aspects of a person’s identity that may cause conflict yet create an opportunity for understanding marginalized communities. “Intersec...

Ojai Film Festival Adds New YouTube Award

The Twenty-Second Annual Ojai Film Festival expands its reach from independent films to the world of YouTube. A panel discusses exploring the free-flowing creativity of the worldwide YouTube phenomenon takes place on Friday, November 5 at 7 p.m.. The premiere recipient of the Outstanding YouTube Filmmaker Award will accept the honor at the Festival’s Awards Brunch on Sunday, November 7 at 11 a.m.. John Branagan, Festival Board Member and filmmaker, spearheaded the development of this awar...

2021 Ojai Film Festival Goes LIVE!

The Ojai Film Festival will present its 22nd consecutive event celebrating independent films from around the world LIVE in Ojai, CA USA November 5-8, 2021. Last year the Film Festival’s board engaged in a sharp learning curve culminating in the creation of the 2020 Online Virtual Film Festival. Now, after months of studying the projected COVID infection rate data and intense discussions at each meeting, the board decided to plan an in–Ojai, multi-screen event for November 2021. ...

Submissions Now Open for 22nd Ojai Film Festival

The Ojai Film Festival (OFF), ranked one of the top 100 Best Reviewed Festivals on FilmFreeway, continues to grow in prestige. The festival, which begins November 4, 2021, showcases the finest new films by emerging and established filmmakers from around the world. Both the film and screenplay competitions opened to submissions March 1.   Out of the 77 films in the 2020 OFF three made it to the short list for Oscar consideration. In the previous 20 years 15 alumni received Academy Award...

Ojai Film Festival 2020 Awards

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT State Street Serenade Michael Love Honorable Mention Crowley – Cowboy Up Andre Hoermann Honorable Mention Teranga – Life in the Waiting Room Daisy Squires, Lou Marillier & Sophia Seymour BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE Sapelo Nick Brandestini Honorable Mention Lost Lives Michael Hewitt & Dermot Lavery BEST NARRATIVE SHORT Feeling Through Doug Roland Honorable Mention Between a Rock and a Hard Place...

“Kiss the Ground” Ojai Drive-In Premiere

Big Picture Ranch and the Ojai Film Festival collaborate to present a drive-in premiere of the critically acclaimed documentary “Kiss the Ground.” The only in-person screening of this year’s festival, due to COVID, caps off the 21st annual event on Saturday, November 14 at Nordhoff High School. This free event is open to only 130 cars on a first come, first serve basis. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., the program begins at 6:30 p.m.. The New York Times said the movie “inspires ...

Indie Filmmaking Workshop with Michelle Danner

Making a Film on a Small Budget and Adjusting to New Circumstances Many challenges come with filming independent movies: last minute schedule conflicts with the Cast, losing locations, getting rained out, or fire … the list goes on and on. In this Indie Filmmaking seminar on Sunday, November 8 at 1 pm, Michelle Danner will tell stories about overcoming obstacles while shooting. She will address how to deal with unpredictable situations on short notice, and how to solve problems while...

“Destination Animation” Delivers Tips from the Pros

Millions of viewers worldwide relish a well done animated story. The Ojai Film Festival invites anyone who wants to learn how to develop an animated film to a “Destination Animation” seminar on Saturday, November 7 at 4 p.m.. Cathy Karol-Crowther, who teaches at Santa Monica City College in the Academy of Entertainment and Technology, will lead the seminar. This seminar uses the eleven animations in the Festival, coupled with interviews with filmmakers, to address the creative proce...

Steven Poster (ASC) Named Distinguished Artist

The Ojai Film Festival (OFF) honors former ASC President Steven Poster with the 2020 Distinguished Artist Award for Cinematography at a virtual ceremony on Thursday, November 12 at 7 p.m.. The preceding Saturday OFF invites anyone interested in cinematography to join Poster for a discussion of what it takes to achieve his cinematic vision. “I’m very excited the Ojai Film Festival considered me for this honor,” Poster said. “Being recognized for my body of work is the hig...

Short Film Wins Bill Paxton Award

For the first time the Ojai Film Festival (OFF) named a short film as recipient of the Bill Paxton Award. This distinction honors achievements among the filmmaking community of Ojai and Southern California. The winner, “Entwined,” written and directed by Dale Griffiths Stamos, screens as part of the Festival’s Gold Coast Series on Monday, November 9 at 7 p.m.. The 14 minute film “Entwined” tells the story of old lovers and the injustices that drove them apart. Two ...

First Film with Deaf-Blind Star Screening

“The Feel Through Experience” at the Ojai Film Festival Filmmaker Doug Roland’s life changed one morning at 4 a.m. in the East Village of New York City. He spent an hour waiting for a bus with a deaf-blind man. This, his first encounter with a deaf-blind person, stayed with him and a few years later inspired his short film “Feeling Through.” The short screens at the Ojai Film Festival (OFF) on Sunday, November 8 at 4 p.m. and Monday, November 9 at 10 a.m. as par...

21st Annual Ojai Film Festival Goes Virtual

The theme “Enriching the Human Spirit through Film” continues to guide the Ojai Film Festival. At a time when people’s spirits need uplifting more than ever before the global pandemic makes it unsafe to invite filmmakers and film lovers to come together in a physical space. To give their audience a necessary boost the Ojai Film Festival (OFF) plans to go virtual this year, November 6 through 15. With a rich history spanning twenty-one years OFF bears the distinction of the onl...


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