Academy Announces Oxford Film Fest as grant recipient


LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy Foundation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today recipients of its 2018 FilmCraft and FilmWatch grants. The Oxford Film Festival received a $5,000 FilmWatch grant to support expanding the features and shorts focusing on LGBTQ issues during the February 6-9, 2019 festival.

“This year the Grants are proud to support 51 organizations whose innovative programs reach broad audiences, underserved high school and college students, support mid-career and emerging filmmakers, and engage and enrich their local communities. The Grants also reached out to support several film archives devastated by recent climate events. It is the Grants’ privilege and responsibility to fund organizations, rising and established, that reflect both The Academy’s values and its leadership role in the arts,” said Buffy Shutt, chair of the Academy’s grants committee.

The 16th annual Oxford Film Festival will expand its LGBTQ features to five from three and provide more shorts than in previous years. The festival has always shown quality LGBTQ content but in response to HB 1523, a bill passed in Mississippi, the Religious Liberties Accommodation Act, created a new LGBTQ section to create a system of support for LGBTQ filmmakers. Submissions open on May 1. 

The Academy’s FilmCraft and FilmWatch grants were established to identify and empower future filmmakers from nontraditional backgrounds, cultivate new and diverse talent, promote motion pictures as an art form, and provide a platform for underrepresented artists. Grants range from $5,000-$15,000, and a total of $500,000 was awarded for the 2018-2019 grants year.

Oxford Film Fest Wants to Give you Money to make a Movie!

Oxford Film Fest Grant.png

The Oxford Film Festival, through a generous grant from North Mississippi Hills Heritage Area Alliance, wants to pay a filmmaker $2,500 and use of OxFilm Society equipment to get the movie finished! 

Story ideas will be accepted through April 30. The documentary must be about literature and its impact on the Hills area. Whether a look at a particular subject, writer, genre or about current or past literature, the film must only be a look at "literary" concepts. The best idea will be selected by May 15 and the filmmaker will have until December 15 to complete the project.

Documentaries are preferred and no limit on time but shorts are recommended. 

The national heritage area covers all of MarshallBentonTippahAlcornTishomingoLafayetteUnionPontotocLeeItawambaCalhounChickasaw and Monroe counties, and those portions of DesotoTatePanolaYalobushaGrenada and Montgomery counties to the east of Interstate 55 and north of Mississippi Highway 14.

Submit here:

Best of Oxford Film Fest Tours State

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The 15th annual Oxford Film Festival finished up in February and will now travel the state from Water Valley to Oxford to Ocean Springs to Vicksburg to Meridian and Jackson with some of the highlighted films and Hoka award winners. This year’s festival featured over 200 films and the Best of Tour has two different film blocks being shown across the state.

“After another successful festival with many great films, we are happy to announce that the show isn’t over yet,” Executive Director Melanie Addington said. “If you were unable to attend the festival this year, then don’t miss out on these key dates in March that are set to feature some of the winning and unique Mississippi films. We are so excited to be working with our venue partners throughout the state, especially the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center for our fourth year in a row and the second year with The Strand Theatre in Vicksburg and adding on the Mississippi Museum of Art and Amelia and Temple Theatre this year.”

Depending on the venue, two different film blocks will be screened. Ocean Springs and Jackson will play both film blocks for a mini-film festival. A panel discussion with the filmmakers will follow the first block screening in Jackson.

The Best of Tour will travel from Water Valley at Amelia on March 10 to Oxford at the Powerhouse on March 15 then down to Ocean Springs at the Mary C on March 16, Strand Theater in Vicksburg on March 18 and over to the Temple Theater in Meridian on March 19. A short break will be held before the closing event at Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson on March 31 where a panel discussion will be held with both sets of film blocks screening.

Block one (plays in Ocean Springs, Vicksbur,g, Jackson) consists of:


Hoka winner Manna by King Woman and directed by Vincent Jude Chaney. Led by the hypnotic and breathy vocal dramatics of Kristina Esfandiari, the Hoka winning music video unveils the profoundly crafted opus of brooding, ethereal doom-rock.


Hoka Winner for Fest Forward, Mark C. Smith’s, Two Balloons, animates two travelers return to a place crossed by stars and clouds where love is at the beginning of everything.

 Two Balloons, Hoka Winner for Fest Forward

Two Balloons, Hoka Winner for Fest Forward

Mississippi Madam.jpg

Highlighted Mississippi feature, Mississippi Madam, is Timothy Givens and Mark K. Brockway’s feature film, which chronicles the life of Nellie Jackson, an African-American woman born into poverty in Possum Corner, Miss., who travels north to Natchez in 1902 and opens a brothel she ran for more than 60 years with full knowledge of police and Natchez officials until a fiery end one hot July night in 1990.

Block one films screen on Friday, March 16 at Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center (1600 Government St. | Ocean Springs) at 6 pm and Sunday, March 18 at The Strand Theatre (717 Clay St. | Vicksburg) at 5 pm. This block also plays at the Mississippi Museum of Art (380 South Lamar Street, Jackson at 945 am with a panel discussion following with the filmmakers.


