Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Oxford Film Festival is coming February 17 to 21. Get your tickets now.

Here's word on the Oxford Film Festival that is happening in Oxford Mississippi February 17 to the 21st. Oxford is not a place you'd think of as a film Mecca, hell, when I got the information on the festival I thought it was in England (Sorry guys and girls)., however if you look at the films they are running you'll realize pretty quickly there is something special here. 

Two films jump out the great ARMOR OF LIGHT about gun violence  and John Wildman's awesome LADIES OF THE HOUSE. That last one is a really big deal since the chance to see LADIES on the big screen is just really cool.(You need to see it big and with people-trust me). There are other films of course - a good number I'm hoping to see if the film gods smile on me, but those two should get you started.

As things stand right now I'm planning on doing some sort of coverage of the festival once it starts- but that's five weeks away and right now you need to have the information so you can buy up the tickets and make this festival a sell out for every show. To help you along I've posted the press release for the festival below. This spells everything out and lists the feature films they are running- I do have to say that I removed the list of short films they are screening for the sake of space- I printed out the press release out so I could make notes and found that the shorts alone filled 15 solid pages. My apologies to the shorts directors, but it was too much. (A full list can be found at the festival website)

You'll forgive me if I cut it short but I have 18 pages of films to go through to see what I'm going to see.  If you want more information beyond what's below or if you want to buy tickets the website can be found here.

And keep reading Unseen for reports from the festival.




Oxford, MS (January 5, 2016) – The 2016 Oxford Film Festival announced the full schedule and complete slate of films for this year’s edition. A record breaking 144 films (25 features, 119 shorts and music videos) representing 14 countries were selected for the film festival taking place February 17-21 in Oxford, Mississippi. A series of special filmmaker panels including a talk with film and television star Joey Lawrence will be offered for Mississippi filmgoers to attend, 21 short films will screen for the first time anywhere, and 21 alumni filmmakers will see their latest work screen at Oxford with as many as 80 filmmakers planning to attend the popular film festival.

Narrative feature films in competition this year include; Claire Carré’s
EMBERS; A.D. Calvo’s THE MISSING GIRL; Kostadin Bonev’s THE SINKING OF SOZOPOL; John W. Mann and Jon Gunn’s THE WEEK; and Rupert Glasson’s WHAT LOLA WANTS. Documentary features in competition are; Gerald Peary’s ARCHIE’S BETTY; Nick Brandestini’s CHILDREN OF THE ATTIC; Ryan Kelley’s DIXIE; Neal Broffman’s HELP US FIND SUNIL TRIPATHI; and Sara Kaye Larson and Joann Self Selvidge’s THE KEEPERS. The presentation of the Oxford Film Festival’s Hoka Awards will take place on Saturday, February 20 at The Lyric (1006 Van Buren Avenue).

Oxford Film Festival Executive Director Melanie Addington said, “The Oxford Film Festival continues to grow and this year’s selections – both in subject matter, representation from around the world, and the sheer number of films chosen – reflects that. As always, we are celebrating our ‘home grown’ filmmakers and their work, but we are also screening films with provocative subjects, from different cultures and a myriad of genres in our effort to deliver a broad spectrum of experiences in the theater to our eager Mississippi film fans. We also are thrilled at the idea of having so many filmmakers attend the festival this year to be here in-person, see their work screened, and be available to talk to the public about their movies.”

Highlights among the feature film selections include “can’t-miss” documentaries like; Amy Berg’s devastating documentary AN OPEN SECRET about the sexual abuse of minors in Hollywood; Les Blank’s A POEM IS A NAKED PERSON, his long-awaited profile of musician Leon Russell; Abigail Disney’s THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, which takes a look at an evangelical preacher’s efforts to discuss gun control; the world premiere of local filmmaker Rex Jones’ LONGLEAF: THE HEAR OF PINE, which traces the history and current status of the South’s primeval forest; and Joanne Grant’s Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker, which looks at the life of the civil rights figure.

