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Articles

Film Festival Rights Disputed

By Linda Harmon

The Ojai Film Festival is a local tradition and its organizers take issue with the actions taken by David Shor, actions they say are capitalizing on their name and hard-won reputation.

“We are going to have to get a lawyer,” said Steve Grumette, the Ojai Film Festival’s vice president, “because it appears that he has appropriated our property.”
Shor, last year’s president and chairman of the board, resigned last month leaving behind bad feelings and a $90,000 deficient that Grumette and remaining board members, President Herb Hemming and Secretary-Treasurer Vickie Baldwin, had to address.
Now Shor has caused new confusion around area film festivals. Historically there have been two, Ojai’s own Ojai Film Festival and the Ventura-based Ventura Film Festival. Last week Shor sent out a press release for a new Ojai-Ventura International Film Festival to take place only a week later than the Ventura Festival in 2011, with similar events and using a logo very similar to the one used by the Ojai Film Festival last year.
On first glance the release appears to be coming from the Ojai Film Festival, but on closer examination, at the bottom of the page in small type, it gives new contact information listing a Santa Barbara address and a web address of ojaiventurafilmfestival
.com.
“That web site was originally our web site,” said Grumette, referring to the one listed by Shor. “You could get to our web site from there by entering ojaifilmfestival.com, which was OK last year.”
It is not OK this year.
“He’s creating enormous confusion,” said Grumette. “People think he’s still associated with us. And he’s not.”
The Ventura Film Society is not happy with Shor either.
“He has no affiliation with us at all,” said Jordan Older of the Ventura Film Festival. “We have trademarked the name and have written him several letters to tell him to stop using it.”
According to Grumette, it was under Shor that the Ojai Film Festival used the name, Ojai-Ventura Film Festival, in addition to Ojai Film Festival. Shor also added the additional web address, ojaiventurafilmfestival.com, to drive users to the original site. Grumette said Shor has refused to give the board the passwords he set to maintain the second web site.
They ended up taking away his access to the original site, but, according to Grumette, Shor still has a copy of the original site.
“He had access to it” said Grumette, “and now he’s set up his own site, which we don’t have access to, through Ojai-VenturaFilmfestival.com. He is showing all kinds of information about Haskell Wexler and Peter Graves that he has no right to, that information belongs to the Ojai Film Festival.”

“We are going to have to get a lawyer,” said Steve Grumette, the Ojai Film Festival’s vice president, “because it appears that he has appropriated our property.” Shor, last year’s president and chairman of the board, resigned last month leaving behind bad feelings and a

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