Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Reel Life: Ojai Film Fest Coming

Stars align for 8th annual Ojai Film Festival, opening Oct. 4 with free ‘Moon’ screening

On Oct. 4 get up close and personal with the only human beings to have stood on another world. Ron Howard’s “In the Shadow of the Moon” brings together surviving crew members from every single Apollo mission that flew to the moon, and allows them to tell their story in their own words. This amazing documentary will be a free screening at Libbey Bowl Ojai on Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m., to open the eighth annual Ojai Film Festival, running Oct. 4 through 7.
A rousing celebration of human endeavor, “In the Shadow of the Moon” is the ultimate adventure film. A definitive depiction of America’s exploration of space, it chronicles the history of the Apollo program, presenting a richly detailed and vivid re-creation of man’s first-ever lunar landing.
Gathering for the first — and possibly last — time the surviving crew members of every manned moon mission, the film allows these heroes to tell their story in their own words, and thrillingly illustrates their firsthand testimony with a treasure trove of footage, much of which has never before been seen in a feature film. The result is an intimate epic that distills all the danger, daring, promise and pride of an extraordinary era when the whole world literally looked up to America. Leonard Maltin of “Entertainment Tonight” exclaims, “Indescribably moving. One of the best films of the year! Don’t miss it.” David Ansen of Newsweek writes, “Astonishing! Stirring!” And John Schwartz of The New York Times calls it “Exceptional!”
Free tickets to “In the Shadow of the Moon” are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information about this screening or the Ojai Film Festival visit ojaifilmfestival.com or call 640-1947. Tickets for all events are on sale online now.
The Ojai Film Festival, with its mission of “Enriching the Human Spirit Through Film,” will also feature: Julie Christie appearing with a special screening of “McCabe & Mrs. Miller”; honoring of world-renowned cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “The Deer Hunter,” “The Black Dahlia”); tribute to the late cinematographer Lazslo Kovacs (“Easy Rider,” “Shampoo”) with his wife, daughter and biographer in attendance; honoring of film educator James Hosney, whom the Los Angeles Times called “the most influential Hollywood player you’ve probably never heard of”; filmmaking seminars with top industry icons; the Panavision Limelight awards for top student filmmakers with Bill Paxton as master of ceremonies; and the West Coast premiere of “Numb” with the film’s director Harris Goldberg and stars Matthew Perry and Mary Steenburgen in attendance.
The Ojai Film Festival is supported by producing sponsor KRUZ@ 97.5 and MAGIC 106.3 KMGQ (Santa Barbara) and directing sponsors Stella Artois, US Trust, TV5 Monde, and the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa.
Highlights from this year’s Ojai Film Festival lineup include:
• “In the Shadow of the Moon” (opening night film), documentary feature. The surviving crew members from NASA’s Apollo missions tell their story in their own words.
• “Numb” (closing night film), dark comedy feature, starring Matthew Perry and Mary Steenburgen. A chronically depressed screenwriter (Perry) tries to cure his condition when he meets the girl of his dreams.
• “Kabluey,” comedy feature, starring Lisa Kudrow, Christine Taylor, Teri Garr, and Scott Prendergast (writer, director, lead). An inept man (Prendergast) comes to help his sister-in-law (Kudrow) take care of his holy terror nephews while his brother is off fighting in Iraq. The man takes a job as a giant blue corporate mascot to help make ends meet and hold the family together.
• “The Walker,” dramatic feature, starring Woody Harrelson, Lauren Bacall, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ned Beatty, Lily Tomlin and Willem Dafoe. Directed by Paul Shrader. An escort (Harrelson) who caters to Washington D.C.’s society ladies becomes involved in a murder case. A tale of moral redemption that takes the form of a mystery-thriller.
• “Taxi to the Dark Side,” documentary feature. Written, produced and directed by Alex Gibney (Oscar nominated for “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”). Examines the death of an Afghan taxi driver at Bagram Air Base from injuries inflicted by U.S. soldiers.
“War/Dance,” documentary feature, winner of Documentary Directing Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Set in Northern Uganda, a country ravaged by more than two decades of civil war, three children living in a displacement camp compete in their country’s national music and dance festival.
The Ojai Film Festival is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the art of the motion picture.

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