STAFF

Executive Director: Melanie Addington

Melanie has worked with the festival since 2006 in various capacities and has taken on the role of Executive Director for the 2016 festival. She also directs, writes, and produces films and serves on the Mississippi Film and Video Alliance as President. She co-founded OxFilm, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council's program to lend equipment to Oxford filmmakers. Contact: melanieaddington [at] oxfordfilmfest.com

Assistant Director: Kayleigh Graham

Kayleigh Graham is a woman of mystery and power whose power is exceeded only by her mystery. When she isn't volunteering for the Oxford Film Festival, she is the facilities coordinator for the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and is on staff at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Kayleigh is also actively involved in community and professional theatre, including acting, stage managing, and costuming. She lives in Oxford with her husband Samuel and is a Tom Collins aficionado. Contact at kayleigh@oxfordfilmfest.com

Technical Director: Gregory Gray

Since graduating from the University of Memphis with a degree in Filmmaking, Gregory has worked on nationally-released documentaries, feature films and television productions, including 21 Grams, John Grisham’s A Painted House, Respect Yourself : The Stax Record Story and the Netflix docu-series Last Chance U. Gregory is involved with several filmmaking workshops for youth, including one run by The University of Mississippi. 

Co-Volunteer Coordinator: Vanessa Brasher

Vanessa Brasher has lived in the North Mississippi area most of her life and believes in the future of her state. She has been volunteering with the Festival since 2010 and looks forward to each year as a great opportunity to see new films and support the independent film community. An alumni of the University of Mississippi, she lives with her cat and dog just outside of Oxford and is woefully addicted to Netflix's documentary category. Contact at offvolunteer [@] oxfordfilmfest.com

 

 Co-Volunteer Coordinator: Sarah Wadford

2018 will be Sarah's 8th year of volunteering with OXFF.  She is often spotted with one of her 3 kids in tow, and has a husband that loves film festivals as long as they keep her happy.  Sarah's time with OXFF greatly benefitted her when she moved to Starkville from Oxford as she was recently asked to be Assistant Director of the 2017 Magnolia Independent Film Festival. Contact at offvolunteer [@] oxfordfilmfest.com

 

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Hospitality Volunteer Coordinator and Opening night And Founder's Party Coordinator: Patrick Hudson

Jason P Hudson is a 4-year resident of Oxford.  He is completing a degree in theatre design and production , music, and business administration at The University of Mississippi.  He is on the technical staff at both the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts and the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.  He is an awarded theatrical designer and director and has worked all over the country.

 

Publicist: John Wildman

John Wildman is a filmmaker, film publicist, and film journalist and critic. His feature film directorial debut, the grindhouse art-horror thriller THE LADIES OF THE HOUSE was released to critical acclaim in 2015. He was the Senior Publicist for The Film Society of Lincoln Center and FSLC’s New York Film Festival, New Directors/New Films, and the Chaplin Award Gala, the Director of Press and Public Relations for the American Film Institute as well as the AFI FEST International Film Festival in Hollywood, the DALLAS International Film Festival and several other film festivals around the country. Wildman currently is a host on The Daily Buzz NPR broadcast on Austin's KUT station and writes a column for Festworks.com entitled “Films Gone Wild.” He was formerly a contributor to Film Comment.com and Film Threat and several publications prior to that including Movie City News and Moving Pictures Magazine.com. Contact John at jswildman [@] hotmail.com

Box Office Coordinator: Withrow Newell

Withrow has worked with various film festivals since 2009 in various capacities but, festival ticketing has captured his heart. He believes “a ticket is a receipt for a memory you haven't made yet” and wants that experience to be as smooth as possible. In his free time he likes to watch Netflix and chill.

Assistant Box Office Coordinator: Angella Baker

Originally from Hamilton, MS Angella resides in Starkville where she is employed by Mississippi State. She is a 2000 grad of MSU with a degree in Business.  In her spare time Angella enjoys volunteering, attending MSU sporting events, and working out.  Angella has directed the Magnolia Independent Film Festival for the past 3 years and prior to that served as publicity and box office chair under the late Ron Tibbett.

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Jury Wrangler: Arik Sokol

Arik Sokol is a Professional Jury Wrangler who has wrangled all over the southeast.  In his spare time, he produces national video work for various clients and practices improv comedy.  He is fond of his wife Laurel and his son Ben.

