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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:


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 in the gallery at the Ojai Art Center.

Three distinguished judges, Michael Ewing an industry professional since 1990, Valerie Levett who retired after 33-years with Warner Bros, and Patty Reed, a Vice President at Roserock Films, selected the winner from five finalists.

“The entries offered a wide range of genres and styles,” Screenplay Competition Director Bruce Novotny said. “From pulse-pounding action to gritty underdog stories, from eerie suspense to uproarious farce, they all shared quality storytelling enhanced with passion and commitment.”

Finalists in the competition included “Love in the Time of Coronavirus” by Emilio Santín, “The Cuban Missile” by Shelly Goldstein, “Hitler’s Script” by Dan Fiorello, and “Spookshow” by Josef Anderson.

The backdrop of “Long Beach Island” draws from McClellan’s mother and grandmother, who survived the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944 on Long Beach Island. The script tells the story of three siblings now in their eighties who carry painful memories of the traumatic storm. They approach a Princeton professor developing a breakthrough scientific method, “memoryscapes.” Through a combination of hypnosis and intense memory stimulants, memoryscapes enable the subjects to essentially re-live events from their past. The siblings go back to 1944 to find the truth of how family members perished. At the same time, the end of the professor’s research grant looms requiring her to make a last-ditch effort to prove the validity of the memoryscape science.

McClellan attended undergrad at the University of Pennsylvania and received his law degree at the University of San Diego School of Law, where he graduated magna cum laude and Order of the Coif. He’s a partner at the Irvine office of Rutan & Tucker LLP, an AM Law 200 firm. He lives with his wife and their 16-year-old daughter in San Juan Capistrano, California.

The Ojai Film Festival takes place at the Ojai Art Center November 3 through 6 with Live Table Read happening on Sunday at 1 pm in the gallery. For tickets and more information go to



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