2012 (Last Year's Festival)



 Beautiful Faces

2012, Mexico/USA, Producer/Director: Russell Martin; Producer: Alvera de Leon; 76 min.

Saturday, 10:00 AM, OYES Theater

Wednesday, 5:30 PM, Ojai Playhouse 

Get to know a unique Mexico City clinic, the disfigured children it treats, and the medical professionals who practice a life-transforming art—especially Dr. Ortiz Monasterio, whose compassion and energy belie his 88 years. Your heart will break, your spirit will soar, and you’ll never take your face for granted again.

Bidder 70

2012, USA, Producers/Directors:  Beth Gage, George Gage; 73 min.

Saturday, 5:30 PM, Ojai Playhouse

Tuesday, 5:30 PM, Ojai Playhouse

In December 2008, Tim DeChristopher cleverly foiled an illegal Bureau of Land Management auction, saving 2,200 acres of pristine Utah wilderness. He was then tried, fined, and imprisoned. Tim’s journey from economics student to climate-change activist to incarcerated felon makes a fascinating tale. 

  The Teacher from Tbilisi

2012, USA, Producer/Director: 

Tom Walters; Producers: Hilary Grant, David Thayer; 84 min.


Saturday, 12:30 PM, Ojai Playhouse

Sunday, 3:00 PM, OYES Theater   

“A story is so inspiring, it must be told” says the filmmaker. A destitute Russian Holocaust survivor makes his way to Morro Bay, going on to teach thousands of children to be great musicians and remarkable human beings. He also becomes a fine sculptor! At 90, Botso is still teaching and carving.

  Digital Dharma

2012, China, India, Tibet, USA, Producer/Director: Dafna Yachin; 82 min.

Saturday, 5:30 PM, OYES Theater

Sunday, 10:00 AM, OYES Theater

In 1959, China attacks Tibetan villages and destroys monasteries. Ancient writings disappear; the culture’s history is in peril. Enter Gene Smith, a Utah Mormon who became “the man who saved Tibetan Buddhism.” His story shows how one person’s ingenuity and diplomacy rescued a cultural legacy despite overwhelming odds.

  Erroll Garner—No One Can Hear You Read

2012, USA, Producer/Director: 

Atticus Brady; 52 min.

Saturday, 3:00 PM, Ojai Playhouse

Monday, 5:30 PM, Ojai Playhouse 

In a triumphant 40-year career, Erroll Garner, composer of “Misty” and so much more, pushed the piano to its limits and made an indelible mark on jazz. His story is told here for the first time, through interviews with friends, family, and fellow musicians—including Woody Allen, Ahmad Jamal, and the late Steve Allen. 

  Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare

2012, USA, Producers/Directors: Matthew Heineman, Susan Froemke; 99 min.

Friday, 3:00 PM, OYES Theater

Thursday, 8:00 PM, Ojai Playhouse

Code Blue for healthcare! Is there a way to rescue it? This film says yes. It brings us dramatic patient stories and those of leaders fighting to transform healthcare at the highest levels of medicine, industry, and government—despite powerful profit-driven forces trying to maintain the deplorable status quo.

  The Girls in the Band

2011, USA, Producer/Director: Judy Chaikin; 87 min.

Friday, 5:30 PM, OYES Theater 

Saturday, 3:00 PM, OYES Theater 

Sure, you know Bessie and Billie—but what about the hugely talented female drum, sax, and trumpet players struggling for recognition amid sexism and racism? This film traces the history of all-girl bands and brings us into the present day, where brilliantly gifted young women are among jazz’s finest.

  Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald

2012, USA, Director: Rob Cohen; Producer: Brad Rothschild; 87 min.

Friday, 3:00 PM, Ojai Playhouse

Saturday, 12:30 PM, OYES Theater

This moving tribute to the filmmaker’s father is the story of four men imprisoned as boys in the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp. Sixty-five years later, they return to observe the anniversary of their liberation. It also tells of the camp’s Communist-led underground, which saved 900 other imprisoned Jewish children.

  The Lost Bird Project

2011, USA, Director: Deborah Dickson; Producer: Muffie Meyer; 60 min.

Friday, 10:00 AM, Ojai Playhouse

Sunday, 12:30 PM, OYES Theater

“Forgetting is another kind of extinction,” says sculptor Todd McGrain. Thanks to his efforts, five extinct birds won’t suffer that fate. Large bronze memorials now stand in far-flung places where the birds once socialized, courted, and fed their young—a testament to what’s lost, a reminder to preserve what’s left.

  My Mother’s Idea

2011, USA, Producer/Director: Maria Finitzo; 47 min.

