21st Annual Ojai Film Festival Goes Virtual
The Californer/10097088

OJAI, Calif. - Californer -- 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 pandemic makes it unsafe for filmmakers and film lovers to come together in a physical space. To give their audience a boost the Ojai Film Festival (OFF) plans to go virtual this year, November 6 through 15.

With a history spanning 21 years OFF bears the distinction of the only continuously operating, nonprofit film festival in Ventura County. Although this year's event happens entirely online, many OFF features remain the same. In our current stay home, stay safe situation two factors remain. Audiences want to view groundbreaking work otherwise inaccessible, and independent filmmakers desire an enthusiastic audience.

"In indie films we see passion still brimming over, we see those who want to create art, those who want to tell stories that add to the human experience," Ojai Film Festival President Jonathan Lambert said. "These films often produce moments of honest and unflinching emotion within the context of sometimes uncomfortable reality."

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This year's OFF consists of 77 films, selected from 302 entries from 42 countries. The lineup includes animations, short and feature-length documentaries and narratives, plus environmental Focus Earth films integrated throughout the festival. A series of 12 Gold Coast films celebrates southern California filmmakers. Sticking to tradition the films are grouped into blocks running approximately two hours, with live Zoom discussions with filmmakers after each block.

The way OFF Founder and Artistic Director Steve Grumette groups films into blocks gives the Festival a special feel. Instead of putting films together with those that obviously share something in common, he carefully selects stories that harmonize with each other. "I've opted to create a mix of films of varying genres, a sort of 'something for everyone' philosophy," Grumette said. "Someone might choose a particular screening block because of an interest in one film, then feel pleasantly surprised to find they also unexpectedly enjoy one or more of the others."

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Blocks will screen for the first six days of the Festival, November 6 through 11. Viewers may purchase individual blocks for $10, or an all access pass for the six days for $50. The other four days, November 12-15, viewers may purchase any festival film on demand for $5 for a feature or $3 for a short, or $10 for a block.


Lisa Angle

Source: Ojai Film Festival
Filed Under: Arts

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