Block two (plays in Water Valley, Oxford, Ocean Springs, Meridian and Jackson) consists of:          

 Cowgirl Up

Cowgirl Up

Directed by Nathan Willis, Cowgirl Up, tells the story of a cowgirl from Mississippi who pursues her lifelong dream to be the first African-American woman in the National Finals Rodeo.

Peter Byck’s, One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts, shares the story of a pioneering farmer in rural Georgia of his journey from industrialized beef production to sustainable, humane agricultural and environmental stewardship.

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Directed by Rex Jones, Flag Flap Over Mississippi is a filmic conversation between all sides of the state flag that hopes to generate more civil discussion in the public atmosphere



Truth Rises.jpg

Truth Rises, directed by Kelly Buckholdt, is a short film about a brother and sister who talk about getting in trouble after mistakes are made in the family business. The film won the Pat Rasberry Emerging Filmmaker Award.

Jeff Dennis’, The Process: The Way of Pablo Sierra, is a film about a potter who lives in Yocona, MS. Born in Spain, he came to Ole Miss on a track scholarship. He became a world-class runner, and is now a potter, baker, and horseman. For Pablo, the process is everything.

 The Process with Pablo Sierra

The Process with Pablo Sierra

Block Two screens on Saturday, March 10 at Amelia at 7 pm (112 Main St. | Water Valley), Thursday, March 15 at The Powerhouse at 7 pm (413 S 14th St. | Oxford), Friday, March 16 at Mary C. (1600 Government St. | Ocean Springs) at 8 pm; and Monday, March 19, at the Temple Theatre (2320 8th St. | Meridian) at 7 pm. This block also plays at the Mississippi Museum of Art (380 South Lamar Street, Jackson) on March 31 at 1 p.m..


Block 1 (screens on Friday, March 16 at Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center (1600 Government St. | Ocean Springs) and Sunday, March 18 at The Strand Theatre (717 Clay St. | Vicksburg). This block also plays at the Mississippi Museum of Art (380 South Lamar Street, Jackson) on March 31 at 945 am with a panel of the filmmakers following.)


“Manna” by King Woman – Hoka Winner

Director: Vincent Jude Chaney

Country: USA, Running Time: 6:12 min




Director: Mark C. Smith

Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min



Director: Timothy Givens and Mark K. Brockway

County: USA, Running Time: 81 min


Block 2: (screens on Saturday, March 10 at Amelia (112 Main St. | Water Valley), Thursday, March 15 at The Powerhouse (413 S 14th St. | Oxford), Friday, March 16 at Mary C. (1600 Government St. | Ocean Springs); and Monday, March 19, at the Temple Theatre (2320 8th St. | Meridian). This block also plays at the Mississippi Museum of Art (380 South Lamar Street, Jackson) on March 31.



COWGIRL UP – Hoka Winner

Director: Nathan Willis

Country: USA, Running Time: 5:17 min



Director: Peter Byck

Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min


TRUTH RISES  - Hoka Winner

Director: E. J. Carter

Country: USA, Running Time: 2:40 min



Director: Rex Jones

Country: USA, Running Time: 27 min



Director: Jeff Dennis

Country: USA, Running Time: 66 min 

Prices range at the venues from free to suggested donation to $15 including appetizers. Be sure to check out the website, for more information on each.

And the Hokas go to.....OFF #15 Wraps up

 The 2018 winners of the Hokas

The 2018 winners of the Hokas

 Oxford, MS (February 12, 2018) – The 2018 Oxford Film Festival celebrated the best of the fest with an entertaining awards ceremony emceed by Crooked Marquee’s Eric D. Snider, often comically channeling Oxford literary legend William Faulkner, at the Powerhouse (413 S. 14th Street) on Saturday, February 10, highlighted by the announcement of Hoka awards for Arturo Perez Torres and Aviva Armour-Ostroff’s THE DRAWER BOY for Best Narrative Feature, Nick Taylor’s THE ORGANIZER for Best Documentary Feature, Itako’s BOYS FOR SALE for Best LGBTQ Feature, and the presentation of the Lisa Blount Memorial Acting Award to Catherine Eaton for her performance in THE SOUNDING.

Jeff Dennis’s THE PROCESS: THE WAY OF PABLO SIERRA won the Hoka Award for Best Mississippi Feature Film, and Sacha Jenkins’s WORD IS BOND took the top prize for Best Music Documentary.

Receiving “Special Recognition” in the Narrative Feature Film Category were Catherine Eaton for her film THE SOUNDING with Astin Rocks receiving the same in the Mississippi Films Category for her film LOVE SOLILOQUY: A VISUAL ALBUM. Also cited in the documentary film category was a Special Jury Mention for “Creative Storytelling” to Aaron and Amanda Kopp for their documentary, LIYANA.

