Ojai Film Society Announces Free 2023 Summer Film Series


The Ojai Film Society announced the lineup of films for this year’s edition of the organization’s popular Free Summer Film Series. Sponsored by Hotel El Roblar, the series kicks off with Alejandra Vasquez and Sam Osborn’s Sundance hit Going Varsity in Mariachi on July 28. The series will include classics and beloved favorites that movie fans, cinephiles, and families alike can enjoy in outdoor screenings at the Libbey Bowl (210 S. Signal Street) every other Friday from late July through early October.

Regarding the creation of the Summer Film Series, Ojai Film Society President, Kathleen Schafer, said, “As the OFS emerged from the Pandemic, we understood the need for a new way of fulfilling our mission to bring film to the Ojai Valley. By focusing on screening films outdoors and making attendance free for everyone, it is easier for anyone who wants to enjoy these films to do so. And the enthusiastic response of our audiences helps attract filmmakers to bring their new films to Ojai. Not only is it a wonderful model for watching films, but it is also a great way for filmmakers to share their work with communities.” This year’s theme is ‘Shooting for the Stars,’ which reflects the aspirational, and practical ways we are all searching for something better for our lives.”

OFS Vice President, Nicholas Weissman, added, “Great films allow for wonderful collective community experiences and that’s what we’re trying to facilitate with the Ojai Film Society. Bringing people together to inspire, learn, and enjoy cinema – outdoors – on the warm summer nights that are so special to the California coast. That elevated outdoor experience provides a special setting for everyone to see both new and old films to our audience – including classics, independent, foreign, documentary, and first run films.”

Vasquez and Osborn’s Going Varsity in Mariachi opens the series on July 28. The documentary follows Edinburg North High School’s Mariachi Oro as they compete for a state championship. With a fiery passion for the music, their coach guides the varsity band through a steep competition season and a fraught year in their adolescent lives. Filmmakers Vasquez and Osborn will appear in-person as part of the screening presentation.

The Free Summer Film Series concludes on October 6 with Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi visually arresting documentary Wild Life, which focuses on conservationist Kris Tompkins and her epic, decades-spanning love story with outdoorsman Doug Tompkins as they embarked on a visionary effort to create National Parks throughout Chile and Argentina.

Ojai’s Hotel El Roblar is the premiere sponsor for this series with additional support from the City of Ojai.

For tickets, please go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/ojai-film-society-49453718643, and more information on the Ojai Film Society can be found at:  https://www.ojaifilmsociety.org/.

Ojai Film Society’s 2023 Summer Film Series Selections

Friday, July 28
Going Varsity in Mariachi
Directors: Alejandra Vasquez, Sam Osborn
Country: USA, Running Time: 104 min
This energetic documentary captures the highs and lows of Edinburg North High School’s Mariachi Oro as a green team strives for state championship. With tough love, finely tuned empathy, and a fiery passion for the music, Coach Abel Acuña guides the varsity band through a steep competition season and a fraught year in their adolescent lives. Team captains Abby, Marlena, and Bella prove the value of the skills taught in the band room as they navigate life’s challenges on and off the stage with grace, immutable work ethic, and total charm.

Friday, October 6
Wild Life
Directors: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min
Wild Life follows conservationist Kris Tompkins on an epic, decades-spanning love story as wild as the landscapes she dedicated her life to protecting. After falling in love in mid-life, Kris and the outdoorsman and entrepreneur Doug Tompkins left behind the world of the massively successful outdoor brands they’d helped pioneer – Patagonia, The North Face, and Espirit – and turned their attention to a visionary effort to create National Parks throughout Chile and Argentina.


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