YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


71 films to screen at festival

October 24, 2002|Josef Woodard | Special to The Times

With its third annual event taking place between tonight and Sunday, the Ojai Film Festival continues its slow, steady growth. Spawned as an extension of the long-standing Ojai Film Society, the festival officially breaks off on its own this year as an independent nonprofit organization.

In this year's model, a list of 71 films -- shorts, features and documentaries -- will be screened at the Ojai Playhouse Theater and the auditoriums of Chaparral High School and Matilija Junior High. Seminars at the Ojai Art Center include "Reel People -- Creating Believable Characters" and sessions on writing for feature animation, computer effects and the nitty-gritty of producing.

It opens with a public flourish at 7 p.m. today with a free outdoor screening of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" at Libbey Bowl. The occasion is a tribute to cinematographer Conrad Hall, whose long filmography includes his Oscar-winning work on "Butch Cassidy" and the 2000 film "American Beauty."

Hall, slated to be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, will be recognized after the screening and at the gala awards brunch at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa.

"The Music Man" (tickets $7) will be screened Saturday at Libbey Bowl after a 5 p.m. reception (tickets $25) at the Ojai Art Center honoring actress Shirley Jones. The Nordhoff High School marching band will play "76 Trombones" as the procession travels from the Art Center to the bowl.

Ravel reveling

Maurice Ravel has been making the rounds during Ventura County's new classical music season. The opening concert for the New West Symphony was teeming with the French composer's music, including "Bolero" and two piano concertos, beautifully dispatched by popular pianist Christopher O'Riley.

Last weekend, the much-valued chamber music group Camerata Pacifica also weighed in on the subject in the second concert program of its season. This one, however, moved in a very different direction.

Ravel's 1922 Duo for Violin and Cello, lucidly played here by violinist Roger Wilkie and cellist John Walz, steers away from his best-known persona as an impressionist toward tougher terrain, a tonally restless vocabulary more reminiscent of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" than anything Bo Derek might be involved with.

This fascinating 20-minute work raises more musical questions than it answers and demonstrates the Camerata's will to stretch audiences' repertoire awareness. The reward, after intermission, was the easygoing romantic flow of Tchaikovsky's Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello, penned in homage to the composer's early friend and supporter, Nicholas Rubinstein.

This season, the highly applauded and popular Camerata Pacifica returns to its original home, Santa Barbara's Lobero Theater, when the group was known as the Bach Camerata. For the last few years, the group has split its time between two smaller venues in Santa Barbara and the two trusty chambers in Ventura County, the Scherr Forum Theatre in the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and the Meister Hall in Ventura's Temple Beth Torah.

Next up in the season, dissonance takes a holiday for an all-Brahms program Nov. 9 and 10 in Thousand Oaks and Ventura, respectively, and on Nov. 15 at the Lobero.

Jazz note

Jazz has been too much a stranger in Ventura lately, with the closing of 66 California. But at least one live effort continues in town: the Ventura Vanguard Jazz Club, which started out in the basement room of the Laurel Theater but has become a roving entity.

This Friday, the series picks up with a "pre-season" concert by pianist-composer Paul Herder, a recent emigre to Ojai from the Bay Area. Herder will present his Chamber Jazz Ensemble at the Church of Religious Science. Joining him will be ever-versatile saxophonist Tom Buckner and bassist Ralph Lowri.

The official series includes the Alan Broadbent Trio (Nov. 16), the Gerry Wiggins Trio (Feb. 1), the Bob Florence Trio (March 1), the Pete Jolly Trio (March 29) and the Theo Saunders Sextet (April 26), which put in a memorable performance recently at Soho in Santa Barbara.


Event details

Ojai Film Festival: Today through Sunday at various venues in Ojai. Free screening of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" today at 7 p.m. at Libbey Bowl, followed by a tribute to cinematographer Conrad Hall. Individual screenings are $7, with a six-pack for $35, an all-screening pass for $80 and all-access pass for $100. Seminars are $20; (805) 640-1947. Web site:

Paul Herder and the Chamber Jazz Ensemble: Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Church of Religious Science, Laurel and Santa Clara streets, Ventura. Tickets are $20 at the door, $18 in advance; (805) 644-9247.

Los Angeles Times Articles