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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:


Call for Entry 24th Ojai Film Festival

Both the Ojai Film Festival and their Screenplay Competitions opened to submissions February 1Both 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 forward to an exciting season of presenting some of the finest of the world’s independent films."

Ranked one of the top 100 Best Reviewed Festivals on FilmFreeway, the Ojai Film Festival continues to grow in prestige. The festival showcases the finest new films by emerging and established filmmakers from around the world. In the festival’s 24 years 15 alumni filmmakers received Academy Award nominations, two won an Oscar, and numerous others went on to gain distribution and win prestigious awards.

"Our festival provides a valuable service to filmmakers," Artistic Director Steve Grumette said. "We give them access to a highly appreciative audience, including film industry professionals who can help guide their careers."

Selected films become eligible to win the festival’s “Libbey” trophies and awards. The Limelight Award for Best Student Film comes with a Panavision camera rental package worth $60,000 USD. Other honors include the Sergio Aragones Award for Best Animated Film, and the Bill Paxton Award given to a filmmaker from Ojai or Southern California.

The event provides audiences with a diverse lineup presenting many groundbreaking works otherwise inaccessible to the public. All selections embody the festival’s theme: “Enriching the Human Spirit through Film.” Past submissions of short and long narratives, short and long documentaries, and animations represent over 46 countries. Now in its eighth year the Screenplay Competition brings in entries from all over the globe.

In addition to film screenings the festival also offers receptions, panels, and special events. 2022 seminars included “How To Write Great TV & Film Comedy,” “Using YouTube to Establish Your Voice as a Filmmaker,” and "The Growth of Inclusivity in American Cinema." Guest speakers at previous Ojai Film Festivals include Ellen Kuras, Steven Poster, Emily Best, and Chloé Zhao.

In 2020 the Ojai Film Festival ventured into streaming film selections. The popularity of this option prompted the festival to extend the virtual portion, giving filmmakers a broader national and international audience.

Early deadline (March 1): Features $35, Shorts $30
Regular deadline (April 1): Features $45, Shorts $40
Late deadline (May 1): Features $55, Shorts $50
Extended Deadline (June 1) entry fees: Features $65, Shorts $60

Early deadline (February 28): $25/$20 Students
Regular deadline (March 31): $35/$25 Students
Late deadline (April 30): $45/$35 Students
Extended deadline (May 31): $55/$45 Students

Accepted entries will be notified in August.