On the narrative front, standouts include; Tony Bloodworth’s thriller FORCED MOVE and Mark Potts’ superhero comedy SPAGHETTI MAN which will both make their world premieres; 5-Second Films’ 80’s slasher films parody DUDE BRO PARTY MASSACRE III which is sure to be a crowd pleaser; Johnny Remo’s SAVED BY GRACE stars Joey Lawrence as a bitter ex-cop trying to come to terms with a tragic past with the help of a new relationship which brings some grace into his life; Max Myers’ SLIP, TUMBLE, AND SLIDE features Scott Wilson and Katherine Ross in a story about overcoming addiction through faith, music and love; an encore screening of John Stuart Wildman’s critically acclaimed grindhouse genre film THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE starring Anime voice talent Brina Palencia and former adult film star Michelle ‘Belladonna’ Sinclair; and a special presentation of the restored JONATHAN DEMME PRESENTS MADE IN TEXAS short film compilation about the punk rock scene of the 70s and early 80s, originally screened in 1981.

The series of panels offered are headed by a “Conversation with…Joey Lawrence” where he will discuss his career including his experiences being a teen idol and his new faith-based film SAVED BY GRACE, and include additional compelling panel subjects subjects such as “Casting Character Actors”, “Producing Films in Mississippi”, “Casting Child Actors”, “Dissecting Hollywood’s Diversity Problem”, “How to Get Film Critics to review Your Film”, and “Independent Black Film Collective”.

World premieres and star wattage dot the ambitious slate of short films screening at Oxford this year. Among the 21 world premieres are; Michaela O’Brien’s Anatomical Gifts; Jeremy Jensen’s Araignee; George Gross’ BOOKER WRIGHT’S MASHUP; Damein Wash’s Bottle of Sunshine; G.B. Shannon’s Broke Dick Dog; Kimberly Burleigh’s CANNOT PREDICT NOW; Eileen Myers’ THE FAVOR; Thad Lee’s FIDDLER’S GREEN; Jordan Liebwitz’s Hit & RUN; Sajad Abbas’ THE IRAQI SUPERMAN; Tate Moore’s Kudzu Kings 20th Anniversary; Michael Jackson Chaney’s LITTLE STICKER; Tim O'Grady’s MO’ BOUT JOE; James Martin’s THE NEW ORLEANS SAZERAC; Nancy Maria Balach and Katie McLaughlin’s Ole Miss Rebel Blues; Alice Walker’s Once A Month; Jason Rochelle’s One Star Delta Night; Calum Macdiarmid’s PREACHERMAN; Gloria Chung’s River Moon Black Birds; Roberta Munroe’s THE SIBLING CODE; and Gloria Chung’s Take the Bus on a Hot Summer Day.

Recognizable faces popping up among the short film selections include; Alex Karpovsky in Michael Tyburski’s Actor Seeks Role; Alvaro Ron’s THE RED THUNDER features the trio of television stars Allie Grant (“Weeds”), Miles Heizer (“Parenthood”), and Karen Strassman (“Silicon Valley”); Jeff Tan’s MOTHER’S DAY stars Academy Award-winner Melissa Leo; and Ridley Scott and Michael Fassbender are producers of David Victori’s ZERO.

2016 will mark a banner year for Oxford filmmaking alumni. Among the seemingly countless local filmmakers seeing their work screen at the festival for the second or third, etc. time are; ARCHIE’S BETTY director Gerald Peary Archie’s Betty (FOR THE LOVE OF MOVIES/2010); BROKE DICK DOG director G.B. Shannon (FRESH SKWEEZED/2012, PRETTY MONSTERS/2012, SONGS IN THE KEY OF DEATH/2013 and more); (Down Down Down director Coop Cooper (The Best Day/2012); Fallen Star AJC & The Envelope Pushers director Clay Hardwick; Fiddler’s Green director Thad Lee (Bill Lilly Builds a Greenhouse/2011); Fitting the Description in North Portland director Jarratt Taylor (THE NEW DEBUTANTES/2012); The Happy Song director Coop Cooper (The Best Day/2012); Hit & Run director Jordan Liebowitz (BINGO NIGHT/2015); THE HOUSE IS INNOCENT director: Nicholas Coles (TOWN PLANNER/2005); INTERSECTION director Brendan Beachman (STASIS/2009); Life is Super Gr8 director: Wade Vanover (REPEATER/2015); LIVING WITH H.I.V. director Kathryn A. Rodenmeyer (UPROOTED/2005); Nirvana: A Short Film About Lung Cancer director J. Michael Hicks (PICTURE SHOW/2014); River Moon Black Birds and TAKE THE BUS ON A HOT SUMMER DAY director Gloria Chung (TAKE 5 WITH MEMORY V/2015); Rock Me Slow director Edward Valibus (Songs in the Key of Death/2014); Snow Day director: Drew Smith (BOOK OF NOAH/2008 and BEING AWESOME/2014); STAGRASSLE PARANORMAL director Glenn Payne (A HORROR MOVIE/2015); and ’Til Death director Matthew Graves (Dummy/2007, The Show Must Go On/2012, Barry/2015).

