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Ojai-Ventura International Film Festival Honours Graves and Wexler

Two of Hollywood’s most impressive artists, Peter Graves and Haskell Wexler, descend upon the cities of Ojai and Ventura to be recognized by film industry peers and admirers for their lifelong bodies of work at the 10th anniversary of the Ojai-Ventura International Film Festival. Honorees Graves and Wexler will be presented with Lifetime Achievement awards during the Festival’s Closing Night Gala and Awards Ceremony. Presenting their awards will be several key individuals who have influenced their careers, motion picture industry luminaries and cast members from their films. The event will take place on Saturday, November 7 at 7 p.m. at the Anacapa Ballroom of the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. Since its inception the Festival has selected extraordinary figures whose passion and talent made an indelible imprint on the motion picture industry -- both in front of and behind the camera. An inspiration to young and veteran actors and filmmakers, Graves and Wexler also will be present for a question and answer session following special screenings of their films “Airplane” and “Who Needs to Sleep,” respectively, at Ojai’s Matilija Auditorium on Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.

To attend the special screenings and the closing night gala with this year’s honorees, discounted early bird passes are available through October 15th. Individual event tickets are sold for $10 per screening and closing night gala and award ceremony tickets are available for $100 per person at at this year’s Festival from November 5-8, 2009.

Admired for his work both on film and television, Peter Graves has had an enormously successful film acting career spanning more than fifty years. His works include the classic "Staglag 17" and the hilarious "Airplane.” With an equally rewarding TV career, Graves led the elite Special Forces squad as James Phelps in the original “Mission: Impossible” series. Paramount will release a special collector’s DVD box set in late October. His contributions to the show so firmly established Graves as a star of international importance that the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce will present Graves with his own star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame on October 30 -- nearly forty years after the series went off air. Most recently, Graves continues to appear as host of the Arts & Entertainment Network’s popular “Biography” series. On hand to present Graves’ award at the Festival’s closing night ceremonies will be “Airplane” co-star Robert Hays and others from the cast.

Joining Graves as a Festival honoree, legendary cinematographer Haskell Wexler has directed and produced two Academy Award-winning classics including “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “Bound for Glory.” Film buffs, historians and critics appreciate his influential black & white cinematic style which has received countless awards revering his unique talent in the art of filmmaking. In 1997, Wexler’s assistant cameraman Brent Hershman fell asleep while driving and died behind of the wheel of his car. The tragedy inspired Wexler to document the effects of sleep deprivation in the acclaimed documentary “Who Needs Sleep?” Wexler’s extensive works are renowned as masterpieces in cinematography and continue to motivate the next and emerging generation of filmmakers. Wexler will be participating with actress Diane Ladd and other cinematographers, directors and editors in a panel discussion on collaborative industry partnerships on the Brooks Institute campus at noon on Saturday, November 7, 2009.

About the Ojai-Ventura International Film Festival

Established in 1999 as the Ojai Film Festival, the Ojai-Ventura International Film Festival is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the art of the motion picture through the presentation of an annual multi-day festival in which films submitted by filmmakers throughout the world are publicly exhibited at several venues in and around the picturesque cities of Ojai and Ventura, Calif. Awarded for its short-film content by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts of Los Angeles (BAFTA/LA), many of the Festival’s films have subsequently received widespread distribution, honors and awards, including Academy Awards. The Festival is overseen by a passionate board of community leaders, film industry veterans and members of the greater business community. The Festival also boasts a litany of high-profile advisory board members including Ellen DeGeneres, Colin Farrell, Robert Friedman, Matthew Perry, Peter Strauss, Sally Kellerman, Malcolm McDowell and Diane Ladd. For more information about the Ojai-Ventura International Film Festival, please visit or call (805) 640-1947.

The 2009 Ojai-Ventura International Film Festival is sponsored by The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, Brooks Institute, Panavision and Chumash Casino Resort.

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