Posted by Larry Gleeson
Ojai resident Chloé Zhao wrote and directed Nomadland, recipients of Best Picture and Best Director Oscars at the 2020 Academy Awards. Zhao makes a special appearance at the 2021 Ojai Film Festival on Saturday, November 13 at 7 pm. A screening of her 2017 film The Rider precedes a Q&A with Director Zhao, followed by a reception, all at the Ojai Art Center.
Growing up in Beijing Zhao felt drawn to influences from Western pop culture. She attended a boarding school in London before moving to Los Angeles to finish high school. She worked odd jobs as a party promoter, in real estate, and bartending before studying film production at New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
In 2010, Zhao’s short film, Daughters, premiered at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and won Best Student Live Action Short at the 2010 Palm Springs International ShortFest and Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Cinequest Film Festival.
Zhao directed her first feature film in 2015, Songs My Brothers Taught Me, which premiered as part of the US Dramatic Competition at Sundance Film Festival. It later played at Cannes Film Festival as part of the Director’s Fortnight selection.
Next Zhao wrote, produced, and directed The Rider, an American contemporary western drama shot in the Badlands of South Dakota. The film won the Art Cinema Award at the Cannes Film Festival and received Independent Spirit Award nominations for Best Film and Best Director. Rotten Tomatoes wrote: “[The film’s] hard-hitting drama is only made more effective through writer-director Chloé Zhao’s use of untrained actors to tell the movie’s fact-based tale.”
The Rider follows a young cowboy’s journey of self-discovery after a near-fatal accident ends his professional bronc riding career. Zhao engaged a cast of non-actors who lived on the ranch where she shot the film. Her inspiration came from a cowboy she befriended on the reservation where she filmed Songs My Brothers Taught Me.
Seating is limited for this special screening of The Rider with Academy Award-winning writer, director Chloé Zhao in attendance. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased here!
(Source: Ojai Film Fest News)