Winner of the Mississippi feature will receive a year of free equipment rental from OxFilm Society. The winner of the Narrative Feature category will receive a $10,000 camera rental package from Panavision and an InkTip Script Listing.

Winner of the Documentary Feature category will win $10,000 of equipment rental for their next feature from Panavision as well as $2,500 in editorial consultation from editor Joe Shapiro. All winners will receive a free subscription to MovieMaker Magazine.

A special Editing Award was presented to director Mark Potts for the film, COP CHRONICLES: LOOSE CANNONS: LEGEND OF THE HAJ-MIRAGE. The Pat Rasberry Emerging Mississippi Filmmaker Award was given to Kelly Buckholdt (TRUTH RISES). The Alice Guy-Blaché Emerging Female Filmmaker Award (and check for $1000 from the Louis M. Rabinowitz Foundation) went to Amanda Kopp, who co-directed the documentary LIYANA with her husband Aaron Kopp.

Oxford Film Festival Executive Director Melanie Addington said, “Our 15th Anniversary edition of the Oxford Film Festival highlighted all of the things this film festival has become known for: entertaining and sometimes provocative films, a flood of filmmakers either returning to Oxford or experiencing it for the first time, and an ever growing enthusiastic audience enjoying it all. This year’s award-winners truly exemplified the art and spirit of the program overall this year.”

In the Short Film category, Best Narrative Short went to Clark Duke’s HOME, with a Special Jury Prize for “Creative Vision” going to Alejandro Damiani’s M.A.M.O.N. (MONITOR AGAINST MEXICANS OVER NATIONWIDE), and an “Honorable Mention” going to Jessee Kreitzer’s BLACK CANARIES. The winner of the Hoka for Best Documentary Short was Peter Byck’s ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND BEATING HEARTS. A Special Jury Prize for “Personal Vision” went to Daniel Robin’s ALL THE LEAVES ARE BROWN, with an “Honorable Mention” given to Dana Nachman‘s WASHED AWAY.

Winner of the Narrative Short category will receive an InkTip script listing and 3 days of audio post-production from Taproot Audio Design in Oxford. Winners of the Documentary Short category will also receive 3 days of audio post-production from Taproot Audio Design in Oxford. 

Nathan Willis’s COWGIRL UP was named Best Mississippi Short Film, with E.J. Carter’s TRUTH RISES receiving a Special Jury Prize for “Filmmaker to Watch,” and David Ross’s HAND MADE getting a “Honorable Mention” Vincent Jude Chaney’s music video for “Manna” by King Woman took the Hoka in that category with Michael Williams’s music video for “Royal” by Lost in Constellation receiving an Honorable Mention. Mark C. Smith’s TWO BALLOONS won the Fest Forward animation category, and Quentin Haberham’s HOMEGROWN received an “Honorable Mention.” The Best LGBTQ Short winner was Joseph Sulsenti’s FISHY.

The Mississippi winner will receive an OxFilm society membership for free equipment rentals for one year. The Mississippi Music Video musician also will win $1,000 worth of recording time from the studio of Oxford-based RNN Studios (Nathan Robbins).

John Matthew Tyson picked by his previously announced Hoka Award as the winner for the Oxford Film Festival’s first Screenplay Competition for his script, “Twirling at Ole Miss.” He has received mentorship from producer John Norris, a trip to Oxford to attend the film festival, with a live table read held last Wednesday and a $1000 check.

Liam Hendrix’s NATION DOWN was the winner of the inaugural Artist Vodka Award. He received a trip to Oxford, along with the presentation of a Hoka Award and a $5,000 check courtesy of Artist Vodka.

Nearly 7000 film fans braved both rain, cold, and even a broken water main in he City of Oxford to see the record number of films (204) presented at this year’s film festival, wit another 3000 people tuning to live stream broadcasts of the filmmaker panels and awards ceremony. Among the highlights were panels coinciding with films focusing on female filmmakers (which followed a screening of Cady McClain’s the documentary SEEING IS BELIEVING: WOMEN DIRECT), and an issue plaguing women nationally – the woeful lag time in processing rape kits across the country, as reported by Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir’s award-winning HBO documentary, I AM EVIDENCE.

“It’s a special film that can move the needle on important issues,” said OFF documentary programmer Mark Rabinowitz, “and Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir’s I Am Evidence does just that regarding the epidemic of violence against women. At the post-screening panel, Mississippi state representative Jay Hughes announced that after viewing the film, he would introduce a bill to address Mississippi’s lack of a law mandating the collection and processing of rape kits, while Oxford Police Department chief of operations Major Jeff McCutchen offered his opinion that all police officers in the state should be requited to watch the film as part of their training and that the OPD would work to 'train the hearts' of their officers.”