 

Venues Director: Toby Douglas

Toby has lived in Oxford for the past thirteen years. She has been involved with theatre since her early teens and just started getting involved with film in the past four years. This is her second year helping with the oxford film festival, and she can't wait to see how great it goes! Contact at toby [@] oxfordfilmfest.com

Venues Assistant: Morgan Tucker

 Morgan Tucker is currently attending the University of Mississippi with intentions of graduating with the class of 2019 with degrees in Philosophy and Economics. Within the University, she is an Associated Student Body Senator for the College of Liberal Arts as well as a Global Ambassador. She is originally from North Carolina and moved to Mississippi for college. 

    

Conference Center/Panels Manager: Dee Dempsey

Dee has been in the acting/ Theatre industry since she was in High School in the 80's. After raising her girls and sending the final one off to Ole Miss in 2015, she started back to acting again. Dee said she is truly blessed to be able to do all she is doing and love volunteering at OXFF! 

                                        

Merchandise Coordinator: Jacquelyn Elder-Meridith

Originally from Columbus, MS Jackie now lives in Pearl, MS with her husband and daughter. Jackie is an actress with KTA Talent Group. She is a 2005 graduate of MSU with a degree in Sociology. Jackie likes volunteering for other film festivals as well, including The Magnolia Independent Film Festival and The Crossroads Film Festival.  Contact Jacquelyn at   [at] gmail.com 

 

 

Malco Screen Manager: Montana Byrd

Montana will graduate from the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media this May with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcast and a minor in cinema.  Montana has always had a passion for filmmaking, and she has spent the last few years working on various films throughout the state.  In 2016, she was a reporter and editor for “Mississippi Votes: Looking Back, Moving Forward,” a documentary produced by the Meek School of Journalism.  She also worked as the production coordinator and production accountant in “Kudzu Zombies,” which will have its world premiere at the festival this year.  For more information about Montana, visit montanabyrd.com.

Malco Screen Manager: Dylan Kerr

Dylan Kerr is 24 and from Kosciusko, MS. He is a senior at Ole Miss working on an English degree and is currently in post-production on his first film. 

 

 

Transportation Coordinator: Virginia Brick

Virginia, a native of Oxford but a transplant to the Nashville area for 13 years,  holds a bachelors degree in Music Business and is an aspiring Music Supervisor. She has 12+ years of experience as an event coordinator and currently works as an event & catering sales manager for a local catering company.  She is a devoted mother to her two sons and volunteers her time at music & film festivals and with the productions team at church. Contact Virginia at vbrick [@} sesac.com 

 

Assistant Transportation Coordinator: Hannah Glass

Hannah Glass is a student at the University of Mississippi working toward a degree in Journalism. She has lived in several different states and enjoyed being involved in the arts in each place, especially with theatre, and is now branching into film. This is her third year working with the Oxford Film Festival.

 

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Hotel Coordinator: Kristin Rogers

Kristin has been involved with the Oxford Film Festival since 2008 in various capacities from volunteer to operations.  She and her husband, Stephen, are avid movie watchers and enjoy a good independent film.  Kristin is the Electronic Resources Librarian at the University of Mississippi Libraries and loves living in the Oxford community.  Contact: kristin [@]oxfordfilmfest.com.

 

Publications Coordinator: Michelle Emanuel

Michelle Emanuel is a professor in the University of Mississippi Libraries where she is Head of Metadata and Digital Initiatives. She is also a core member of UM's Cinema faculty, and teaches Cinema Survey each semester. She has volunteered for the Oxford Film Festival since its first year in 2003, and served as a festival Co-director, including Operations Director, from 2005-2015. Contact Michelle at michelle [@] oxfordfilmfest.com

Publications Assistant: Tom Speed

Tom Speed is a freelance magazine writer, amateur kazooist and peanut butter aficionado. He has been working with the Oxford Film Festival for the past four years as publications editor and contributing writer. He was co-founder, publisher and editor of the music magazine Honest Tune, and is a contributor to Blurt, Delta, Living Bluesand Paste magazines, among others.  His work was included in the anthology, That Devil Music: Best Rock Writing of 2014 by Anthem Publishing.  He is an unrepentant Netflix addict. He lives in Oxford withtwo dogs, two cats, two children and one wife.

Documentary Co-Coordinator: Derek Brown

Derek A. Brown Sr. is a competent video production specialist who utilizes creativity, leadership, and teamwork to design and execute unique visual art. As a former professional broadcast engineer with mass communication skills and comprehensive knowledge of cinematographic production, Derek has created media productions utilizing marketing, management, and writing skills for branding that highly satisfies each client.

