Christopher and I trekked up to Ojai last weekend for the 11th Annual Ojai Film Festival. And what a weekend it was! Here’s the rundown –
Real Water. We had no idea the water we’d been drinking before was fake.
5:00 pm – First screening of Misusing Irony! We played in a shorts program with some great films, including The Burying Beetle, a heartfelt narrative starring John Michael Higgins in a dramatic role, and From the Ground Up, a documentary about the wives of fallen firefighters from 9/11 that made everyone cry.
6:30 pm – Q&A time! The audience was an older set, so we weren’t sure how they’d receive our hipster film, but they were genuine film enthusiasts and loved it. Christopher told a few fun stories, including the story about wearing his Mickey Mouse shirt.
7:00 pm – Followed a recommendation from a festival volunteer to Osteria Monte Grappa for dinner. Holy cow – fresh made pasta with duck, spinach, and roasted hazelnuts in a shallot cream sauce. Ojai is for foodies!
9:00 pm – Festival party at Il Giardino. As soon as we walked in, we spotted Kevin Weisman from Alias. Hi Kevin! You have a feature in the festival? We have a short in the festival! Here’s a copy. Talk to us more like we’re colleagues, you walking pile of awesome.
10:30 am – Screenwriting Q&A with Steven de Souza. Fantastic – I’ll never get tired of hearing writers talk about their process and the biz. Read Christopher’s guest blog about what happened after the panel.
11:45 am – Producers Panel with successful peeps from the big screen, independent screen, and TV screen. Great moderator too. I asked a question about underlying material that actually got answered!
12:30 pm – Ducked out of the panel to see Unicorn City, the feature starring Kevin Weisman. A comedy about a group of misfit gamers (is there any other kind?) who go LARPing in the woods. Hilariously funny with genuine heart. Snapped this pic with Kevin afterward. See? We’re friends!
4:30 pm – After a slice of pizza and a visit to an awesome local candy store, we headed into the Actor’s Panel with Lea Thompson, Brett Cullen, Chris McDonald, and casting director Paul Weber. Amazing, funny stories all around from skilled, humble, real working actors.
5:45 pm – Strolled over to a nearby park for a filmmakers-only wine tasting with Ojai Ridge, made with 100% estate grown grapes. Oh, and look who’s here! Lea Thompson, Brett Cullen, Chris McDonald, and casting director Paul Weber! More rubbing of elbows and two glasses of a terrific Syrah. Or was it three glasses? I picked up a bottle from the market on the way back.
7:00 pm – Dinner at Agave Maria’s. Even the Mexican food tastes amazing in Ojai. And like every place we visited in town, the walls were filled with local art that was for sale. The artistic vibe was everywhere.
Dave Rock, the director/writer/producer of The Burying Beetle, and some other film volunteers in the lobby while fighting the urge to buy popcorn.
4:30 pm – Last Q&A! Again, great questions from an invested audience of film lovers. Christopher got another question about his Mickey Mouse t-shirt and told more stories about the blurred line between his character and his actual life. One guy raised his hand and advised, "Don’t use that hooker line in real life!" Note taken, sir.
And that’s a wrap, Ojai! See you again soon!