Directors: Arturo Perez Torres and Aviva Armour-Ostroff’


THE SOUNDING – Special Recognition/Narrative

Director: Catherine Eaton



Director: Nick Taylor


LIYANA - Special Jury Mention for “Creative Storytelling”/Documentary

Directors: Aaron and Amanda Kopp



Director: Jeff Dennis


LOVE SOLILOQUY: A VISUAL ALBUM – Special Recognition/Mississippi Films

Director: Astin Rocks



Director: Sacha Jenkins



Director: Itako



Director: Joseph Sulsenti



Director: Clark Duke


M.A.M.O.N. (MONITOR AGAINST MEXICANS OVER NATIONWIDE – Special Jury Prize for “Creative Vision”

Director: Alejandro Damiani


BLACK CANARIES – Honorable Mention

Director: Jessee Kreitzer



Director: Peter Byck


ALL THE LEAVES ARE BROWN – Special Jury Prize for “Personal Vision”

Director: Daniel Robin


WASHED AWAY – Honorable Mention

Director: Dana Nachman



Director: Nathan Willis


TRUTH RISES – Special Jury Prize for “Filmmaker to Watch”

Director: E.J. Carter (Kelly Buckholdt)


HAND MADE – Honorable Mention

Director: David Ross



Director: Vincent Jude Chaney


“Royal” by Lost in Constellation – Honorable Mention

Director: Michael Williams


Director: Mark C. Smith


HOMEGROWN – Honorable Mention

Director: Quentin Haberham


Catherine Eaton (THE SOUNDING) - Lisa Blount Memorial Acting Award


Amanda Kopp (LIYANA) - Alice Guy-Blaché Emerging Female Filmmaker Award


Kelly Buckholdt (TRUTH RISES) - Pat Rasberry Emerging Mississippi Filmmaker Award



Director: Mark Potts


“Twirling at Ole Miss” – BEST SCREENPLAY

Screenwriter: John Matthew Tyson  



Director: Liam Hendrix



The 2018 OFF Adds two more films and details on panels!

 Mohawk by Ted Geoghegan will be on Sunday as a special screening.

Mohawk by Ted Geoghegan will be on Sunday as a special screening.

The 2018 Oxford Film Festival (February 7-11) has announced the the addition of two films to its schedule full schedule, with Ted Geoghegan’s MOHAWK and Jake Mahaffy’s MIDWINTER joining the lineup, as well as the full lineup and details and participants of this year’s filmmaker panels for the festival which will begin next week.

OFF also announced that the City of Oxford will issue an official proclamation naming February 5-11 “Oxford Film Festival Week” in celebration of the film festival’s 15th Anniversary.of films for this year’s 15th Anniversary edition.

On opening night, writer/director Adam Rifkin will present his latest effort, THE LAST MOVIE STAR, starring Burt Reynolds and Ariel Winter, while Carlos and Jason Sanchez’s intense drama, ALLURE, starring Evan Rachel Wood, will screen at the festival’s Centerpiece Selection and Robert Mullan’s 60s biopic MAD TO BE NORMAL, starring David Tennant Elisabeth Moss and Michael Gambon, serves as the closing night selection.

Geoghegan’s MOHAWK is the latest film from the critically-acclaimed genre filmmaker (WE’RE STILL HERE). The film is set during the War of 1812, where a young Mohawk woman and her two lovers battle a squad of American soldiers hell-bent on revenge. The film stars Kaniehtiio Horn, Ezra Buzzington, and Noah Segan, and past OFF Hoka honoree Robert Longstreet, and has made a mark at a number of genre film festivals, like Fantasia. Geoghegan is set to attend and participate in a Q&A following the screening.


Mahaffy’s MIDWINTER focuses on a pregnant woman, who returns to her family's empty cabin to spend time alone, only to find her estranged mother already there waiting for her. What begins as a tentative reunion on the shortest day of the year quickly turns dark. Memphis-based producer Adam Hohenberg will be in attendance and will take part in a Q&A after the film.

 Midwinter produced by Memphis local Adam Hohenberg will play on Sunday with Mohawk.

Midwinter produced by Memphis local Adam Hohenberg will play on Sunday with Mohawk.


A total of 204 films (35 features, 169 shorts and music videos), including 29 world premieres and 6 U.S. premieres, were selected for OFF’s 15th Anniversary edition, marking an increase of more than 30 films from last year’s lineup. In addition, more than 60 female filmmakers directed or co-directed this year’s films, aided in part by the festival’s decision to offer a 50% discount for submissions by female filmmakers and the continuing Alice Guy Blaché Award for Emerging Female Filmmaker.

Panels will be held at various locations: the Malco Panel Tent (MPT), the Gertrude Ford Center for the Performing Arts, and the Powerhouse Community Arts Center. All are made free as part of the OxFilm Society unless tied to a screening and then is included in price of movie ticket.

The subjects include:


 Julie Keck of Seed&Spark

Julie Keck of Seed&Spark

Crowdfunding and People Power Workshop

(Sunday, February 11, 1:00PM-3:00PM, @ MPT)

We all know crowdfunding is a powerful tool for harnessing your audience and raising the funds needed to make your film... but how do you find and engage that crowd? Seed & Spark's Head of Education and Outreach Julie Keck will talk about authentic audience building, using social media to engage and activate your crowd, and effective communication techniques to use before, during and after a crowdfunding campaign in order to sustain long-term relationships with your awesome audience.





