Oxford Film Festival

Published on June 11th, 2020 | by TLV News


Oxford Film Festival Debuts OFF to the DRIVE-IN this Summer

The summer of 2020 is fast approaching, and this year has been . . . strange. With events cancelled and many entertainment venues shuttered, social life has taken on a much different—and more digital—atmosphere. But leave it up to the masterminds behind the Oxford Film Festival (OFF) to figure out new and exciting ways to bring the movies to the people.

The ongoing Virtual Film Festival has been taking place online with an extensive lineup of feature films, documentaries, short films, music videos, and more that film fans can view in the privacy and comfort of their homes via streaming. And now fans can watch a movie in the privacy and comfort of their own vehicles by attending the brand new OFF to the Drive-In pop up theater!

Oxford Film Festival’s Executive Director, Melanie Addington

Corona-induced social distancing has forced OFF to restructure, festival organizers had to get creative. OFF’s Executive Director Melanie Addington said, “We had been doing pop-up screenings in the past, and pre-pandemic were planning to do screenings in Oxford and Water Valley year-round. When everything changed, we didn’t want to wait until people could go back indoors but create an experience people can enjoy now. I have always loved the drive-in, and so has Associate Director Matt Wymer.” 

OFF Presenting Sponsor Cannon Motors will host the screenings at the Cannon Lot located at 100 Thacker Loop. “They were very invested from the beginning and even did a lot to clean up the lot we are using,” said Addington. “They value community as much as we do so it was a natural fit.”

Associate Director, Matt Wymer

Addington and Wymer spent about six weeks researching national trends to figure out how to make the drive-in concept work, and the results can be seen on the 30 foot-by-40 foot screen starting Thursday, June 11, with the kickoff film, Plan 9 from Outer Space. The weekend will continue Friday and Saturday, June 12–13, with a very special screening of The Evers, a documentary about the family of slain Civil Rights activist Medgar Evers.

The venue will have two ADA accessible bathrooms, one on each side of the lot, that will be cleaned after each use. Concessions and Dodo Pizza are available in advance for pre-order and on-site delivery. Concessions will include candy, popcorn, and sodas, and can be pre-ordered on the film festival’s website at oxfordfilmfest.com/store, where you can also purchase sponsorships and merchandise.

You can expect a few rules to follow because we are still social distancing. “This is meant to enjoy a movie inside your car, not tailgating or hanging out with others in the lot,” Addington said. “I know that may not be [as much] fun, but we are doing this as safely as possible so high-risk people have an option.”

As for the future of the drive-in, Addington says that right now this as a temporary solution until Malco reopens, but OFF has plans to utilize the system as part of the festival and pop-up screenings year round. “We’ve wanted to expand to do more independent film in Oxford year round for a while,” she said. “This lets us have a window of time to make a plan and execute it.”

Tickets for the drive-in shows are $20 per car (not per person) and are available for pre-order at oxfordfilmfest.com. All tickets must be preordered and will not be available on-site. The lot opens at 8 pm, with pre-roll cartoons at 8:10, and the feature will begin at 8:30 pm. In case of rain, the show will be rescheduled for the following Sunday. If that also fails, tickets will be refunded.

OFF to the Drive-In Schedule:

Thursday, June 11 – Plan 9 from Outer Space
Friday & Saturday, June 12–13 – The Evers
Thursday, June 18 – Team Marco
Friday & Saturday, June 19 – The Labyrinth

For the full schedule, click here.

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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