Matt Wymer, Documentary Assistant Coordinator

Born In Prince George British Columbia Canada , Matt moved To Alligator, Mississippi at age five. He grew up in Oxford Mississippi. In only 8 short years, he graduated from the University of Mississippi with a BA inArt. His mission in life is to make people feel feelings through art, comedy and films.

 

Kid Film Fest Coordinator: Yasmeen Abdo

Yasmeen Abdo is a student at the University of Mississippi from Madison, MS. In between studying chemistry, she enjoys watching movies and reading historical mysteries.

 

 

Q&A Coordinator: Rory Ledbetter

Rory Ledbetter is an Associate Professor of Theatre Arts specializing in Acting, Voice, and Speech at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). In addition to touring his one-man show, A Mind Full of Dopamine, across Canada and the United States, he works with students, public speakers, and teachers to enhance their vocal power and presence. He is excited to be coordinating the Q&As for the films at the festival, and he hopes that everyone has an incredible festival experience.

 

Q&A Assistant Coordinator: Zacarah Nelms

My name iz Zacarah Nelms. I am from Columbus, Ohio. I moved to oxford around 3rd grade when I got adopted and ever since then I have been in love with the Arts. Especially with Film.  

 

Margot Aliffi, Fall/Spring Intern

Margot Aliffi is a senior at Ole Miss majoring in Integrated Marketing Communications. She is also a member of Delta Delta Delta She will be joining us this Fall as an Oxford Film Fest intern working with us on social media and promoting our upcoming events. Margot is an Atlanta, GA native who has interned with film companies in the past. She is excited to spend her semester with us learning all about the Oxford Film Fest and all the great things it has to offer. 

 

Hanna Teevan, Spring Intern

Hanna Teevan is a senior Integrated Marketing Communications student at Ole Miss. She is from Memphis, TN but basically considers herself an Oxford native. Hanna will be joining us in the spring as a media intern working with the lead up to the Film Festival as well as post-fest media. Though allergic, she dreams of one day owning a cat. 

 

 

Green Room Coordinator: Kim Chrestman

Kim has worked at Ole Miss for 20 years. She is currently the Senior Staff Assistant in the Leadership and Counselor Education department in the School of Education. She has three daughters and one son; two granddaughters. She has a significant other, DJ Lyons, whom they have been dating for 21 years. She loves swimming, boating, walking in the woods, exploring, window shopping and is a shade tree mechanic.

Gift Bag Coordinator: Wendy McMain

Wendy McMain has two kids and the family moved to Oxford four years ago from the Jackson, Mississippi area. She has worked in insurance for the past 31 years. She graduated from Belhaven College in 1995. She enjoys working as an extra on movies filmed here in Mississippi. 

 

 

 

Screen Manager Coordinator: Whitney Friday

Whitney is studying Cosmetology with hopes of furthering her makeup career. She has two hometowns, both in Mississippi, Oxford and Jackson. She loves anything and everything pug related.

 

 

OFF Ambassador: Susan McPhail

Susan has been involved with OFF since its beginning. She has worn many hats for the festival and is proud to now serve as ambassador, screener, promoter, and number one fan!  Susan has discovered a love of acting and has appeared in movies with Nick Nolte and Ben Mendelsohn, and has worked with directors Alison Eastwood and Sean Brosnan.  

 

 

 

OFF Ambassador: Johnny McPhail

Johnny has been involved with the Oxford Film Festival since the beginning and has been instrumental in promoting it through the years.  He is an actor who is known for a variety of well-known works such as Ballast, True Detective, American Ultra, Free State of Jones, and Strange Weather.  He was awarded a Hoka award several years ago for appearing in the most films in any film festival (7).  He is a staunch supporter of the festival and fellow actors, and is known for his encouragement and eagerness to help others.  He is also known for his extreme modesty.  

 

Blake Hemphill, Screenplay Contest Coordinator

Blake has been a resident of Oxford, MS since starting undergrad at Ole Miss 14 years ago.  He majored in Political Science and Broadcast Journalism, but has always had a passion for Film and Theater.  He's a local trivia guru, who has yet to get that final call from Jeopardy!, but is willing to take on all comers when it comes to any movie, tv, or Broadway musical knowledge.  When not volunteering locally, he is an attorney in New Albany, MS, with a strong desire to do more legal work in the entertainment field.

