Eco-Conscious Indie Films at the Ojai Film Festival

Susan Kucera spoke about her time with Jeff Bridges.

The Ojai Film Festival continues the tradition of focusing on environmental films with the 20th Anniversary Edition: Focus Earth. Throughout the ten-day festival filmgoers will find double screenings of eco-conscious indie films. A day of special events focuses on the environment, including discussions, seminars and panels about the planet we share. This full day of eco-films starts at 10 am on Sunday, November 10 and continues into the evening.

The documentary Living in the Future’s Past, described as a “beautifully photographed tour de force,” headlines the event. Susan Kucera directed the film, narrated and produced by Jeff Bridges.

In an interview with Clean Technica, Ms. Kucera spoke about her film and collaboration with Jeff Bridges. “What Jeff and I wanted to do was think about how we think. A lot of people watch the film and they go, ‘Aha! I see how everything works and it’s not so weirdly scary,’ which makes transition more interactive and more full of exciting possibilities.”

Dr. Sheila Laffey, filmmaker, producer and professor in the Santa Monica College Film and Animation Academy, highlights the festival’s Environmental Films as Educational Tools seminar series. Dr. Laffey will offer specific Eco-Shorts, plus animations and methods for classrooms and small group use on Sunday, November 10 at 1 pm.

In session two, Director Sylvie Rokab joins Ms. Laffey to present the eco-doc Love Thy Nature, narrated by Liam Neeson. In an interview with Eluxe Magazine, Ms. Rokabdescribes how she chose the title Love Thy Nature to convey the sense that loving (our) nature is so critical to our wellbeing, and the wellbeing of our world, that it might as well be a universal truth just like ‘love thy neighbor.’” She said, “We have a myriad of new scientific studies that show a contact with nature makes us healthier, smarter, calmer, more connected, and happier human beings…we are inextricably wired to nature – physically, neurologically, emotionally, and spiritually. And yet, in our increasingly urban and technological world, too many of us have completely lost touch with nature – living in grey cities, working in sterile offices, leading stressful lives, and eating toxic foods.”

Indie films in the Focus Earth series include Ay Mariposa, a stunning documentary feature about two women and a rare community of butterflies standing on the frontlines in a battle against the US-Mexico border wall. Ay Mariposa screens on Friday November 8 at 10 am and Saturday, November 9 at 1 pm.

In the inspiring new documentary, The Condor and The Eagle, viewers discover four Indigenous leaders who embark on an extraordinary trans-continental adventure from the Canadian plains to deep inside the heart of the Amazonian jungle. Catch it on Wednesday, November 6 at 4 pm or on Saturday, November 9 at 1 pm.

Another high point in our Focus Earth series hits close to home with The Perfect Firestorm: The Thomas Fire Story. This film chronicles the devastating wildfire that whipped through Ventura County and burned over a quarter million acres before firefighters finally contained it on January 12, 2018. This screens on Friday, November 8 at 1 pm.


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