The Local Voice

Oxford Film Festival Announces 2020 Hoka Awards


After having local musician Silas Reed entertain participants virtually, Oxford Film Festival held their 17th annual awards ceremony mid-virtual festival to honor and amplify the great films selected by the jury. 

New board president Steven Case was surprised by a Donna Ruth Volunteer of the Year award for his previous volunteerism before taking on the new leadership role.

Associate Director Matt Wymer hosted the ceremonies with programmers Brian Whisenant and Meaghin Burke joining alongside Executive Director Melanie Addington.

Programmer Awards

Best Foreign Language Film

Honorable Mention: Cuban Heel Shoes
For the Hoka and $250 Prize sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages

Winner: I Am Not Alone
Director: Garin Hovannisian

Short screenplay competition winner:

Phelandra by Jonathan Mirabill 
Receives $1000, Final Draft software and mentorship by producer John Norris to help get the film made. 

Angie Thomas Zeitgeist Award

New this year is the Angie Thomas Zeitgeist Award, given to a film artist from a diverse background who has exhibited a unique and clear voice through their work. Black Filmmakers in the state chose the winning film as a committee.

Winner: Coffee Shop Names
Director: Deepak Sethi

Lisa Blount Award given in memory of the incredible character actress and friend to the festival. 

For her powerful and unflinching portrayal of a mother pushed to her limits, the jury gives the Lisa Blount Memorial Acting Award to Danielle Deadwyler for her portrayal of Lemon Cassidy in Ruckus & Lane Skye’s Reckoning

Juried Awards


Winner: Umbilical
Director: Danski Tang


Winner: Joints
Directors: Ricardo Werdesheim, Moran Somer and Osi Wald

Music Video

Honorable Mention: Self Portrait x1000 

Winner: Pain – Bandrunna Gwaup
One-year membership and free equipment rentals from OxFilm Society and three days of recording time from Nathan Robbins.


Honorable Mention: She Who Wasn’t Tamed

And winner is, with a Cash Prize of $250 sponsored by Michael Johannson

Winner: Elephant in the Room
Chanelle Eidenbenz



Honorable Mention: Go, Go Boy

Winner: Unspoken
Patrick G. Lee

Cash Prize of $250 sponsored by Robbie Fisher Productions


Honorable Mention: The Long Shadow

Winner: From Baghdad to the Bay
Erin Palmquist

Cash Prize of $250 sponsored by Damon Burks

Shorts Awards

Narrative Short

Honorable Mention: Street Flame and Rehearsal

Winner: My Time
Giulia Gandini

$250 Cash prize sponsored by Steven and Gay Case & Three days of audio post production from Taproot Design in Oxford

Documentary Short

Honorable Mention: Tungrus and Tears Teacher

Winner: The Loop
Johanis Lyons-Reid and Lorcan Hopper

Music Documentary Short

Winner: All I have to Offer You Is Me
Dillon M. Hayes

Mississippi Films

Mississippi Narrative

Honorable Mention: All That You Love Will Be Carried Away

Winner: The Brothers Brothers
Kyle Taubken

Cash prize through the Casey Spradling Memorial Award & one-year membership and free equipment rentals from OxFilm Society

Mississippi Documentary

Honorable Mention(s): Singing Out and The Blacksmith of Oxford

Winner: Getting to the Root
Je’Monda Roy

Cash prize through the Casey Spradling Memorial Award & One-year membership and free equipment rentals from OxFilm Society

Documentary Features

Documentary Film

Honorable Mention: You Asked for the Facts
Best Editing: I Am Not Alone

Winner: Hope Frozen
Winner: Receives $15,000 camera rental package from Panavision & Documentary editing feedback from Joe Shapiro

Music Documentary Film

Winner: Rockabul

Narrative Feature

Jury Special Recognition: The In-Between (Disability Representation)
For its courageous and deeply human portrayal of two women working to live a full life while coping with emotional and physical disabilities, the jury would like to give a Special Recognition to Mindy Bledsoe’s The In-Between.

Winner: The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain
Director: David Midell

$15,000 Camera Rental Package from Panavision
For its raw, honest and inventive recreation of the 2011 police killing of an unarmed Black man in White Plains, New York, the jury has chosen David Midell’s The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain as the 2020 Oxford Film Festival’s Best Narrative Feature.

Mississippi Features

Special Recognition: Nothin No Better (Unique Style)
For its wholly original approach to documentary filmmaking, the jury awards a Special Recognition to Ben Powell’s Nothin No Better

Special Recognition You Asked for the Facts (Documenting Important Story)
For revealing a little known and critically important pat of an otherwise well-known chapter in the struggle for Civil Rights in America, the jury recognnizes Mary Blessey’s You Asked for the Facts

Winner: Far East Deep South
Larissa Lam

A deeply human and life-affirming film that shows that the history of the American South was not written only in Black and White but in many shades of the rainbow and is deeply representative of many part of the United States, the jury has chosen Larissa Lam’s Far East Deep South as the 2020 Oxford Film Festival’s Best Mississippi Film.

Next is the Alice Guy-Blaché Filmmaker Award decided by past winners and advisory committee members and staff as well as the jury. 
$1,000 Prize from Louis M Rabinowitz Foundation

Winner: Once Upon A River
Director: Haroula Rose

Artist Vodka Best Short Contest

$15,000 Prize – voting ended after one week by public:
Over 400 voted to decide the winner for 50% of the count and special Artist Vodka jury 50% of the count and we have a top 5 to count down: 

Ranked #5 – Life After Death
Ranked #4 The Indignation of Michael Busby
Ranked #3 In the Blood
Ranked #2 Mother’s Day

And our big winner of the Artist Vodka prize is the team behind:


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