Tickets and passes are available for purchase to attend the 2016 Oxford Film Festival. For more information go to


Feature Films

A Poem is a Naked Person (2015)
Director: Les Blank
Country: USA, Running Time: 90 min
An ineffable mix of unbridled joy and vérité realism, A Poem Is a Naked Person presents the beloved singer-songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell as filmed by documentarian Les Blank between 1972 and 1974. This singular film about an artist and his community never got an official theatrical release and has attained legendary status. Now, after more than forty years, it can finally be seen and heard in all its rough beauty.

An Open Secret (2015)
Director: Amy J. Berg
Country: USA, Running Time: 98 min
An Open Secret is an expose of the systemic and ongoing sexual abuse of minors in Hollywood and the investigation into the now infamous Digital Entertainment Network (DEN).

Archie’s Betty (2015)
Director: Gerald Peary
Country: USA, Running Time: 79 min
An independent documentary search for the real-life characters behind Archie comics.

Director: Abigail Disney
Country: USA, Running Time: 88 min
What price conscience? Abigail Disney's directorial debut, The Armor of Light, follows the journey of an Evangelical minister trying to find the courage to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America.

Babysitter (2015)
Director: Morgan Krantz
Country: USA, Running Time: 80 min
A dysfunctional L.A. family hires a mysterious babysitter who changes their lives.

Children of the Arctic (2015)
Director: Nick Brandestini
Country: Switzerland, Running Time: 93 min
Children of the Arctic is a portrait of Native Alaskan teenagers coming of age at America's northernmost edge. As their climate and culture undergo profound changes, they strive to be both modern American kids and the inheritors of an ancient whaling culture.

Dixie (2015)
Director: Ryan Kelley
Country: USA, Running Time: 93 min
The song “Dixie” has haunted the United States for over 150 years. Written in 1859 by a blackface minstrel, the song became the national anthem for the confederacy during the American Civil War. Modern musicians, both black and white, have reinterpreted the song and offered new insights into what it means to be an American, and what the future holds for America's most dangerous song.

Dude Bro Party Massacre III (2015)
Directors: Tomm Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet, Jon Salmon
Country: USA, Running Time: 102 min
Behold comedy troupe 5-Second Films’ hysterical twist on 1980’s slasher flicks. In the wake of two back-to-back mass murders on Chico’s frat row, loner Brent Chirino must infiltrate the ranks of a popular fraternity to investigate his twin brother's murder at the hands of the serial killer known as Motherface.

Embers (2015)
Director: Claire Carré
Country: USA, Running Time: 85 min
After a global neurological epidemic, those who remain search for meaning and connection in a world without memory. Five interwoven stories explore how we might learn, love and communicate in a future that has no past.

FORCED MOVE (2016) - World Premiere
Director: Tony Bloodworth
Country: USA, Running Time: 79 min
A man discovers a series of brutal murders while on his daily jog. Realizing his home is next in the path of the killers, he races against time to save his family.

Fundi: The Story of Ella Baker (2015)
Director: Joanne Grant
Country: USA; Running Time: 63 min
Documentary reveals the instrumental role that Ella Baker, a friend and advisor to Martin Luther King, played in shaping the American civil rights movement. By looking at the 1960s from the perspective of Baker, the "godmother of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee," Fundi adds an essential understanding of the U.S. civil rights movement.

Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi (2015)
Director: Neal Broffman
Country: USA; Running Time: 75 min
A family's search for their missing son and the hunt for suspects in a terror attack tragically converge in Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi, a film about truth and community in the age of social media.

Jonathan Demme Presents Made in Texas (2015)
Country: USA; Running Time: 103 min
The film presentation is a series of six restored short films from Austin, Texas made during the high energy, punk rock ‘70s and ‘80s. Demme originally curated this program in 1981 and the films have been restored and presented as they were from the original screening.

Directors: Sara Kaye Larson, Joann Self Selvidge
Country: USA, Running Time: 70 min
The Keepers is a portrait of the personalities and work of zookeepers shot with unprecedented behind-the-scenes access at the Memphis Zoo. A bittersweet, nonjudgmental look at what it means to find a place for yourself, working a job that you love.