 Director Trish Adlesic of I Am Evidence

Director Trish Adlesic of I Am Evidence

Film Discussion: I AM EVIDENCE

(Saturday, February 10, 11:30AM-12:30PM, @ MPT)

Following the screening of the hard-hitting HBO documentary about the nation’s incredible number of unprocessed rape kits, I AM EVIDENCE, Oxford Film Festival’s Head Programmer for Documentary Feaures, Mark Rabinowitz will moderate a panel which will include the film’s director, Trish Adlesic, Cuyahoga County Special Investigator Nicole DiSanto, and a representative from the Oxford Police Department, and additional special guests.

Moderator: Mark Rabinowitz

Mark Rabinowitz is the co-founder of and has been a critic, journalist, producer, film festival staffer, and media consultant since 1995. He is the Oxford Film Festival’s head programmer for Documentary Features and Shorts.


Trish Adlesic is an Oscar and Emmy-nominated documentary producer for her work on Gasland and Gasland Part II. She teamed with director Josh Fox and HBO to produce these seminal documentaries exposing the environmental devastation and public safety hazards of “fracking." Gasland premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010 and Gasland Part II premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013 to much acclaim. Trish has over 20 years of experience working in narrative filmmaking with such notable directors as Jim Sheridan (In America, Get Rich or Die Tryin’), Sidney Lumet (Night Falls on Manhattan), Gus Van Sant (Finding Forrester), James L. Brooks (As Good as It Gets) and Michael Mann (The Insider). Trish also worked in episodic television for 15 years as the Location Manager for NBC’s Law & Order: SVU series and has been a contributing member of the Director's Guild of America for 19 years.


 Nicole DiSanto

Nicole DiSanto

Special Investigator Nicole DiSanto has been employed by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, in Cleveland, Ohio, for over nine years and a member of the CODIS Cold Case Unit for the last four. She is part of a Multi-Agency Task Force assigned to reinvestigate cold case rapes after more than 6,000 sexual assault kits were located and submitted for testing as part of a backlog initiative. As one of the original CODIS Task Force members, Nicole has closed nearly 200 hundred cases. Several of which have resulted in lengthy prison sentences for numerous serial rapists.


A representative from Oxford Police Department will also be on hand.




How to Get Your Film Publicized

(Friday, February 9, 5:30PM-7:00PM, @ MPT)

Nationally known film and film festival publicists and film critics reveal the secrets of how to get their attention while on the film festival circuit. The informative panel will include the Commercial Appeal’s John Beifuss,’s Kristy Puchko, Wildworks PR and’s John Wildman,’s Brian Tallerico, and Paste Magazine’s Mark Rabinowitz and Crookedmarquee's Eric Snider. 

Eric D. Snider is a writer and film critic in Portland, Ore., though he originally hails from the South (Southern California). He is the managing editor of, co-host of the podcast Movie B.S. with Bayer and Snider (he plays Snider), and an occasional contributor to Vanity Fair, Complex, Thrillist, and various church newsletters. He is honored to be participating in the Oxford Film Festival for the 10th time and getting a free one on his punchcard. Visit him online at

John Beifuss has been a reporter in Memphis since 1981, and the film critic for the daily newspaper, The Commercial Appeal, since 1996. His work has appeared in such publications as The New York Times, TV Guide, USA Today, American Film and – most important – Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. He has contributed entries on film to The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, and has served as a film festival juror from sea (Oregon) to shining sea (North Carolina). He is the author the children’s book, “Armadillo Ray” (Chronicle Books).

Kristy Puchko is a New York-based film critic and entertainment journalist whose work has appears on Vanity Fair, Pajiba, Nerdist, IndieWire, and Riot Material. She is also teaches Film Criticism at the NYC's Fashion Institute of Technology. You can keep up with her on Twitter: @KristyPuchko

John Wildman is a filmmaker, film publicist, 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 also runs and was formerly a contributor to, Film Threat and several prior publications including Movie City News and Moving Pictures

Brian Tallerico has covered television, film, video games, Blu-ray/DVD, interviews, and entertainment news for almost two decades online, on radio, and in print. Tallerico is the Editor of In addition, he is the Editor of Magill's Cinema Annual, a regular guest on radio stations throughout the Midwest, a TV writer for, a contributor at Rolling Stone, and freelancer for multiple outlets. He also serves as Vice President of the Chicago Film Critics Association and co-produces the Chicago Critics Film Festival every May. Everything is possible because of his wife Lauren and three boys: Lucas, Miles, and Noah. You can follow him on Twitter @Brian_Tallerico. co-founder Mark Rabinowitz has been a programmer, journalist and producer for over 20 years and has also been a publicist since 2013. He has attended more than 175 film festivals around the world and written extensively on film and TV for, E! Online, Paste Magazine, Screen International, Variety and many others. His past and present PR clients include Knitting Factory Entertainment, Marriott Content Studios, Amy Berg’s An Open Secret, Delia Vallot’s Mighty Ground, Bob Zmuda, writer Virgil Williams (Mudbound), producer Mark Sayre, Apothic Wines and Treehouse Masters host Pete Nelson.  He currently serves on the Louisville Film Commission. He also produced Jimmy Kimmel’s first ever appearance on screen in 1994.



