PICTURED: Chloé Zhao enters the Ojai Art Center Theater for a special screening of her film The Rider (2017) on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, as part of the 22nd Ojai Film Festival. Photo by Stephen Adams, submitted by Danielle McCormick/Raise the Bar Media

Film director Chloé Zhao, who won the 2021 Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director for Nomadland, was a very special guest at the 22nd Ojai Film Festival. During the closing ceremonies on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, the Ojai Art Center Theater hosted a special screening of Zhao’s 2017 film The Rider. Zhao herself came to the screening — a completely sold-out event with an overflow room. Fans traveled from near and far to see the famous filmmaker, who has made waves in Hollywood both with Nomadland and her blockbuster entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Eternals, currently in theaters.

Following the screening, Zhao joined Ojai Valley News publisher Laura Ward onstage for a Q&A session. The evening concluded with a spirited closing party, where guests danced to tunes courtesy of DJ Funshine.

— Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer