The Ojai Film Festival (OFF), ranked one of the top 100 Best Reviewed Festivals on FilmFreeway, continues to grow in prestige. The festival, which begins November 4, 2021, showcases the finest new films by emerging and established filmmakers from around the world. Both the film and screenplay competitions opened to submissions March 1.
Out of the 77 films in the 2020 OFF three made it to the short list for Oscar consideration. In the previous 20 years 15 alumni received Academy Award nominations, two won an Oscar, and numerous others went on to gain distribution and win prestigious awards.
“Our festival provides a valuable service to filmmakers,” Artistic Director Steve Grumette said. “We give them access to a highly appreciative audience, including film industry professionals who can help guide their careers.”
Films screened in the festival become eligible to win OFF trophies and awards. The Limelight Award for Best Student Film comes with a Panavision camera rental package worth $60,000 USD. Other honors include the Sergio Aragones Award for Best Animated Film, and the Bill Paxton Award given to a filmmaker from Ojai or Southern California.
The event provides audiences with a diverse lineup, many groundbreaking works otherwise inaccessible to the public, which embody the OFF theme: “Enriching the Human Spirit through Film.” Past submissions of short and long narratives, short and long documentaries, and animations. represent over 46 countries. Now in its sixth year the Screenplay Competition last year brought in entries from as far away as Edinbridge, Kent, UK, as well as from all over the US.
At this time plans for the 2021 OFF foresee a mix of physical in-theater experiences and online accessibility. “Presenting an online festival in 2020 became a major learning experience,” OFF President Jonathan Lambert said. “Fortunately, we did it well and received a lot of positive feedback from filmmakers and patrons.” Viewers of last year’s virtual OFF screenings live in many US states and several overseas countries.
Legendary Hollywood producer Peter Guber told the audience at a Toronto International Film Festival that “Ojai is the next Telluride.” This speaks volumes about Ojai’s growing importance on the festival circuit.
FILM DEADLINES AND FEES
Early deadline (April 1): Features $35, Shorts $30
Regular deadline (May 1): Features $45, Shorts $40
Late deadline (June 1): Features $55, Shorts $50
Extended Deadline (July 1) entry fees: Features $65, Shorts $60
SCREENPLAY DEADLINES AND FEES
Early deadline (March 31): $25/$20 Students
Regular deadline (April 30): $35/$25 Students
Late deadline (May 31): $45/$35 Students
Extended deadline (June 30): $55/$45 Students
To enter go to ojaifilmfestival.com/entries
Accepted entries will be notified in mid-August.