Lobaki Virtual Academy

(Friday, February 9, 11:00AM-5:00PM, @ MPT)

The VR Academy has been designed to provide students an immersive introduction to Virtual Reality and the tools and techniques used to create VR experiences. The exciting aspect of creating VR experiences is that not everyone has to have a computer science interest or be a coder. Festival participants will learn about the immersive effects of VR and learn more about the work that Lobaki Inc. is doing in Clarksdale, Mississippi to focus on economic development through Virtual Reality opportunities.



Queer Filmmaking

(Sunday, February 11, 3:30PM-4:30PM, @ MPT)

Attending filmmakers and actors from the LGBTQ juried competition will discuss the challenges, advantages of queer filmmaking as well as the state of LGBTQ cinema in today's climate. Moderated by Eric D. Snider, the panel will include:

 Lucas Omar of The Cleanse.

Lucas Omar of The Cleanse.

2017 Lexus Short Films Competition finalist Lucas Omar, and Emmy Award winning commercial and film director Jill Salvino (BETWEEN THE SHADES).

Lucas Omar is a gay writer/director whose work aims to redefine queer representation by breaking societal norms on gender and sexuality. His style is indulgent, aggressive, and electric. Lucas is a recent MFA graduate of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts and currently lives in New York. His films have screened globally and won numerous awards. Most notably, he was a finalist in the 2017 Lexus Short Films Competition. my short "The Cleanse" playing in the LGBTQ Shorts Block on Friday at 64

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 8.09.53 PM.png

Jill Salvino is an Emmy award winning commercial and film director. Jill has directed three short films. Taking it for Granted screened in over a dozen film festivals including a special screening at NYC’s “Downtown Film Festival” after taking home Best Drama. The Sonnet Project, presented by the New York Shakespeare Exchange toured the United Kingdom. Lies People Tell premiered in the San Pedro International Film Festival and was chosen by New York Women in Film and Television as one of their “Top Short Films of the Year.” Between the Shades is her feature length documentary debut and takes a look at the LGBT community and what connects us all.


The Role of Audio in Visual Storytelling

(Saturday, February 10, 1:15PM-3:15PM, @ MPT)

Bad sound can ruin a great film or make a great film a next-level experience. As filmmakers become more independent, quality audio becomes more important than ever. Re-Recording Mixers Jeffrey Reed (YA ALIBI, SHAKE ‘EM ON DOWN), Eric R. Fischer (“Pearl Jam Twenty”) and Kevin Houston (BLACK SNAKE MOAN) will offer insight into the process of the often-overlooked role of audio in visual storytelling. Eric D Snider will moderate the discussion.

 Eric Fischer

Eric Fischer

Eric R. Fischer

Eric R. Fischer is a film and TV Re-Recording Mixer based in Los Angeles, and is a 25 year veteran of the Los Angeles audio community. He has mixed a wide range of projects, including the Pearl Jam bio "Pearl Jam Twenty”, a music series for AXS TV, indie features, and concert films. Recent projects include:


The Glamour And The Squalor (Seattle DJ Marco Collins), The Cadillac Tramps: Life On The Edge, Living On Soul (concert film/doc about Daptone Records and the late Sharon Jones), and Foreman - a documentary about George Foreman."


 Kevin Houston

Kevin Houston

Kevin Houston

Kevin Houston is a Grammy-nominated audio professional working in music and film for over 20 years. His selected film credits include Craig Brewer's Black Snake Moan, The Poor and Hungry, and $5 Cover, independent films such as NSecure, Butterfly Rising, and See The Keepers, television work for companies such as PBS, ABC & MTV, and episodic projects such as Feral and You Look Like, among many others.



 Jeff Reed

Jeff Reed

Jeffrey Reed

Jeffrey Reed is a multi-faceted audio engineer and 25 year sound veteran, who specializes in 5.1 audio post-production/sound design for film, and mastering for music releases. He is based in Oxford, Mississippi and operates from his studio, Taproot Audio Design. Some of his most recent works include the award-winning PBS music documentary Shake 'Em On Down, and the Oscar-sanctioned short film, Ya Albi (My Heart), and numerous indie shorts and features, including the "Mississippi Western" feature film, Blood Country. Reed is also known for his work as the broadcast and post-production engineer for Oxford's own Thacker Mountain Radio Hour.




