Ambitious hybrid fest will screen more than 150 films in an open-air outdoor theater, drive-ins, and a full month of virtual screenings
Oxford, MS (February 15, 2021) – The 2021 Oxford Film Festival (March 24-28, April 1-30) announced the lineup of official selections for the 18th annual edition of the popular film festival which will be a hybrid presentation including an open-air outdoor theater, drive-ins, and a full month of virtual screenings. The premiere-rich schedule will showcase 158 films, including 33 features (15 narrative and 18 documentary), 115 short films (narrative, documentary, LGBTQIA+, ambition and experimental, student, and Mississippi-based productions), 19 music videos, and 11 projected art works, as well as 5 scripts selected for audience vote to win $1000 and mentorship by producer John Norris (Ma, Get On Up).
On March 24-28, screenings will be held all in the Oxord Commons area in two specially designed open-air circus tents, Malco Outdoor Cinema and a special drive-in at the Oxford High School. From April 1-30, Virtual Cinema screenings will be offered via Eventive globally.
The Oxford Film Festival is taking the lead in procedures, measures, and protocols to prioritize the safety of its staff, attending filmmakers and film fans, but also understand the need to allay any fears or concerns the community might have with attending an event like the film festival.
“As we continue to prepare for next month’s film festival, we want to be very clear about the aggressive steps we are taking in order to make our film festival safe so our patrons can begin to get back to enjoying the movie going experience in the company of other people again,” said Executive Director Melanie Addington. “Therefore, we are being very careful with a measured approach utilizing the open-air theater we have designed specifically for this purpose - with safety always first, so we all can enjoy one of the best group of films we have ever had this year. We have spent the past year safely providing films via drive-in and will include that experience in this year’s festival. We will monitor COVID and weather concerns and will make changes as needed closer to the event.”
Joining the previously announced Spotlight films including Anne Rapp’s documentary Horton Foote: The Road to Home, and Olivia Peace’s wry coming-of-age comedy Tahara, are Special Screenings including a 35th Anniversary of Mississippi native Jim Henson’s classic favorite, Labyrinth. The David Bowie, Jennifer Connolly starrer about a teenage girls challenge to save her little brother from the Goblin King will only be available for in-person attendees.
Vanessa Roth’s Liberation Heroes: The Last Eyewitnesses, about veterans of WWII describing their experiences in the war and showing the parallels to challenges we face today is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Oxford and will be presented with a panel of documentary filmmakers discussing use of archival footage at the physical festival.
Regarding the Narrative features in Oxford’s lineup this year, programmer Greta Hagen-Richardson, said, “The events of the past year have required that filmmakers and festivals alike find creative and innovative avenues for storytelling. With a Narrative Feature lineup composed almost exclusively of filmmaker submissions, we spent the year truly embracing our role as a Discovery festival. Our filmmakers have taken limited resources and made exciting, fresh, and compelling work for our audience. The unique perspectives presented speak to who we are as a community in a time when circumstances have forced us to exist separately.”
Among the films selected for the Narrative Competition include the previously announced Dramarama, directed by Jonathan Wysocki, Megan Petersen and Hannah Black’s Drought, and I-Fan Wang’s Get the Hell Out. Joining those films in competition are; Michael Lovan’s Murder Bury Win, about three friends who have created a unique board game; Jake Mahaffy’s Reunion, (and Memphis producer Adam Hohenberg) a terrifying tale about a pregnant woman’s experiences after returning to her recently deceased grandparents' family home to spend time with her estranged mother; and Lisette Feliciano’s Women is Losers, a 60s tale which follows a young catholic school girl’s efforts to survive her difficult home life.
“Oxford’s legendary eclectic culture is reflected in this year’s documentary feature selection providing films for any audience member, in-person or online, said Director of Programming, Donna Kosloskie. “Highlighting LGBTQIA+, and Music and Mississippi stories, the lineup also touches on issues of social justice, community and the power of creativity. An array of internationally renowned festival films and regional premieres round out this collection of progressive, nonfiction storytelling ensuring that the visions and voices on display are just as bold as Oxford itself.”
Among the films selected for the Documentary Competition include; David Delaney Mayer’s The Castle on Red Mountain about sculptor Robert Mihaly who, after 10 years, is returning to finish his biggest project to date: a whimsical 70-foot-high castle; Nathan Clarke’s The Passing On, which follows an undertaker’s efforts to pass along the legacy of Black funeral homes in San Antonio; and Cassie Hay and Amy Winston’s Queens of Pain, which follows the women of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby League; and Rebecca Richman Cohen’s Weed & Wine, which looks at the comparisons and contradictions between France’s revered winemaking traditions and the the legal cannabis industry.
Also available only in person is Tamara Saviano and Paul Whitfield’s Without Getting Killed or Caught, which tells the true story of legendary songwriter Guy Clark, who wrote songs while balancing a complicated relationship marriage with his wife, Suzanna, and his friend, singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt.
Highlights among the expanded LGBTQIA+ program at the Oxford Film festival this year are; Lisa Donato’s festival favorite, Gossamer Folds, about a young boy with an unhappy home life seeks solace in an unexpected friendship with a transgender woman who lives next door; Eytan Fox’s Sublet, about a New York Times writer who goes to Tel Aviv to write an article on the heels of a personal tragedy.; Luchina Fisher’s Mama Gloria, about Chicago’s Black transgender icon Gloria Allen; and Aisling Chin-yee and Chase Koynt’s No Ordinary Man, which looks at the legacy of Billy Tipton, a 20th Century American jazz musician and trans icon.
Virtual only special screenings include Posy Dixon’s Keyboard Fantasies; The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story, which focuses on the black trans musician following the rediscovery of his 1986 album Keyboard Fantasies and Ryan Spahn’s Nora Highland, which follows the casting process of a notable gay character in an upcoming Broadway revival. A virtual panel discussion on queer representation in movies will follow the screening of Nora Highland.
The first ever feature for the Projections category includes the world premiere of Scott Bateman’s animated experimental feature film 5000 Space Aliens and will be presented on the Malco Commons outdoors on Friday night for free alongside other select Projections projects. Other films in the category will be exhibited the entire week of the festival at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center for free. Audience can walk up or drive by to participate.
To buy passes or tickets or find more information, please go to: https://www.oxfordfilmfest.com/.
Tickets are now on sale for both physical and virtual screenings. Closing night screenings and panel discussions will be announced at a later date. COVID-19 restrictions and rules are listed on the website.
2021 Oxford Film Festival’s Official Selections