Oxford Film Festival Appoints New Executive Director, Programming Team; Announces Call For Entries

Melanie Addington, Executive Director

Melanie Addington, Executive Director

The Oxford Film Festival today appointed long-time staff member Melanie Addington as its Executive Director and named its programming team for the 2016 edition, to be lead by veteran industry fixtures Mark Rabinowitz and Kim Voynar as documentary and narrative feature head programmers, respectively. The 13th edition of the festival is set to unspool February 18-21, 2016.

Addington has been with the festival in various positions since 2005, working her way up from volunteer to volunteer coordinator, to assistant director and subsequently serving as co-director since 2008 before becoming the well-regarded organization’s Executive Director for the 2016 edition. "I have always been passionate about independent film, storytelling and Mississippi,” said Addington, “and this gives me a chance to really showcase all three. I’m excited to take on this new leadership position as we focus on growing the festival both during the February event and in terms of year-round programming.” Addington also serves as the President of the Mississippi Film & Video Alliance.

Kim Voynar, Narrative Features Programmer

Kim Voynar, Narrative Features Programmer

The festival is a key date on the busy Oxford cultural calendar, having hosted such notables as James Franco, Morgan Freeman, Jason Ritter, Elvis Mitchell, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Ray McKinnon and Tim Blake Nelson.

Voynar comes to the Oxford Festival with over a decade of experience as a critic and industry analyst for Movie City News, Cinematical, Indiewire.com, Variety and others, adding director/producer to her resume in 2010, with current activities including live-action and animated projects with avant-garde musical group The Residents and an episodic TV series with Will Calhoun of hard rockers Living Colour.

Mark Rabinowitz, Documentary Features Programmer

Mark Rabinowitz, Documentary Features Programmer

Rabinowitz is a co-founder of the seminal indie film news service Indiewire.com and has been a journalist for twenty years, including service as a critic for CNN.com, Screen Daily, Paste Magazine and Alternative Press. He has attended over 175 film festivals as a critic, producer and staff, including serving as a programmer and industry liaison at the Hamptons International Film Festival and has served on festival juries in Edinburgh, Montreal, Denver, Nashville and Oxford. As a producer, he has projects in development with producer Darren Dean (TangerineKinyarwanda) and writers/producers Jon Cryer & Richard Schenkman and heads the film department at LA-based publicity & marketing firm PMG.

Today, OFF announces its call for entries for next year’s Festival in all programming categories. Entries are accepted through November 15, 2015 at Film Freeway (https://filmfreeway.com/festival/OxfordFilmFestival). Due to its calendar position following Sundance, Oxford has had the benefit of hosting the regional premieres of many notable films, including James Franco’s two William Faulkner adaptations (The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying), Chad Hartigan’s This Is Martin Bonner, and Paul Saltzman’s Prom Night in Mississippi.

Oxford’s full programming team includes: Mary Margaret Andrews and Courtney Hall on documentary shorts, Newt Rayburn on music videos, Deborah Barker on Mississippi narratives, Maggie Woodward on Mississippi documentaries, Michelle Emanuel on animation and Brooke White on experimental films.

The incoming OFF Board of Directors is comprised of long-time festival supporters, including the executive director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council Wayne Andrews (President), former SVP of Production for MGM Television Hudson Hickman, and writer/producer Chris Offutt (True Blood, Weeds, Treme).

About the Festival

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. For more information, visit www.oxfordfilmfest.com 


Media Contacts: Henry Eshelman/Sabrina Zeile PMG, +1.323.337.9042

heshelman@platformgrp.com; sabrina@platformgrp.com

On the Fringe!

Join us at the Fringe Festival this August 7-8 for a variety of film-related activities. Oxford Film Festival is partnering with Fringe to host the screening of The Room on August 7 at 10 p.m. at the Lyric Oxford. The ticket is $5 plus the Fringe weekend pass (so $10 total). 

Earlier that evening, Oxfilm Society is hosting a cocktail hour with Larry Wells and a short documentary on the Oxford screening of the Good Ol Boy adapted from a Willie Morris story. That event is part of the Fringe $5 weekend pass and starts at 5 pm at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center.

On Saturday, August 8 at noon, Greg Sestero of The Room will be at the Lafayette County & Oxford Public Library signing his book, "The Disaster Artist."

You can buy your Fringe pass and additional Room ticket here! 

Give to the Leadership Campaign Today!

We have made it even easier to donate to our OFF Leadership campaign by giving online with our handy form HERE

The Leadership Campaign is to help create a full-time director for the ever-growing festival. The 2016 festival is set for February 18-21, 2016 and we are looking to hire someone by August. So funds are needed now to ensure the continued growth of the festival. With stars like James Franco and an ever-growing alumni group of filmmakers that visit Oxford, the festival has helped to not only support the arts but also the economy as thousands from throughout the region pour into the town each February. 

Anyone can donate at any level. We will thank everyone in our printed program and on social media that gives (anonymous donations are also welcome!).

Anyone who donates over $250 will also get sponsor perks for the 2016 festival. To learn about those perks, visit our Sponsor page. 

Oxford Film Festival announces a new board and Leadership campaign

Oxford Film Festival adopted a new Board of Directors that is hard at work organizing the 2016 festival. The Board reviewed the impact of the festival on the community and recognized that for the organization to reach the next level it would require a full time director.   

“The festival is more than a weekend of films. It is connected events year round and is a resource for filmmaking in North Mississippi," shared Wayne Andrews Director of the Arts Council. "In order to achieve the goal of hiring a director several board members and business leaders stepped forward with an challenge - they would commit matching funds if the Board could raise half of the salary."

The new board of directors is as follows: Board President: Wayne Andrews of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, Bethany Cooper of FNC, movie producer and New Albany native Hudson Hickman, Jon Maynard of the Economic Development Foundation, former Dean of Students at the University of Mississippi Sparky Reardon, intellectual property attorney and filmmaker Meaghin Burke, Invitation Oxford’s Sonia Thompson, writer Chris Offutt, and concerned citizens Ralph Vance, Donna Ruth Roberts, Joy Clark and Tim Burkhead. Oxford Film Commissioner Mary Allyn Hedges also sits on the board as a non-voting member.

The Leadership Campaign has kicked off the drive and is looking to raise $25,000 by July 31.

In the film festival's 12-year history it has become a major event for the City of Oxford, drawing famous actors, directors, and assorted media to Oxford. The role of the festival has evolved into an organization that hosts movie screenings throughout the year and promotes North Mississippi as an ideal location for filmmaking.  Upcoming events include screenings partnered with the U. of MS Southern Studies, Fringe Festival and Sarah Isom Center.

“This expanded role for the festival creates a strong positive impact on the cultural and business community in Oxford,” Andrews said.  

Donations are being accepted on the Oxford Film Festival website at www.oxfordfilmfest.com, by mail at Oxford Film Festival P.O. Box 727 Oxford, Mississippi USA.   To learn how you can become part of the film festival or sponsor the festival, contact info@oxfordfilmfest.com or by phone at 662-236-6429.