In February, volunteers were all-hands-on-deck for the 17th Annual Oxford Film Festival (OFF). Executive Director Melanie Addington had no way to predict the festival as planned would come to a halt in a few short weeks.
The Oxford Film Festival was one of the first major annual events in Oxford to cancel in an attempt to stall the rise of COVID-19. Since March, Addington has been hard at work revamping the annual festival to virtual and drive-in platforms.
“When we started the drive-in, only a handful of films were allowed to be screened by distributors. As the pandemic continues on, many distributors are opening up their archives to more films, including Disney and Paramount and Warner Brothers,” said Addington.
This shift in mindset has allowed her to screen favorites like Dirty Dancing, Aqua Man, The Goonies, Frozen II, and How to Train Your Dragon II.
“Only some independent films like Miss Juneteenth and Tesla have been available to book that are brand new films,” said Addington. They also have several brand new indie films available through their online portal to rent at home including one of Addington’s favorite films, Shirley.
The Oxford Film Festival has not only provided a space for locals to get out of their house and enjoy some extracurricular activity from the safety of their cars, but they are also employing 10 people in addition to Melanie Addington to work at OFF to the Drive-In in concessions, ticket checks, car checks, and other needs.
Local businesses are taking notice—including Saint Leo’s Emily and Jolie Blount, who sponsored a second showing of Dirty Dancing when the first sold out quickly. I was able to go to the second night showing, thanks to their generous contribution.
Cannon Motors and Jordan Bankhead with Hendricks Steakhouse have contributed greatly to the success of the drive-in, and two sponsors—Jones Farms and State Rep Tommy Reynolds—have sponsored two free showings of Back to the Future during what would have been the annual Watermelon Festival in nearby Water Valley, Mississippi.
OFF to the Drive-In is currently operating at a loss, but is willing to do so in order to employ folks and provide this entertainment option for the community. Anyone interested in donating or sponsoring can contact Melanie Addington at email@example.com.
Check the full listing below of upcoming films featured at OFF to the Drive-In, Oxford and Water Valley, for your next outing or visit the Oxford Film Festival website to rent a film at https://www.oxfordfilmfest.com/—there are many different titles available for streaming.
I personally have a wishlist of The Goonies, Purple Rain, Back to the Future, and O Brother, Where Art Thou?—now I just have to make plans to get there!
Cannon Motors Lot
100 Thacker Loop
Oxford, Mississippi 38655
July 23 | 8pm | How To Train Your Dragon
July 24 | 8pm | Unforgiven
July 25 | 8pm | Superman
July 26 | 8pm | John Lewis: Good Trouble
July 30 | 8pm | Once Upon a River
July 31 | 8pm | Yellow Submarine Sing-A-Long Version
Aug 1 | 8:30pm | Star Light
Aug 6 | 8:30pm | How to Train Your Dragon II
Aug 7 | 8:30pm | Batman
Aug 8 | 8:30pm | The Goonies
Aug 13 | 8:30pm | How to Train Your Dragon:
The Hidden World
Aug 14 | 8:30pm | Aquaman
Aug 20 | 8:30pm | The Lego Movie
Aug 21 | 8:30pm | Tesla
Former SuperValu off Main Street
1004 Central Street
Water Valley, Mississippi 38655
July 23 | 8pm | Labyrinth
July 24 | 8pm | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
July 25 | 8pm | Harriet
July 30 | 8:30pm | Amazing Grace
July 31 | 8:30pm | Dirty Dancing
Aug 1 | 8:30pm | Back to the Future
Aug 2 | 8:30pm | Back to the Future
Aug 6 | 8:30pm | Monsters Inc.
Aug 7 | 8:30pm | O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Aug 8 | 8:30pm | Purple Rain
Aug 13 | 8:30pm | The Lego Movie
Aug 14 | 8:30pm | Batman
Aug 15 | 8:30pm | Unforgiven
Aug 20 | 8:30pm | Frozen II
Aug 21 | 8:30pm | Do the Right Thing