International Awards Contenders Film Series Comes to the Ojai Film Festival

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As the countdown begins, the Ojai Film Festival introduces a specially curated selection of six of the official submissions in the international feature film and live action shorts categories for this year's Awards which will be offered virtually.

Join us for a rare opportunity to screen these outstanding international films through video on demand from Friday, January 22 to Thursday, January 28, 2021. An online conversation with the filmmakers follows each film.

Films in alphabetical order: 

"Njuokcamat" ("The Tongues")
During a blizzard on the tundra, a Sámi woman is herding her reindeer when she is attacked by a man. Her sister senses that something is wrong and starts looking for her. Wrapped in fear and confusion, both women will unite in their fight for revenge. Drama, 2019, Norway, Director: Marja Bål Nango, Co-Director: Ingir Bål Nango, Producer: Elisa Fernanda Pirir, Language: Sámi with English subtitles, 15 min.

The Big Hit (Un Triomphe) Review – Encore! A Feel-Good Comedy

"Nova Lituania"

During the interwar period, a Lithuanian geography professor tries to convince the government to establish a backup state overseas to save their country from ruin. Debut director Karolis Kaupinis worked with carefully composed black-and-white shots to forge a witty, universally relevant, modern Don Quixote satire. Drama, 2019, Lithuania, Director: Karolis Kaupinis, Producer: Marija Razgutė, Language: Lithuanian with English subtitles, 97 min

"River Tales"
The mythic San Juan River, located between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in Nicaragua, symbolizes 500 years of colonization and exploitation of resources and saw over 70 canal projects fail. Now, a Chinese businessman attempts to control the interoceanic route that Columbus desperately looked for when he reached the 'New World.' Documentary, 2019, Luxembourg, Director: Julie Schroell, Producer: Jesus Gonzalez-Elvira, Language: Spanish with English and French subtitles, 81 min.

Miracle in Cell 7 Review – Four Stars! A Triumph of the Human Spirit

"Song Without a Name"

Peru, at the height of the political crisis in the 1980s. Georgina is a young woman from the Andes whose newborn daughter is stolen at a fake health clinic. Her desperate search for the child leads her to the headquarters of a major newspaper, where she meets Pedro Campos, a lonely journalist. Based on a true story. Drama, 2019, Peru, Director: Melina León, Producer: Inti Briones, Melina León, Michael J. White; Language: Spanish, Quechua with English subtitles, 97 min.


Helsinki, 1945. The end of the war brings a new sense of artistic and social freedom for painter Tove Jansson. Tove's desire for liberty is put to the test when she meets theater director Vivica Bandler, and as she struggles with her personal life, her creative endeavors take her in an unexpected direction.  While focusing her artistic dreams on her painting, the work that started as a side project, the melancholic, haunting tales she told scared children in bomb shelters, rapidly takes on a life of its own. The exploits of the Moomins, infused with inspiration from her own life, bring Tove international fame and financial freedom. Drama, 2020, Finland, Director: Zaida Bergroth, Producer:  Andrea Reuter, Aleksi Bardy. Language: Swedish (Finnish, English, French) with English subtitles, 116 min.

Breaking Surface Review – Suspenseful, A Riveting Under-Water Thriller


Three women cope with issues of control over their bodies, tradition and adoption. They have not set out to change the world, but their struggle to become mothers makes them unlikely heroines. Three stories set in Macedonia – one medieval, two contemporary – exploring themes of love, trust and motherhood. Drama, 2019, North Macedonia, Director: Milcho Manchevski, Producers: Jane Kortoshev, Milcho Manchevski; Language: Macedonian with English subtitles, 102 min.

Helene Review – Captivating Story Driven Performances, Resonating

Tickets for the INTERNATIONAL AWARDS CONTENDERS Film Series are $5 per film. Viewers may start a film at any time they choose from January 22 to 28, 2021; however, once started they must complete watching the film within 24 hours. 

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