FOUNDER AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Steve Grumette is a graduate of UCLA, from which he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Physics. After spending two years working in the aerospace industry, he returned to the UCLA motion picture department to study filmmaking.
Steve has worked in the motion picture industry for more than forty years as director, cameraman and editor. His collaborative project, “The Magic Machines,” won a special prize at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for “Best Live Action Short Subject.” His other films have won numerous festival awards, including top prizes at the American and Atlanta Film Festivals. While working as a consultant on the film “WarGames,” he pioneered the use of live computer imagery in motion pictures and subsequently created computer effects for more than a dozen major Hollywood films. He also uses the computer as a paintbrush and is widely known for his photo mosaics and giclée prints, which have been exhibited in galleries around the world.
Steve was among the original members of the Ojai Film Society, a non-profit organization devoted to enriching the cultural life of the Ojai Valley through its ongoing program of film-related events. From 1992 to 2008, Steve served as the Film Society’s Program Director in which capacity he had the responsibility of selecting the more than three-dozen feature films exhibited by the Society each year.
From 1998 to 2003, Steve served as a Film and Video Panelist for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts in their annual scholarship competition
Steve serves on the Executive Committee of the Ojai Art Center Theater and has participated as actor, director and/or technical director in most of the Art Center Theater’s productions during the last twenty years. For several years, he served as a juror at Utah’s Moab Film Festival and is also the founder and Artistic Director of the Ojai Film Festival in Ojai, California.
JONATHAN W. LAMBERT, PH.D.
Jon spent 35 years as a professional educator working in both the public education and college/university sectors. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education (State University of New York) and Masters’ and Doctorate degrees from Northwestern University specializing in Counseling and Counselor Education. He has worked in the public school sector as a teacher and curriculum developer and in the university sector as a counselor and professor in both the Department of Psychology and the Graduate School of Education. In addition Dr. Lambert was active within the field of International Education both with the State University of New York and as University Director for International Education at Pace University (NY) working with study-abroad, foreign student and faculty exchange programs.
After retirement in 2000 he and his wife moved cross-country to Ojai where he is active with a variety of nonprofits, currently serving as president of the Ojai Valley Library Friends and Foundation and v-p of the TibetanAid Foundation. He has lived and travelled in Europe and Scandinavia, journeyed extensively throughout the United States and made occasional forays into Asia (China) and Africa (Morocco and Tanzania). Jon’s avocations include such diverse activities as skiing, sailing, hiking, music (emphasis on folk music), and grandchildren. His basic philosophy can be summed up as: enjoy life, be useful and do one’s best not to harm other people and things.
Gartner is a 25-year public relations, special events and marketing professional with experience in agency, corporate and small business settings. Her skills include helping businesses develop strategic partnerships for mutual growth and opportunity. Her background includes work in multimedia and new technologies, cable television entertainment, consumer products and professional services. Her keen eye for the “big picture” and the ability to develop goal-oriented marketing strategies has earned her national awards.
The Maryland native helped launch three cable television entities, Digital Music Express (DMX), FX Networks (Fox, Inc.) and FXM (Fox Movies). She was named in Who’s Who, Who’s Who in California, Who’s Who in Entertainment, and received the TeleFrance National Promotion Award. Ms. Gartner graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Science in Communications with a minor in Public Relations.
The trilingual Ms. Gartner resides in Ojai, CA with her 13-year old daughter. She is an avid hiker, reader and essay writer.
Karen recently retired from the Ventura Unified School District after 37 years where she was a physical education instructor in a middle school and then a physical education and health instructor at Buena High School. The remaining 19 years she was a counselor at Buena High School. In 1980 she was selected by the Fulbright Exchange Teacher Program for a one year exchange with a teacher from Manchester, England.
Karen became involved in the Ojai Film Festival as an usher in 2000 (the first year of the festival). She subsequently volunteered as a venue chief and now acts as a Volunteer Coordinator along with Joan Oliva and Linda Knight
Carla is an Ojai Native who returned to the beautiful valley 25 years ago with her two children. She retired from Coldwell Banker Property Shoppe after 14 years as the Office Administrator. Carla has built strong ties to the community and is involved in many of its philanthropic efforts, including co-directing a Charity Golf Tournament for the past ten years, and building homes in Baja Mexico with Houses of Hope.
Carla has been involved with the Ojai Film Festival for over seven years beginning as an Ushe and evolving into a Venue Chief position.
BRUCE J. NOVOTNY
Bruce has worked for almost two decades as a film and TV editor, getting his start at a world-renowned agency in Malibu, where he worked on public affairs campaigns that are studied today in university political science programs. He has edited feature films and documentaries, series TV and music performance, has been an active contributing member of the LA-based comedy collective BrevityTV and co-produced a successful series of PSAs supporting marriage equality in 2009.
Bruce is a published novelist (Tales From an Endless Summer, Down The Shore Press, 1996), and was a regular columnist for newspapers on the Jersey Shore before moving to Ventura County. He’s currently a practicing screenwriter in addition to his work as an editor. He was educated at the Universities of Notre Dame and Cambridge, representing both on the soccer pitch, and is active with the Notre Dame Club of Ventura County.
Bob O’Connor was the Deputy District Attorney for Ventura County in charge of the Consumer Fraud Division – 1979-83. Bob then became the Acting Attorney General for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands 1983-85. He is a founding partner of the law firm of O’Connor, Berman, Dotts & Banes, the largest law firm in the Micronesian Islands. Bob is married to Bayarmaa with three children.
Joan graduated from CSULA is Business Education and received a Master of Science Degree in Counseling, Guidance and Personnel at California Lutheran University. She spent 35 years as a business educator and high school counselor. After retiring, Joan joined the volunteers at Ojai Film Festival as an usher, venue chief and from 2010-2015 as Volunteer Coordinator with Karen Birbeck and Linda Knight.
She served on the Board of Assistance League of Ventura County, is currently on the Board of Ventura County School Counselors’ Association and was ‘Assisteens’ Coordinator (teen auxiliary organization helping foster and homeless youth). She is active in Delta Kappa Gamma (women educators), enjoys activities with her grandchildren, going to movies, hiking, ceramics, and helping with Assistance League children’s programs.
Herb Hemming retired to Ojai in 2006 after a 40-year career in photojournalism, most of it with the Associated Press. He previously has served as Operations Manager and President of the Film Festival. He has also served on the Board of the Ojai Art Center and spent 4 years as chair of the Art Center Theater branch. He has produced about a dozen plays at the Art Center and received the American Association of Community Theatre Spotlight Award. He is currently treasurer of the OAC Theater branch.