 

 

 

Susan Bauer Lee, Publication Designer

Susan Bauer Lee: I move words, images, and pixels. I bang on things for fun.

 

Laura Sheppardson, Ballot Coordinator

Laura Sheppardson is an Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Mississippi. She has volunteered with the Oxford Film Festival since 2006, in capacities ranging from Screening Coordinator to general gopher.  Regular OFF-goers may recognize her as the women lurking in the theater for hours on end with her knitting. 

 

Maverick Kohlohf, Print Traffic Coordinator

Maverick is from Olive Branch, MS. He is currently a Mechanical Engineering student at Ole Miss and will be graduating in 2018. 

 

 


Head Programmers

Mark Bell - Narrative Feature/Mississippi Features

A veteran of the film festival world, Mark Bell is furry, cuddly and near-sighted. As the former owner/publisher of FilmThreat.com, Mark focused his sights on indie, underground and film festival-friendly films that might otherwise be ignored by more mainstream press outlets. Mark traveled frequently, covering film festivals as a critic, journalist, and often as a guest, jurying various categories at the Florida, Oxford, IndieMemphis, Slamdance, Sidewalk, Kansas City, Atlanta and Dallas film festivals over the years. Prior to his experiences as a film critic and journalist, Mark also worked with the Slamdance and Seattle International film festivals as a video producer, and also spent many a year in the trenches of independent film production, most often working as a script supervisor.

Mark Rabinowitz - Documentary Feature/Shorts

Mark Rabinowitz is the co-founder of Indiewire.com and has been a critic, journalist, producer, film festival staffer, and media consultant since 1995. He has written for CNN,com, Paste Magazine, Alternative Press and Variety, among many others and is currently Account Director for LA-based publicity & marketing firm PMG. He has attended over 175 film festivals, including Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, Edinburgh and of course, Oxford! As a producer, he has projects in development with producer Darren Dean (Tangerine, Kinyarwanda) and writers/producers Jon Cryer & Richard Schenkman. He really likes cheese and worships at the Shrine of Swine. Praise the Lard.

Mary Margaret Andrews/Courtney Hall -Mississippi Shorts

Mary Margaret Andrews has a 20-year career in book publishing.  She is a marketer with a passion for story telling albeit print or film. 

Courtney Hall is a long time volunteer with the Oxford Film Festival and works in the medical field.

 

Maggie Woodward - Narrative Shorts

Maggie Woodward is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Mississippi, where she also works as a Teaching Assistant in the English Department & as Senior Editor of the Yalobusha Review. She has crafted & presented her critical film scholarship at the Western Kentucky Film Festival & the National Pop Culture Association's Annual Conference. You can find her poetry atmaggiewoodward.wordpress.com

Jennifer Murchison - Narrative Shorts

Jennifer is a native to Oxford, currently living in Memphis where she is the Assistant Director for Disability Resources for Students at the University of Memphis. Jennifer describes herself as a walking encyclopedia of classic movie knowledge and looks at people weird when they say they've never seen THE PRINCESS BRIDE. Her DVR is an archaeological study of TCM programming. She often tells people that if they accidentally remove ANY of the Mickey Rooney "Andy Hardy" films from her DVR that, well, kudzu can hide a LOT.

Brian Whisenant, LGBTQ

Brian certainly has an eclectic and varied background when it comes to the world of film, dating back to memorizing every word of “The Empire Strikes Back” at the age of 8, accidently going into the wrong theatre at the twin cinemas and watching “Moonstruck” at the age of 11 and sneaking a VHS of “The Silence of the Lambs” out of the local rental store at 15. More recently, Brian has not only worked for film festivals (running box offices at both the Tribeca Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival) but also covered them for both Awards Daily (where he freelances as an Oscar blogger, focusing on Best Foreign Language Film and Best Documentary) and his own website, Awards Wiz. Brian also worked for NewFest, New York City’s LGBT film festival where he was a shorts programmer as well.In addition to working in this realm, Brian is an actor (starring in “Special Needs,” “Hungry Years,” and the Los Angeles based web series, “Office Problems” and aspiring film director. Thanks for Melanie for the opportunity to continue to do what he loves while back in his home state of Mississippi.

Valerie Guinn Polgar - Fest Forward (Animation/Experimental)

Valerie Guinn Polgar is a new media artist, educator, and founder of misbits: a new media art space. After spending some time working in post production, doing video editing and motion graphics in NYC, Valerie decided to turn her attention to making and teaching art.  She currently lives in Oxford, MS with her husband and two young daughters. Valerie uses animation, video, and physical computing to create interactive and immersive artwork.

