2019 Call for Entries Opens May 1

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Call for Entries open May 1, 2018, for the 2019 Oxford Film Festival, taking place in Oxford, Mississippi, February 6-9, 2019. The 16th edition of the festival will include the return of OFF’s screenplay competition with cash prizes, as well as a reduced submission fee incentive for female filmmakers.


Led by Executive Director Melanie Addington, and additions to the programming lineup, including Hammer to Nail editor Don Lewis (Narrative features), critically acclaimed filmmaker/actor Victoria Negri (Mississippi features and shorts), and actor Donna Kozloskie (Documentary features and shorts), the Oxford FF will screen films, television, and virtual reality projects in all genres, as well as promoting and celebrating Mississippi filmmakers culminating in the presentation of the film festival’s award ceremony. Through year-round programming, the festival works to encourage filmmaking in Oxford and North Mississippi while growing understanding of cinema through screenings, workshops and educational programs, during the five-day event. 


This year, films created by people with disabilities, and/or featuring performers with disabilities receive a 50% discount using code ReelOxff. This initiative will be added to the OXFF50 discount for female directed projects (which can be co-directed by a female and male) last year, which led to an increase of the film festival’s alumni database from 28% to 31%. Addington has pledged that OFF will keep the efforts going as long as it takes to get to 50-50 female to male representation. 



The Oxford Film Festival will also be expanding the festival’s LGBTQ category, which will now total 5 features to be on track with he narrative and documentary competitions, thanks to generous Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences grant to expand LGBTQ stories in the state of Mississippi. In addition, there will be a new student category - which returns to the Oxford Film Festival after a 10-year absence timed to the launch of a new film major at University of Mississippi. OFF continues to work to strengthen ties to film students and find ways to better highlight their works.


The growth of that category, in addition to the continuation of the discounted submission fees for female filmmakers demonstrates the real, tangible support for artists of all genders, lifestyles, and cultures that the Oxford Film Festival represents in the South. The film festival has made a name for itself nationally in that regard for the impact it is making with filmmakers, film artists, and the local community, by embracing its place artistically, politically, and socially in Oxford and the state of Mississippi.


The Oxford Film Festival is now, without dispute, a prominent “voice” in the regional film festival community, as it continues to take real, and lasting, action in order to offer an oasis of culture, a position of advocacy and support on behalf of minorities, women, and the LGBTQ community, as it supports diverse voices in the state of Mississippi.

When submitting their films to Film Freeway for consideration by the festival, women should use the following submission code to receive their 50% discount: BlacheOXFF


Submissions can be made at https://filmfreeway.com/festival/OxfordFilmFestival, and more information is available at www.oxfordfilmfest.com.


The Oxford Film Festival’s competitions this year include:


Artist Vodka Film D'Or Prize

A grand prize of $10,000 will be given to the winner along with flight and hotel covered to attend the festival. Also, an audience winner will also be announced with a $500 prize.

Rules of the competition include: The film must be less than 20 minutes and the winner will be required to add In Association with Artist Vodka to opening credits.

Entry deadline for the Artist Vodka Competition is December 1.

Short Screenplay Competition

The Short Screenplay Competition will feature the following prizes for the winning writer/filmmaker:

-       A $1,000 prize for use in making the film from the winning script.

-       OxFilm Society equipment rental for free for use in the production of the film if shot in Lafayette County as well as production support from OxFilm Society.

-       Flight (if not local) and hotel accommodations to attend the Oxford Film Festival to hear the live table read of their script.

-       Producer mentors including John Norris of Wyolah Films (GET ON UP, THE HELP) will also meet with the scriptwriter at the festival to consult on production details to assist in the making of the film.

-       Entry deadline for the short screenplay competition is December 1.

Eligibility rules can be found at www.oxfordfilmfest.com.

The festival screens short and feature-length films in both showcase and competition settings, hosts panel discussions on issues in contemporary filmmaking, and invites the filmmakers to interact with the audience at a number of social events.

Film categories include:

•    Narrative and documentary features and shorts

•    Mississippi narrative, documentary, and music video

•    LGBTQ

•    Fest Forward (Animation and Experimental)

•    Student Films


Submission Deadlines

•    Early Bird: September 4, 2018

•    Regular: October 4, 2018

•    Late: November 4, 2018

The festival was founded in 2003 by the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council. In 2008, it became an independent non-profit organization with 501c3 status committed to celebrating the art of independent cinema.





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 five-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.


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!

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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: https://oxfordff.wufoo.com/forms/pyhxfsb0ei6ari/

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

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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



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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, www.oxfordfilmfest.com 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