(Friday, February 9, 10:30AM-12:30PM, Malco Screen 1)

An in-depth panel discussion with an impressive group of award-winning filmmakers following the film’s screening. Participants include: SEEING IS BELIEVING: WOMEN DIRECT director, and two-time Emmy winner (“All My Children”) Cady McClain, documentary director (THE LONG SHADOW, HEIST: WHO STOLE THE AMERICAN DREAM?) Frances Causey, documentary director (FOREVER ’B’, JUNK DREAMS) Skye Borgman, Experimental film director (LOVE SOLILOQUY: A VISUAL ALBUM, LETTERS FROM A TRANSIENT) Astin Rocks, Emmy Award winner Jill Salvino (BETWEEN THE SHADES, TAKING IT FOR GRANTED), Diane Cignoni (Ground Hero Film), and last year’s Lisa Blount Acting Award honoree, Victoria Negri (PARALYSIS, GOLD STAR) An in-depth panel discussion with female directors following the film’s screening (55 min.).

Cady McClain is a two-time Emmy award winning actor, filmmaker, musician and author whose professional career spans 30 years. Her credits include studio and independent films, network and cable television, new media, OFF-Broadway theater and even performance art. She is also the director of Seeing is Believing: Women Direct.

Frances Causey is a documentary filmmaker who began her career with CNN.  Frances has directed several feature length documentaries including her 2012 documentary, HEIST:WHO STOLE THE AMERICAN DREAM?” which was a 2012 New York Times Critic’s Pick. Frances' latest documentary, THE LONG SHADOW, chronicles how the failure to end slavery at the United States' founding defined the nation and created tragic legal and political consequences for African-Americans throughout our history and in the present.

Skye Borgman is an award winning filmmaker who creates both narrative and documentary films.  Forever 'B" is Skye's first foray into true crime documentaries, and she is hooked.  She received several “Best Documentary” awards for her first documentary feature, "Junk Dreams"  (2007) Skye was cinematographer on “Quiet Riot: Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back," (Showtime) as well as  “Nothing Like Chocolate”, “Intervention” “Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary”, “The People of the Galapagos"  and "Science for Monks."  When she is not filming, Skye teaches cinematography at the University of Southern California.

Astin Rocks. doubles as an award-winning Independent Filmmaker and lead singer for Jackson-based duo, Clouds & Crayons.  Her critically acclaimed directorial debut, Letters from a Transient, premiered in 2015, receiving critical acclaim and accolades from media outlets including ForHarriet: Shine. She has won over five awards for producing experimental drama,Vocabulary of the Mysteries, including Best Experimental at Crossroads Film Festival, and Audience Favorite at both Brooklyn and BlackStar Film Festivals.   “Love Soliloquy: A Visual Album” uses avant-garde storytelling to reveal the psyche behind young women navigating their relationships, and it's is her proudest work yet.

Jill Salvino is an Emmy award winning commercial and film director. Jill has directed three short films. Taking it for Granted screened in over a dozen film festivals including a special screening at NYC’s “Downtown Film Festival” after taking home Best Drama. The Sonnet Project, presented by the New York Shakespeare Exchange toured the United Kingdom. Lies People Tell premiered in the San Pedro International Film Festival and was chosen by New York Women in Film and Television as one of their “Top Short Films of the Year.” Between the Shades is her feature length documentary debut and takes a look at the LGBT community and what connects us all.

Diana Cignoni modeled in Europe and the USA for many years before she started directing. Diana has a unique educational background, having been taught by mentor Charlie Laughton (friend & mentor to Al Pacino) Penelope Allen, Mark Rydell and Martin Landau at The Actor's Studio. Elisabeth Dillon @ The HB Studio NYC, Geraldine Baron & Lance Lane. Diana also won multiple awards as a KOAN member of the Odyssey Theatre Los Angeles under the direction of Ron Sossi. Born and raised in Germany Diana now resides and works in Los Angeles. She is the founder of Ground Hero Film.

Victoria Negri is an award-winningwriter/director/producer/actress. Her feature directorial debut, Gold Star, which she wrote, directed, produced, and starred in, features Oscar nominated actor Robert Vaughn in his last on-screen performance. The film has gone on to win five awards on the festival circuit, including two Audience Awards, Best Feature Film Award, theLisa Blount Memorial Award for Acting at the Oxford Film Festival, and Best Supporting Actress for Catherine Curtin at the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival. Gold Star was selected by incubator Big Vision Empty Wallet as an Inaugural Kickstart Diversity Film. Additionally,Victoria has directed and produced numerous short films, music videos and webseries featured at the Lower East Side Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival, Cucalorus, Nitehawk Shorts Festival and more. She’s acted in award-winning features, shorts and webseriesfeatured at: Cinequest Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand, Tribeca and more. Always a cinephile, Victoria is looking forward to serving as Guest Director of the 2018 Art of Brooklyn Film Festival. Additionally, Victoria has written pieces on filmmaking for NoFilmSchool, BtchFlicks, Women and Hollywood, and The Talkhouse. She is a proud member of The Film Fatales, NYWIFT and The FilmShop.


