The 2019 Oxford Film Festival (February 6–10) looks to have a record-breaking year with near sellouts of films and film blocks, scheduled filmmaker attendances that double last year’s high, and three area hotels reportedly sold out to accommodate the influx of filmmakers and film fans for the event.
The festival recently announced a special screening of Tom Huckabee and Kent Smith’s Taking Tiger Mountain Revisited, a gonzo futuristic film project cowritten by William S. Burroughs and starring Bill Paxton that was made in the late 70s/early 80s and recently updated by Huckabee. Another announcement confirms that Steve Young, the subject of Dava Whisenant’s award-winning documentary Bathtubs over Broadway, is now slated to attend the screening of that film.
Regarding the programming announcements, Oxford Film Festival’s Executive Director Melanie Addington said, “We’re thrilled to have Tom Huckabee return to Oxford with a true film rarity, his fascinating film, Taking Tiger Mountain Revisited. Offering special one-of-a-kind moments in film like that, as well as being able to put forward the best locally made projects, celebrating our homegrown talent is one of the things that make this film festival great. Having Steve Young here for Bathtubs Over Broadway, one of the most crowd-pleasing films from the past year, and being able to offer filmmaker panels offering an insider’s view into the making of film and sustaining a career in the industry fully rounds out the five-day film festival experience we pride ourselves in offering, when combined with our galas and competition selections. This will be an exciting and entertaining five days in February and those who consider themselves true film fans will not want to miss a single moment.”
First released in 1983, Taking Tiger Mountain Revisited was directed by Huckabee and Smith, and included Bill Paxton as an integral creative partner on the project. Set in a dystopian future, American draft dodger Billy Hampton (played by Paxton), is brainwashed and programmed by militant feminists to assassinate the Welsh minister of prostitution. Lurching unwittingly toward his goal, he makes a series of furtive connections with outsiders like himself, including a feral child, a gentle prostitute, a sadomasochistic delinquent, a lovelorn androgyne, a hippie dope dealer, and a mute nymphomaniac, while at the same time fending off predators who would sell him into sex slavery. Eventually, he is forced to focus on his mission and face the dreadful dilemma tormenting his psyche: to kill or not to kill.
Originally shot in Wales, the film was revisited in 2016 by Huckabee to incorporate the spirit and flavor of the “making of” aspects of the film, which included the influence of William S. Burroughs, who shares a screenwriting credit on the film with Huckabee, Smith, and Paul Cullum. Taking Tiger Mountain Revisited will screen on Sunday, February 10 at 12:45 pm at the Malco Oxford Commons (206 Commonwealth Blvd) and will include a Q&A with Huckabee, who returns to the Oxford Film Festival for the first time since his film Carried Away was an audience favorite in 2009.
Previously announced, Whisenant’s Bathtubs over Broadway gives a funny and informative look at the history and phenomenon of industrial musicals courtesy of Steve Young, a longtime writer for Late Night with David Letterman. What began as a curiosity to Young became a loving obsession as he unearthed the under-the-radar history of the industrial musical form in this country. Whisenant’s film delivers a funny and touching tribute to the artists that created the musicals, as well as Young’s journey to shine a light on them. The film screens at the Malco on Saturday, February 9, at 4 pm with Young slated to be on hand for a Q&A.
In addition to the above events, Saturday, February 9 will feature three special short film programs, led by a Family Film Festival featuring Dan Chuba’s The Boxcar Children: Surprise Island, based on the second book of the Boxcar Children series, a short film program, and a feature and acting workshop presented at the Oxford Conference Center (102 Ed Perry Blvd). For only $10, the film program is a great introduction to the Oxford Film Festival for younger family members and perennially one of the most popular film presentations due to the family-friendly nature of the films.
The UM Film & Theatre Shorts program will highlight some of the best work to come out of the University of Mississippi this past year and highlights alumni, faculty, and competitions from the fall. The new partnership was set this year to help launch the new film major in the department.
“We are so excited to see the growth of filmmaking in the area due to the new major,” Addington said. “The minor made an impact on the film community already and to now have both is very exciting and bodes well for the future of Oxford as a film town.”
A short film program presenting the best of last year’s Louisiana Film Prize and Memphis Film Prize competitions continues a special partnership between those one-of-a-kind film competitions and the Oxford Film Festival to screen the top prize-winners for Mississippi audiences. Highlights of this year’s lineup will be Jonnie Stapleton’s film Funky Butt, which took home the Louisiana Film Prize’s $50,000 grand prize, and Kevin Brooks’ film Last Day, which won the Memphis Film Prize contest and $10,000. Both programs will be at the Malco Oxford Commons.
Filmmaker panels are all free to the public thanks to OFF sponsors and include: My First Film with Zia Anger, The Golden Years live reading with SAG actors Johnny and Susan McPhail and a partnership with Ghost Light Repertory Theatre, a Female Filmmaker Forum, and the new Film School Confidential delivering the inside scoop from local film school instructors and students.
Also available is the screen writing workshop: Creating Opportunities and Staying Challenged as a Writer, and Discussing Body and Soul, which takes a deep dive into the making of the film about the iconic jazz standard, Billie Holiday.
For information from the Oxford Film Festival, contact Melanie Addington – 662-801-6007 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.