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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, encouraged him to pursue his creative passions from an early age. She instilled in him the ethos that “the meaning of life is to create art that inspires others to be themselves.” His passion for storytelling explores the human condition, the trials and tribulations of love, and the search for personal identity. “Driftwood” is Eaton’s fifth short film and his first animated project.

The film pays homage to the inanimate objects that help define our lives. “I hope ‘Driftwood’ will resonate with audiences locally and abroad,” Eaton said, “shedding a light on dedication and personal connections, inviting viewers to embrace the world around them as a reflection of themselves.”

OFF established the award in 2019 to honor the work and community involvement of the late actor and filmmaker Bill Paxton. While building an impressive legacy in Hollywood Paxton also devoted much passion toward nurturing the local filmmaking community.

Gold Coast series Director Bruce Novotny spoke highly of this year’s award selection. “‘Driftwood’ is a charming film, one with a simple style of storytelling that disguises the depth of its emotional resonance.”

The film screens Monday, November 6 at 7 pm at the Ojai Art Center as part of the Gold Coast finale. For tickets and more information go to



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