The 18th Annual Oxford Film Festival will be a hybrid presentation across multiple venues: an open-air outdoor theater, drive-ins, and a full month of virtual screenings.
The premiere-rich schedule will showcase 158 films, including 33 features (15 narrative and 18 documentary), 115 short films (narrative, documentary, LGBTQIA+, ambition and experimental, student, and Mississippi-based productions), 19 music videos, and 11 projected art works, and 5 scripts.
From Wednesday through Sunday, March 24–28, screenings will be held in the Oxford Commons area in two specially designed open-air circus tents, in the Malco Outdoor Cinema, and at a special drive-in at Oxford High School. From April 1–30, virtual cinema screenings will be offered globally via Eventive.
The Oxford Film Festival producers are taking the lead in procedures, measures, and protocols to prioritize the safety of its staff, attending filmmakers, and film fans, but also understand the need to allay any fears or concerns the community might have with attending a festival.
“As we continue to prepare, we want to be very clear about the aggressive steps we are taking in order to make our film festival safe so our patrons can begin to get back to enjoying the movie going experience in the company of other people again,” said Executive Director Melanie Addington. “Therefore, we are being very careful with a measured approach utilizing the open-air theater—with safety always first. We have spent the past year safely providing films via drive-in and will include that experience in this year’s festival. We will monitor COVID and weather concerns and will make changes as needed closer to the event.”
Oxford Film Festival also announced an impressive lineup of in-person and virtual panels and parties to both bring audiences and film fans back together safely, as well as continue to open up the popular film festival to a state-wide, national, and international audience virtually.
Oxford Film Festival will also offer in-person filmmaker panels including a Living History Panel focused on archival filmmaking, a Community Film Table Read with filmmaker Chasity Nicole, and a live performance by Oxford’s acting royalty Johnny and Susan McPhail.
Some of the biggest and most fun events of past film festivals have been the parties. These are open to anyone with a pass (a VIP pass is $175, or $50 for students), and this year’s events will be exciting. Wednesday, March 24, from 5–7 pm at the Oxford Conference Center Tent features a game night celebrating the film Murder, Bury, Win. This VIP meet-and-greet includes appetizers and cocktails, and attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite board games to share some in light-hearted competition.
On Thursday, March 25, also at the Oxford Conference Center Tent, The End of All Music will present a record spin party following a selection of Southern music videos and the film Vinyl Nation. Friday, March 26 features a block party atmosphere with cosmic bowling in Premier Lanes, free food outside at the fire pit, “Zombie Karaoke” in the outdoor theater, and projections in the alleyway.
At the Malco Outdoor Theater, Saturday, March 27, will be a combined Weed & Wine party celebrating the feature documentary of the same name and a live music event sponsored by The Local Voice. To complement Without Getting Killed or Caught, a documentary about famed Texas singer-songwriter Guy Clark, TLV will host a Songwriters in the Round event with Oxford singer-songwriters Tate Moore, Moonpie Curtis, Keith Moore, and Randy Weeks. Live music is back, y’all (and safely outdoors)!
Sunday, March 28 the festival will close with a birthday party and awards ceremony! Executive Director Melanie Addington will celebrate another trip around the sun, while the film festival itself turns 18. Join the festivities at 5 pm at the Malco outdoor theater and find out which films and filmmakers will go home with the newly renamed Ronzo Awards.