Ladies of the House (2015)
Director: John Wildman
Country: USA; Running Time: 93 min
Film follows the events surrounding a birthday outing with two brothers and a friend which turns into a horrific fight for survival after they become trapped in a house with a "family" of malevolent women who enjoy a pin-up lifestyle and a special diet.

LongLeaf: The Heart of Pine (2015) – World Premiere
Director: Rex Jones
Country: USA; Running Time: 54 min
A cultural and natural history of the South's ancient primeval forest. Towering stands of old-growth longleaf pine (pinus palustris) once covered over 90 million acres while stretching from southern Virginia to eastern Texas. Today, the total acreage is about two million, with only about two thousand of that considered old growth.

Director: A.D. Calvo
Country: USA, Running Time: 89 min
The Missing Girl tells the story of Mort, the lonely and disillusioned owner of a comic book shop, and Ellen, the emotionally disruptive, aspiring graphic novelist he's hired. The story involves the search for a girl who isn’t missing and the discovery that it's never too late for late bloomers.

Saved by Grace (2015)
Director: Johnny Remo
Country: USA, Running Time: 82 min
A retired police officer (Joey Lawrence), despondent over the loss of his family, contemplates a dramatic decision which will change his life forever, until he meets a mysterious woman who, through her personal stories, gives him a reason to re-examine what is most important to him.

Searching for Hell (2015)
Directors: Pawel Nazaruk, Tomasz Adamski, Darek Barecki, Yuki Nakamura, Gloria Kurnik, James Kenney
Country: USA, Running Time: 77 min
Hell exists. It’s just not what you think it is. The world’s first full-length documentary film in virtual reality cinema.

Director: Kostadin Bonev
Country: Bulgaria, Running Time: 100 min
An aging man goes back to Sozopol and brings along his memories and ten bottles of vodka. It is clear that when the vodka is over, something must happen. Something that will change his life forever. Because when hope is gone, a miracle is the last resort.

Slip, Tumble and Slide (2015)
Director: Max Myers
Country: USA; Running Time: 96 min
A family struggles to help the father (Scott Wilson) stop drinking and regain the close ties he once had to his sons and to his wife (Katherine Ross). With love, faith and music the come together as a family.

Spaghetti Man (2015) - World Premiere
Director: Mark Potts
Country: USA, Running Time: 88 min
Clark doesn't care about you. He doesn't care about the world. He barely cares about himself. But after an incident with an old bowl of spaghetti and a malfunctioning microwave, he becomes a superhero that can fight crime with the power of spaghetti. However, you have to pay him.

Texas Heart (2015)
Director: Mark David
Country: USA, Running Time: 100 min
Film tells the story of Peter Franklin, a crooked lawyer who's caught up in a loveless existence, loses a critical case for the mob, and runs off to hide out in a backwoods Texas town. There he encounters a compelling story involving a mentally-challenged young man who is accused of killing a beautiful girl. Frank soon faces an agonizing choice: ignore the case in order to remain anonymous and far from the prying eyes of the mob or reach out and try to save the young man.

THE WEEK (2015)
Directors: John W. Mann, Jon Gunn
Country: USA, Running Time: 97 min
Dick Romans is a washed up TV host whose wife leaves him the day before their ten-year anniversary celebration. Alone with his thoughts, his dog, and a ton of booze, Dick decides to go through with the week-long party... by himself. The seven event-filled days become his reluctant vision quest, filled with odd characters, awkward romance, and some long-overdue self-examination.

Director: Rupert Glasson
Country: USA, Running Time: 81 min
17-year old Lola Franklin runs away from home but allows the world to believe she has been kidnapped. Intent on making her way across country, she meets a boy her age in a New Mexico diner. They fall instantly in love. But when Marlo learns of the reward for Lola's safe return, he must confront his own past and decide whether to take Lola back home to collect the reward or help her continue her mysterious journey.

The Oxford Film Festival was founded in 2003 to bring exciting, new and unusual films (and the people who create them) to North Mississippi. The annual four-day festival screens short and feature-length films in both showcase and competition settings, including narrative and documentary features and shorts; Mississippi narratives, documentaries and music videos, and narrative, documentary, animated and experimental shorts. The festival is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization.

Once more for tickets and more information go here.

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