 

 

Kim Voynar - Virtual Reality Curator

Kim Voynar was an internationally recognized film critic for a decade, covering the film festival circuit and independent cinema for Movie City News, Cinematical, IndieWIRE and Variety, before transitioning into producing films in 2010.  She co-hosts The Daily Buzz public radio show/podcast at Sundance and SXSW. After three years producing for a Seattle-based prodco, she's now producing independently and is currently attached to projects with The Residents, Will Calhoun of Living Colour, and other cool stuff.

Her hobbies include oppressing her teenagers, karaoke, post-apocalyptic survival training through glamping, trendsetting Seattle street style, and deep thinking on virtual reality and the mathematical perfection of logarithmic spirals and fractals.

 

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Newt Rayburn - Music Videos and Music Documentary

Newt Rayburn is the publisher of The Local Voice and a long-time musician with several bands including The Cooters and Hawgwash. He has had several music videos play at the Oxford Film Festival and is an ardent supporter of music and film.

 


OFF Board of Directors

Board President: Dr. Ralph Vance

Ralph Vance has served for over 40 years as an oncologist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and now helps with fundraising for the medical school endowment. 

Wayne Andrews

Wayne Andrews is the Executive Director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and manages the Powerhouse Community Arts Center full-time.

Meaghin Burke

Meaghin Burke is an intellectual property attorney, filmmaker, and duplicate bridge player.  A sixth-generation Mississippian, Meaghin enthusiastically serves her community in a variety of ways to help foster the arts in Mississippi.  She and her husband Greg Earnest frequently collaborate on projects; their most recent (and favorite) production is their son Bremen. 

Tim Burkhead

Timothy Burkhead is a Mississippi Delta native currently living in Oxford, Ms. He is a world touring musician and owner of the entertainment consulting company, timothy burkhead, llc, the concert production, company Empire Production Agency, and co-owner of Carbon Brothers Studio, a media production company.

Shannon Cohn

For over a decade, Mississippi-native Shannon Cohn has produced award-winning feature documentaries & TV series for Discovery Channel & NatGeo. Before that, she practiced international law & was part of the legal team that prosecuted Enron. She went to film school at NYU and has a law degree from Vanderbilt.

Hudson Hickman

New Albany native Hudson Hickman has 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry as a producer and production executive. The former Senior VP of Production for MGM Television has worked on numerous popular television shows including "The Love Boat," "MacGyver" and "Stargate." 

Jon Maynard

Jon Maynard is the President and CEO of the Economic Development Foundation and Chamber of Commerce in Oxford. 

Sparky Reardon

Sparky Reardon is the retired Dean of Students from the University of Mississippi and had a cameo role in Tate Taylor's "Get on Up."

Donna Ruth Roberts

Donna Ruth Roberts is retired as part owner of a residential construction company. She has been a volunteer and supporter of the film festival for the past 9 years and a patron of the arts for many more. 

Mary Allyn Hedges (non-voting)

Mary Allyn Hedges serves as the Film Commissioner for Oxford as part of her duties with Visit Oxford. 

Jack Garner

Jack Garner is a native of Grenada, MS, and a resident of Oxford.  He was educated at Ole Miss before a career in banking, retiring as CEO of Sunburst Bank - Central MS, now Regions Bank.  He later was a partner and President of The Ramey Agency (marketing and brand positioning) in Jackson.
Long a supporter of the arts, Garner was founding President of the Grenada Arts Council, Chairman of the MS Symphony Orchestra Association and Chairman of the MS Museum of Art.  He currently serves as a Trustee of the MS Dept. of Archives and History and the MS Humanities Council.

Harpinder Singh (Lucas)

Founder/President of Lucas Distribution & Consulting Inc. since September 2010 and was appointed as Director of Marketing & Sales for Indoor Advantage Advertising in May 2015.  Graduated from University of Mississippi in 1993 with a degree in Banking and Finance. I also hold a degree in Accounting from the London School of Accountancy in England. During my time in Oxford I made a name for myself by successfully managing local businesses and restaurants. Now with nearly 20+ years of business and entrepreneurship experience, I have returned to Memphis to support the community and it's surrounding areas as a business consultant. I am noted for my business acumen, financial honesty and dedication to my business partners and clients.

 


OFF ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Erik Jambor

Ron Shapiro

Don Lewis