Friday, 10:00 AM, OYES Theater

Sunday, 5:30 PM, OYES Theater

Why does a person study dance for 11 years despite being one of the worst students at her school? This humorous memoir blends fiction, archival footage, interviews, and behind-the-scenes shots to give us the answer—which has everything to do with two dynamic teachers who ran the school for 45 years.     

  Opening Our Eyes

2011, Argentina/Australia/Nepal/

Peru/Poland/Thailand/USA/Uganda, Director: Gail Mooney; Producer: Erin Kelly; 76 min.

Sunday, 3:00 PM, Ojai Playhouse

Thursday, 5:30 PM, Ojai Playhouse 

Nineteen-year-old Maggie built a home in Nepal for 30 orphans using babysitting earnings. She now lives there and has completed a school for 250 children. She and 10 other amazing, worldwide change-makers tell stories of transforming lives (others’ and their own), showing us how much one person can do.

  Rencontre (Encounters)

2011, Canada, Directors/Producers: Mélanie Carrier, Olivier Higgins; 50 min.

Friday, 10:00 AM, Ojai Playhouse

Sunday, 12:30 PM, OYES Theater

Follow a group of young Québeçois, including Innu and Huron aboriginals, as they make a traditional 21-day journey across land and water. Along the way, they learn to know themselves deeply and rise above prejudice, ultimately finding that “the scale of a journey is measured through what you get out of it.”

  Right to Play

2012, USA, Director: Frank  Marshall; Producer: Gary Cohen; 42  min.

Saturday, 3:00 PM, Ojai Playhouse

Monday, 5:30 PM, Ojai Playhouse 

Four Olympic gold medals and the cover of Time—yet his name is almost unknown. Why? Instead of cashing in on fame, Johann Olav Koss founded the international organization Right to Play, which uses sports to improve health, develop skills, and foster peace for heart-breakingly deprived children around the world.

  The Sun Never Sets

2012, USA, Producer/Director: Ben Daitz; 54 min.

Friday, 10:00 AM, OYES Theater

Sunday, 5:30 PM, OYES Theater

The Rio Grande Sun, published in Española, New Mexico, is considered one of the best weekly newspapers in the country. Editor/Publisher Bob Trapp is the last of a vanishing breed: honest, fearless, mentor to scads of young reporters. In an age of digital media, here’s a paper that still hawks vital news on the streets.

  This Space Available

2011, USA, Director: Gwenaelle Gobé; Producer: Marc Gobé; 86 min.

Friday, 5:30 PM, Ojai Playhouse 

Wednesday, 8:00 PM, Ojai Playhouse 

Billboards and commercial messages dominate public space around the world. Can we reverse the trend? Depicted here with tremendous verve are activists from advertising, street art, and politics who want to reclaim the integrity of our cities against an onslaught of visual blight.

  Words of Witness

2011, USA/Egypt, Director: Mai Iskander; Co-Producer: Kelcey Edwards; 71 min.

Friday, 12:30 PM, Ojai Playhouse

Saturday, 10:00 AM, Ojai Playhouse

Young Egyptian journalist Heba Afify covers the tumultuous historical events shaping her country's future, using tweets, texts and Facebook posts. Her coming of age, political awakening, and subsequent disillusionment mirror those of a nation seeking the freedom to shape its own destiny with dignity and democracy.


Anna, Emma and
the Condors

2011, USA, Producer/Director: Katja Torneman; 20 min.

Saturday, 3:00 PM, Ojai Playhouse

Monday, 5:30 PM, Ojai Playhouse

In a world of climate change, Anna and Emma Parish fight for survival of majestic California condors. With father Chris, director of the Peregrine Fund, and mother Ellen, an environmentalist and teacher, the sisters come to feel deeply that if we don’t care for the life surrounding us, we face our own extinction. Student film.


2012, Ghana/Netherlands, Directors/Producers: Peter Bicknell, Andrew Kappel; Producer: Amanda Singer; 20 min.

Saturday, 8:00 PM, OYES Theater

Tuesday, 8:00 PM, Ojai Playhouse

Meet James Otoo of Bobi Village—one of 800,000 farmers who’ve made Ghana the world’s number-two cocoa producer. Can they cultivate crops without damaging the environment or themselves? Yes, thanks to good work by Conservation Alliance, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) working in Western Africa. Student film.


Land Mind By Paula Hayes - The Making Of

2012, USA, Director: Jesse David Harris; Producer: Jesse David Harris; 14 min.

Friday, 3:00 PM, Ojai Playhouse

Saturday, 12:30 PM, OYES Theater

What goes into a major artwork? Be fascinated by Paula Hayes's creation of “Land Mind” from inspiration through molding, casting, and polishing a 240-gallon acrylic-resin aquarium to choosing tropical plants and delicately installing this work of living art in the collection of New York’s famed  Lever House.