Oxford Film Festival unveiled its Weekly Virtual Film Festival series showcasing films that were programmed for the 2020 edition of the popular film festival. Beginning with the first week, scheduled for April 24-May 1, the Oxford Film Festival will roll out a different series of films each successive week, with themed presentations, throughout the summer and fall as an initial alternative to film festival that was postponed from March.
Festival programmers, filmmakers, and special guests will moderate Q&As following the screenings which viewers will be able to see and participate in by submitting questions. The festival will also share a revenue split from the ticket sales for the virtual screening with the filmmakers themselves, adding a benefit for those films and filmmakers that is rare in the film festival world.
Executive Director Melanie Addington, said, “The Oxford Film Festival has become a vital showcase for independent film and filmmakers for close to two decades now, so rather than reducing the number of the films that routinely receive the benefits of having that platform, we decided to create these weekly presentations in lieu of a one-week online virtual film festival. We’re excited by the idea that we can give each film that much more of a focus. It is important for festival organizers to adapt in this pandemic to do what is best for their filmmakers as they are our partners and the only reason our industry exists. Coming up with a way to help our filmmakers during an uncertain time financially by sharing the proceeds from those screenings will add another key benefit that is critical at this moment. As we introduce this idea to help our filmmakers, we actively request that our industry also look to do what is best for the filmmakers as well.”
The festival signed the Seed&Spark 2020 Film Festival Survival Pledge to support filmmakers during this time with various waiving of usual festival rules. More on this can be seen here: https://try.seedandspark.com/film-festival-pledge/ and will be continued for the 2021 film festival.
The first week of films will be highlighted by the McPhail Block, a group of films featuring and celebrating Johnny and Susan McPhail, the prolific and beloved actors who call Oxford their home when they aren’t on a film set – which is rare. The films include; Thad Lee’s ALL THAT YOU LOVE WILL BE CARRIED AWAY, which is based on a Stephen King short story; the world premiere of Brian Whisenant’s Oxford community film, THE GOLDEN YEARS; Lorraine Caffery’s THE ROUGAROU; and Robb Rokk’s TRUTH LIES UPSTREAM, which was a finalist at last year’s Memphis Film Prize. Johnny and Susan McPhail and the directors of the films will participate in a Q&A moderated by Oxford FF’s Melanie Addington on Saturday, April 24. Lee will be donating his portion of the ticket sales back to the film festival as part of his agreement with Stephen King’s Dollar Baby arrangement.
On Saturday, April 25, Brandon Colvin’s A DIM VALLEY, part of the Oxford Film Festival’s LGBTQ Narrative Feature selections will screen as a one-day only exclusive for audiences in the United States. The film follows a curmudgeonly biologist and his slacker graduate assistants as they work through a summer research project deep in the Appalachian woods. However, while immersed in the project, they meet a trio of mystical backpackers who change their each of their lives in mysterious ways. Following the screening, filmmaker and Oxford FF programmer Brian Whisenant will lead a Q&A with Colvin and additional members of the film’s cast and crew.
Other presentations include MS Docs, featuring a pair of documentaries (GETTING TO THE ROOT and 70 YEARS OF BLACKNESS) exploring a myriad of issues regarding being black surrounded by whiteness, which will include a Q&A with the filmmakers on Saturday, April 25, which will be moderated by filmmaker and former Oxford FF award-winner Victoria Negri.
Passion Projects: Doc Shorts, is a largely international collection of films, including a pair of films from India as well as films from Australia, the UK, which will also feature a Q&A with the filmmakers on Sunday, April 26, which will be moderated by Oxford FF Executive Director Melanie Addington.
“We are very excited to be working with our ticketing partner Eventive who has been working night and day to create this exciting platform that is DRM protected, geoblock capable and safe and secure for our filmmakers,” Addington said. “But just as importantly, also visually pleasing and easy to use on any size screen.”
Tickets for each presentation (features or film blocks) are priced at $10.00 which includes a 24-hour rental period and exclusive access to the filmmaker Q&A. Various viewing packages are also available for the Virtual Film Festival series extending from now through the end of the year. Oxford Film festival is also working with sponsors and previous ticket purchase holders to extend their benefits to the virtual film festival.
OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL VIRTUAL SCREENINGS
APRIL 24-MAY 1
Oxford Film Festival Exclusive LGBTQ Presentation
April 25 only for USA audiences
A DIM VALLEY
Director: Brandon Colvin
Country: USA, Running Time: 92 min
A curmudgeonly biologist and his slacker graduate assistants muddle their way through a summer research project. Deep in the Appalachian woods, they encounter a trio of mystical backpackers who change their lives in mysterious ways.
Available April 24-May 1 Globally
ALL THAT YOU LOVE WILL BE CARRIED AWAY
Director: Thad Lee
Country: USA, Running Time: 29:57 min
Based on a Stephen King short story, the film follows a salesman, whose love of bathroom graffiti may save his life on a cold, dark Nebraskan night.
THE GOLDEN YEARS
Director: Brian Whisenant
Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min
Mabel and Norman have been together so long they know everything there is to know about each other. Or do they?
Director: Lorraine Caffery
Country: USA, Running Time: 13:08 min
A father tells his daughter a cautionary tale to keep her out of trouble.
TRUTH LIES UPSTREAM
Director: Robb Rokk
Country: USA, Running Time: 14:54
Two fishing buddies: One searching for long lost answers and the other – bent on revenge.
Available April 24-May 1 Globally
GETTING TO THE ROOT
Director: Je’Monda Roy
Country: USA, Running Time: 23:50 min
Our hairstyles reflect our daily experiences and choices. Whether our afros, curls, sew-ins, dreads, and box braids are accepted in this white society or not, it reflects our identity as black women. It’s more than just hair. Our hairstyles tell stories – stories of resistance and struggle as we navigate through this society and everyday we’re getting to the root of it.
70 YEARS OF BLACKNESS
Director: Christopher Windfield
Country: USA, Running Time: 29:51 min
Verda Byrd has lived her entire life as a black woman. Then, at the age of 70, Verda made a shocking discovery. She was adopted and her biological parents were actually white.
Passion Projects: Doc Shorts
Available April 24-May 1 Globally
Director: Olivia Bernhardt Brogan
Country: UK, Running Time: 5:21 min
A hand-built bird shed at the end of a garden reveals a lifetime of devotion and sacrifice.
Directors: Johanis Lyons-Reid, Lorcan Hopper
Country: Australia, Running Time: 19:22 min
An absurd journey into disability, authorship, and representation.
Director: Mary Stanton Knight
Country: USA, Running Time: 8:44 min
Oxford-based musicians Morgan Pennington of And the Echo and Mattie Thrasher are living life in the spotlight. In this film, they both share what it’s like to be openly gay in a small Mississippi town.
Director: Sohil Vaidya
Country: India, Running Time: 5:15 min
A man desperately seeks to preserve his life long passion for creating analog clocks in an era of digital totality.
Director: Rishi Chandna
Country: India, Running Time: 12:54 min
In a cramped apartment in Mumbai, a meat-eating family considers eating their hell-raising pet rooster, so that they can reclaim their normal lives.