John Stimpson’s Ghost Light is the Opening Night Gala selection, and Jacqueline Olive’s Always in Season is the Closing Night choice.
World Premieres include John Reyer Afamasaga’s Door Ajar – The M.B. Mayfield Story and Jeffrey Dennis’s Sharde Thomas: Legacy of the Fife
The 2019 Oxford Film Festival (February 6–10), the first major stop on the year’s regional film festival circuit, has announced John Stimpson’s Ghost Light as the Opening Night Gala selection, with Jacqueline Olive’s Always in Season tabbed as the fest’s Closing Night Gala selection immediately following its debut at Sundance.
Another choice hot off of Sundance will be Jon Strong’s documentary, Long Time Coming, presented as a Special Screening. Oxford Film Festival favorite Malcolm Ingram will present his latest documentary, Southern Pride as a Special Screening as well. Also announced were
the competition lineups for this year.
Recognized as one of the most prominent (as well as popular) cultural sign posts in the state, in addition to taking a leadership role in terms of the representation of female filmmakers and LGBTQ+ artists, OFF became a signatory of the 505×2020 Pledge this year joining film festivals
around the country pledging to reach a 50/50 parity between male and female filmmakers by the year 2020.
OFF also received a grant from the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences recently to assist in the effort to expand the film festival’s LGBTQ+ programming. Those efforts have seen gains in the representation on both fronts during this year’s edition. In 2019, 43 percent of the films are female directed or codirected, which has continued a pronounced upward trend over the past three years (23 percent in 2017, 37 percent in 2018). Similarly, the LGBTQ+ features and shorts competitions have both nearly doubled in size following the introduction of those dedicated competitive categories last year.
Oxford Film Festival’s Executive Director, Melanie Addington, said, “Each year, it seems as though our film festival becomes more entrenched not simply as a way for people to see films here in Oxford and Mississippi, but also as a key place where Mississippians look forward to meeting filmmakers from different parts of the country and world, different cultures, and different lifestyles. As always, we seek to entertain, but beyond that we embrace our cultural and social responsibility and the mission of being one place and one event that Oxford film fans and
Oxford Film Festival filmmakers can count on to help build those bridges between different people in the best and most enjoyable way.”
That dedication to provide that forum for film artists in the land of William Faulkner and put forward the best of Mississippi to outsiders seems to be working as the Oxford Film Festival had a record year of submissions (1595) from 62 different countries, representing an increase of
10 percent over the prior year. Those submissions resulted in a lineup that will include 27 world premieres (including John Reyer Afamasaga’s Door Ajar – The M.B. Mayfield Story and Jeffrey Dennis’s Sharde Thomas: Legacy of the Fife), and 13 US premieres.