For 17 years the Ojai Film Festival has been bringing the best in independent dramas, documentaries, shorts and other films from around the world to Ventura County. This year’s event, which runs Nov. 3 through Nov. 13, is rumored to be bigger and more impressive than ever. “This year we’ve had the most buzz we’ve ever had,” says Executive Director Maryse Gartner. “The festival is growing in reputation and popularity.” For evidence, she cites the more than 400 film submissions and 67 screenwriting entries that organizers received this year.

Highlights of the 70+ films selected for screening include the award-winning entries Liberty’s Secret, a “girl-meets-girl movie-musical” about a conservative politician who falls in love with her campaign’s spin doctor, and The Orchestra, an animated love story from Australia that takes place in a world where every person is accompanied by musicians that play the soundtrack to his or her life. Tab Hunter, star of the 1950s and 1960s, will make a special appearance for a Q&A following the Saturday, Nov. 5, screening of the documentary Tab Hunter Confidential. Both he and cinematographer Dean Cundey (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) will receive lifetime achievement awards this year.

Another highly anticipated film is Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy, a documentary about poet and social activist Robert Bly. John Densmore, drummer for The Doors, is one of several contributors to the film, and will conduct a Q&A after the Nov. 10 screening.

The festival will also feature shorts, movies for children, works by local directors, a variety of workshops for actors, writers and filmmakers, and more. It’s this wide variety that Gartner says “sets the Ojai Film Festival apart as an exciting and diverse celebration of film.”

“There’s something for everyone,” Gartner sums up. Grab the popcorn!

The Ojai Film Festival runs Nov. 3-13. Ticket prices and locations vary. For scheduling and more information, call 640-1947 or visit www.ojaifilmfestival.com.