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Contacts: Jamie Fleming, Executive Director 818-209-0627


Steve Grumette, Founder/Artistic Director 805-649-4000


OJAI FILM FESTIVAL to present 57 films selected from more than 300 entries worldwide at the 13th Annual Ojai Film Festival to be held October 25-28


OJAI, CA (October 8, 2012) – At Toronto’s Film Festival in 2007 producer Peter Guber (Rain Man, The Color Purple) hailed the Ojai Film Festival as “the next Telluride,” and that prediction is coming true for the Fest’s founder and artistic director, Steve Grumette, who is amazed and gratified by the high quality of film submissions this year.


“It surprises me that each year the quality of submissions keeps rising,” Grumette said. “I keep thinking that they can’t get much better, but this year is by far the best crop we’ve ever had.”


“Because our mission is to enrich the human spirit through film, we select films with strong stories and thoughtful substance,” said Fest Executive Director, Jamie Fleming. “We want audiences to walk out of a screening feeling inspired and moved by the film, not barraged by car chases and gratuitous violence."


In 1998 when Grumette came up with the idea to start a Film Festival in Ojai his goal for the future was to “be like Telluride,” in a town that attracts thousands of visitors each year who are drawn to its exquisite natural beauty.


Grumette felt strongly that it also mattered that Ojai “happened to be 75 miles from the film capital of the world,” and home to many film industry professionals who enjoy the short commute to L.A.


“At that time there were only about 300 film festivals in the U.S., and believe it or not, there was not a film festival in L.A.,” Grumette said. “Now there’s one in every neighborhood in L.A. and about 4,000 throughout the U.S.”


An added bonus of the Ojai Film Festival are the many workshops andpanel discussions led by distinguished, notable filmmakers, actors, cinematographers, acting coaches, casting directors and screenwriters.


Steven DeSouza will conduct the screenwriting workshop, “Mastering the Dual Elements of Action and Humor” on Saturday, October 27 (12:30- 2:30). De Souza is among only a handful of screenwriters who can make the claim that his scripts have produced films that earned over $2 billion at the box office. DeSouza wrote 48 Hours (1982), Commando (1985), Die Hard (1988) and Die Hard 2 (1990) and established his reputation as a writer who could juggle both action and humor.

Bonnie Bedelia (ParenthoodDie Hard), Brett Cullen (The Dark Knight Rises, Ghost Rider) and Mae Whitman (Avatar, Independence Day) will lead an Actors Panel discussion and share how they broke into the industry. The veteran actors will also relate their on and off-set experiences in the industry.


Notable acting coach Marc Durso from ActTrue in Miami, and Hollywood casting director, Valorie Massalas (Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, Total Recall) will lead an acting workshop that will provide attendees an opportunity to both hone their acting techniques and be seen by a casting director who is actively casting for current film and television roles.


Make-Up Designory (MUD), one of the major Hollywood make-up schools, will conduct a professional make-up artisans’ seminar.


Over the years about a dozen films presented at the Ojai Film Festival have gone on to receive Academy Award nominations and Oscars.


Mighty Times: The Children’s March by Ojai filmmakers, Robert Hudson and Bobby Houston, not only premiered here in 2004, but went on to win best short documentary,” Grumette said. “Another festival premiere, A Note of Triumph also won an Oscar for best short documentary.”


A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin, directed by Eric Simonson, told the story of Norman Corwin, called “American radio’s poet laureate, who died last year in Los Angeles at the age of 101. The documentary, Daughter from Danang, went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2002, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2003.


This year’s Film Fest will offer 19 premiere screenings, including world premieres of Jesse David Harris’ Land Mind By Paula Hayes and Stephen Bono’s Henry.


Attention surfers! On Sunday there will be a special screening of the documentary, Gidget: The Accidental Icon, at the Ojai Art Center at 1 pm followed by a Surf Party. The film tells the story of Kathy Kohner Zuckerman, the real life inspiration for the fictional character, Franzie (nicknamed “Gidget”) from the 1957 novel, Gidget: The Little Girl with Big Ideas, written by her father Frederick Kohner which was based on Kathy’s teenage journal she kept about the characters she met surfing on the Malibu beaches. She hung out with such influential surfers as Miki Dora, Mickey Munoz, Dewey Weber, Tom Morey and Nat Young. The novel inspired many “Gidget” films and the television series starring Sally Fields. Kohner-Zuckerman, now 71, will attend the event.