Table Read of the Oxford Film Festival ScreenPlay Contest Winners (Wednesday, February 7, 7:00PM, Powerhouse)

Presented with actors from Theater Oxford, John M. Tyson’s Grand Prize winning script, “Twirling at Ole Miss” will be read by: George Kehoe, Matt King, Josh Heylin, Jacob Hall, Faith Janicki, Monte Boga, Geoff Knight, Brian Whisenant, Elise Fyke, and Matt Gieseke.

John Bateman’s Runner Up script, “Not Everything Was Burning” will be read by: Brian Whisenant, Mary Knight, Geoff Knight, George Kehoe, and Matt King.

Twirling at Ole Miss:

Following the publication of The Magic Christian in 1962, Terry Southern was commissioned by Esquire Magazine to travel to the University of Mississippi and write an article about the Dixie National Baton Twirling Institute. Terry Southern arrived in Oxford, Mississippi the day after William Faulkner’s funeral, discovering a town steeped in the segregated values of the “Old South.” African-American sharecroppers driving mule pulled carts through town contrasted sharply with the opulence of the National Baton Twirling Institute. With his keen journalistic eye, Southern observed the complacent bigotry of a society on the verge of a civil rights explosion. Southern’s cool deliberate prose poignantly foreshadowed the desegregation riots that occurred only a few months later on the campus of Ole Miss. Twirling at Ole Miss has been cited by Tom Wolfe as one of the defining works of the New Journalism and as such it was included in Wolfe and A.W. Johnson’s anthology The New Journalism.

As winner of the ScreenPlay contest, John M. Tyson received a trip to the festival, the table read and a cash prize of $1000 in addition to a mentorship from screenwriter/producer John Norris (profiled below with Saturday’s 4:00 panel).

Theatre Oxford is a community theatre dedicated to bringing dramatic art to the Oxford/Lafayette/University community through readings, demonstrations, workshops and productions.


 Tav Falco

Tav Falco

Thacker Mountain Radio Hour

Location: Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, Thursday 6 pm

The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour is a weekly live radio show featuring author readings and a wide array of musical performances from the Courthouse Square in Oxford, Mississippi. The free show is taped and broadcast every Thursday at 6:00 p.m. during the fall and spring and rebroadcast every Saturday at 7 pm on Mississippi Public Broadcastin


 Dan Mirvish of Bernard & Huey

Dan Mirvish of Bernard & Huey

Tav Falco

Tav Falco is one of the truly original and romantic forces in American music - the voice that America lost and found. He is tender and virile, flamboyant, witty and dangerous. Falco brings daggers back to the stage.  HE is the one who always holds out a hand to the enemy.



Dan Mirvish

Mentored by Robert Altman on his first film, OMAHA (THE MOVIE), Dan Mirvish's film OPEN HOUSE led the Oscars to rewrite their rules for Best Original Musical. He co-wrote the political novel I AM MARTIN EISENSTADT and he recently wrote the non-fiction book THE CHEERFUL SUBVERSIVE’S GUIDE TO INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING. Dan's newest film BERNARD AND HUEY, which was written by Oscar/Pulitzer winner Jules Feiffer, is screening at the Oxford Film Festival

 John Norris, movie producer and mentor to screenplay winner at the 2018 festival.

John Norris, movie producer and mentor to screenplay winner at the 2018 festival.

Visual Effects Conversation with John Norris/Andre Leblanc

(Saturday, February 10, 4:00PM, @ MPT)

Eric D. Snider will moderate a deep dive discussion on visual effects in film today with celebrated Mississippi-based film producer John Norris (THE HELP, GET ON UP: THE JAMES BROWN STORY), and VFX Artist Andre LeBlanc (Blur).

John Norris is a film producer who splits his time among New York, Los Angeles and Church Hill, Mississippi, where he has had a residence since 2009. He has produced films such as the Academy Award nominated The Help, Get On Up: The James Brown Story, and the upcoming American Pain, based on John Temple’s book about the American OxyContin epidemic, which Tate Taylor will direct. He is also producing The Battle of Versailles at Fox, MGM’s In the Heat of the Night, and an adaptation of Coffee Will Make You Black, April Sinclair’s seminal novel about an African-American girl growing up in 1960’s Chicago, adapted and to be directed by Deborah Riley Draper. During his career as a film producer, he also served as a visual effects producer on films like Planet of the Apes, 300, The Amazing Spiderman, Clash of the Titans, The Incredible Hulk, I Am Legend, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Additionally, he founded the management company Artists & Directors Cooperative and managed such auteur writer/director clients as Ti West, Tate Taylor and Robert Krzkowski.

Also featured is Andre LeBlanc: VFX artist and lead for 15 years for both major and small studios. He currently works at Blur, which is run by Tim Miller (director of Deadpool).  

For the full lineup visit: