Ojai Film Festival celebrates it’s 19th year with Academy Award Winning Films

Ojai Film Festival 2018

(Ojai, Ca) In our little corner of Ventura County, The Ojai Film Festival opened its 19th season with many films in competition including 450 submissions from 33 countries.

Ojai Film Festival Awards 2018Artistic Director Steve Grumette viewed thousands of films since the festival’s inception and, along with an outstanding panel of jurors, selects the best for final competition.

“There has been a striking and very gratifying increase in the overall quality of submissions since the festival began in  2000,” said Grumette. “Although this is doubtless due in part to the increasing availability of high-quality, low-cost digital filmmaking equipment, we believe it is  largely the result of our steadily growing prestige on the international film festival circuit.”

Steve’s recommendations for th2 2018 festival:

  • Love & Bananas is about elephant rescues in Thailand which are rare, unpredictable, and often life threatening.
  • Fiddlin is a journey to Galax, Virginia for the Old Fiddler’s Convention.
  • Dirt Rich invites viewers to discover how geo-therapy, in which carbon is reintroduced into the soil, can literally reverse runaway global warming.
  • Angkor Awakens: ­ An Inside Look at Cambodia is a powerful documentary about Cambodia’s tangled and painful past and its struggle to redefine itself on the world stage.
  • August in Berlin is about a chance meeting between a German man and a Canadian woman in a Berlin café causes their carefully constructed lives to unravel.
  • The Root of Happiness focus on a man and a woman troubled by family issues meeting at a nightclub.
  • Witness is about an illegal immigrant working at a Chinese restaurant to support his pregnant wife.
  • Dear Basketball is Kobe Bryant’s ode to the sport that made him a legend. The film won the 2018 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Some of the outstanding foreign entries include:

  • Octav from Romania tells the story of a man who returns to his family home after decades of absence.
  • The Silence is a French film about a ten-year-old immigrant boy who encounters a wounded man writhing in agony
  • Abu Adnan: Adnan’s Father is a Danish film about a refugee doctor from Syria, who received a Danish residence permit and is about to start a new life in the country with his son, Adnan.
  • My Enemy’s Brother is also a Danish film that is considered one of the 10 best Danish films in circulation right now.
  • Traces from Luxembourg tells the story of Julie who discovers after her mother’s death that the man who raised her is not her biological father.

“I want to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to our Festival Jurors, the members of our Screening Panel and the hundreds of festival volunteers whose tireless work over the past two decades has made an indispensable contribution to the evolution of our festival from a local arts event into a cultural institution of international stature,” shared Grumette

The Ojai Film Festival runs November 1-11 with screenings at the Ojai Art Center and Chaparral Auditorium, plus special events, an award banquet, educational workshops and seminars and more.

History of the Event

After two years of intensive effort by more than a hundred volunteers, the opening of the first Ojai Film Festival occurred on November 15, 2000.

The Ojai Film Festival launched with two goals in mind:

  • To provide audiences with opportunities to see groundbreaking work that would be otherwise inaccessible.
  • To provide filmmakers with an enthusiastic audience including film industry professionals.

In early 2002, the festival established itself as an independent nonprofit foundation, dedicated to continuing and expanding the traditions created during the first two years of operation.

The festival continues its commitment to enriching the human spirit by seeking out important films that in some way uplift people, help audiences feel good about being members of the human race or encourage them to live meaningful lives inspired by the examples of others.

Over the past few years, the Ojai Film Festival has expanded its creative platform with Focus Earth, a mini-festival of films and panels that focus on environmental issues presented by local filmmakers and community experts.

The Festival provides audiences a diverse lineup of titles from around the world. Past entries have represented over 43 countries. The Ojai Film Festival gives filmmakers access to a highly appreciative audience of savvy and informed film fans. Ojai’s growing importance on the festival circuit is reflected in the fact that legendary Hollywood producer Peter Guber told the audience at a recent Toronto International Film Festival that “Ojai is the next Telluride.”

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