Each year the Ojai Film Festival presents Lifetime Achievement Awards for extraordinary work both in front of and behind the camera. This year’s recipients are actress, Bonnie Bedelia, and cinematographer, Jack Green.

Best known for her leading roles in Die Hard (1988), Die Hard 2 (1990), and Presumed Innocent (1990), during her 40 year career Bedelia has starred in many television series (CSI, The Division) and currently portrays Camille Braverman in NBC’s highly successful, Parenthood.

Green’s stellar cinematography career merited him a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an Oscar nomination for Unforgiven (1992), and spans more than 30 years as Director of Photography for more than 40 films, most notably, 50 First Dates (2004),Serenity (2005) and The 40- Year-Old Virgin (2005).


“We take great pride in the fact that our festival is a downtown Ojai event, a Telluride without having to get on an airplane, where you can easily park and walk to screening venues, workshop panels, mixer parties, restaurants, stores, and art galleries,” Fleming said. “Attendees really experience the charm of Ojai at our Festival.”


For more information about Festival Screenings and Events, please visit






Contacts: Jamie Fleming, Executive Director 818-209-0627


Steve Grumette, Founder/Artistic Director 805-649-4000


The OJAI FILM FESTIVAL in association with the CARSEY-WOLF CENTER at UCSB is proud to present a new addition to the festival this year: FOCUS EARTH--films and speaker panels that will address humanity and the environment at the 13th Annual Ojai Film Festival to October 25-28.


OJAI, CA (October 8, 2012) – Ojai Film Festival Executive Director, Jamie Fleming, needed a way to fill the Festival’s Sunday afternoon schedule. Since thought-provoking films about humanitarianism and the environment have always been included in the Festival’s screen offerings, Fleming thought it might be a good idea to expand the screenings to include a forum that would include speakers and presentations by organizations that advocate social change.


“First the Carsey-Wolf Center agreed to become involved, and then MacGillvray committed which was huge because they produce those great IMAX films,” Fleming said. “Before I could blink I had two full days of films and panels. It just exploded.”


MacGillvray Freeman Films are well known for majestic IMAX films like Everest (1998). The studio has produced and distributed 35 IMAX films since 1974, and in 2010 became the first documentary film producer to ever cross the $1 billion mark in gross box office. Dolphins (2000) and The Living Sea (1995) were nominated for Academy Awards.

Minds In The Water opens the FOCUS EARTH schedule on Friday, October 26 at Chaparral Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Hosted by Saltwater Collective this award- winning documentary follows the quest of professional surfer, Dave Rastovich, and his friends to protect dolphins, whales and the oceans they all share. Pro surfers will be in attendance to lead a discussion following the screening.


On Saturday, October 27, FOCUS EARTH will hold an “Oceans and Water” event at 12:30 p.m. to screen current film footage shot by MacGillvray Freeman filmmakers who are traveling around the world on a One World One Ocean tour—a 10 year multiplatform media campaign aimed at changing the way people see and value the ocean.


UCSB Environmental Studies and the Carsey-Wolf Center will screen two short films from the Blue Horizons Program—No Otter Zone and Eviction Day, Rounding out the event, Surfrider Foundation will present One Beach. This film focuses on beach pollution and how artists are using plastics and other “foundbeach items” in art sculptures and jewelry. An Ocean Panel and Wine Tasting Reception hosted by Barefoot Wines will follow the film screenings.


Elevate Films, an Ojai based company respected globally for socially conscious enlightened filmmaking, will present Happy, a film by Roko Belic (director of Academy Award-nominated Genghis Blues), that explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion. A Q&A will follow with the film’s director, Roko Belic.

“One film that I am so happy to be able to bring in for FOCUS EARTH is Chasing Ice, Fleming said. “This film was an award-winner at Sundance this year where it received a standing ovation.”  Chasing Ice is about a photographer/scientist who travels to desolate locations where he places time-lapse cameras to track the melting and freezing of the earth’s glaciers and ice flows. The screening will be hosted by the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy on Sunday, October 28 at 12:30.


The Ojai Valley Green Coalition will host screenings of Eating Alabama and Love & Gratitude following Chasing Ice. Eating Alabama was highly acclaimed earlier this year at the Yale Environmental Film Festival.


“I believe that Love & Gratitude is going to be a big hit with Fest-goers,” Fleming said. “The film is about a Santa Barbara couple who turns their home into a sustainable-living oasis. A most endearing film.”


For more information about FOCUS EARTH and a complete schedule of all Festival Screenings and Events, please visit