The 2019 Oxford Film Festival celebrated the best of the fest with a typically entertaining awards ceremony, emceed by Crooked Marquee’s Eric D. Snider, at the Powerhouse (413 S. 14th Street) on Saturday, February 9, highlighted by the announcement of Hoka awards for Jordan Noel’s THIS WORLD ALONE for Best Narrative Feature, and Suzannah Herbert and Lauren Belfer’s WRESTLE for Best Documentary Feature.
Noel received a $10,000 camera rental package from Panavision and $250 check, while Herbert and Belfer received a $250 check and $10,000 of equipment rental for their next feature from Panavision as well as $2,500 in editorial consultation from editor Joe Shapiro.
Winner of the Best Mississippi Feature was John Reyer Afamasaga’s DOOR AJAR: THE M.B. MAYFIELD STORY. He received a year of free equipment rental from OxFilm Society and a Hoka Award and a check for $250. Jeffrey Dennis’ SHARDE THOMAS: LEGACY OF THE FIFE was given a Special Jury Prize in the category.
John Rash’s NEGRO TERROR won BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY, the Hoka Award and a check for $100, while John Whitehead’s DON’T GET TROUBLE IN YOUR MIND received a Special Jury Mention.
Winner of the Best LGBTQ Feature Film Award and receiving $250 and a Hoka Award was Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher’s THE GOSPEL OF EUREKA. The shorts category had a tie between Will Stewart’s ALL WE ARE and Morgan Jon Fox’s THE ONE YOU NEVER FORGET for Best LGBTQ Short Film. The jury was so adamant about honoring both films equally that they ponied up the additional $100 prize money themselves so both films could win.
The Alice Guy-Blaché Emerging Female Filmmaker Award (and check for $1000 from the Louis M. Rabinowitz Foundation) went to Suzannah Herbert and Lauren Belfer for their work on WRESTLE.
Oxford Film Festival Executive Director Melanie Addington said, “Our 16th Anniversary edition of the Oxford Film Festival set records for filmmaker attendance and audiences for our films. The former demonstrates the draw this film festival has become for countless filmmakers on the regional circuit, and the latter is a direct result of the quality of the films those filmmakers are creating. This year’s award-winners were great representatives of the best we had to offer this year.”
In the Short Film category, Best Narrative Short went to Julio Ramos’ DEBRIS, with David Feagan and Brian Elliott’s AGE OF BRYCE, and Paul Petersen and Rachel Emerson’s ESMERALDA both receiving Special Jury Prizes in the category. Ramos won a $100 check, Hoka Award, and 3 days of audio post production from Taproot Audio Design in Oxford. Ramos’ DEBRIS also won the Best Foreign Language Film Award. For that honor, Ramos will receive a $250 check from the University of Mississippi Department of Modern Languages and a certificate. Johan Palmgren’s THE TRAFFIC SEPARATING DEVICE received an Honorary Mention in the category.
The winner of the Hoka for Best Documentary Short was Timothy Blackwood’s THE CONQUEROR. Blackwood will receive 3 days of audio post production from Taproot Audio Design in Oxford, to go with his Hoka Award and $250 check. The Best Music Documentary Short Film Award went to Austin Daniel Blasingame’s IT’S NOW OR NEVER: A RACE TO SAVE COLONEL PARKER’S COMPLEX. Blasingame received a Hoka Award and a $100 check.
Hanna Miller’s ROOTS AND WINGS won the Pat RasberryEmerging Filmmaker Award for Best Mississippi Short Film, and the $250 check and OxFilm society membership for free equipment rentals for one year, that came with that nod, a Bennett Krishock’s HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PAPA was given a Special Jury Prize in the same category.
Receiving $100 and a Hoka Award for the Best Fest Forward Experimental Film winner was John Charter and Paul Kaiser’s REMISSION, with Dongjun Kim’s FUN TO COOK “WORLD’S BEST FOOD” receiving a Special Jury Prize. Taking hme $100 and a Hoka Award for Best Fest Forward Animation Film was Eusong Lee’s MY MOON, with Carol Freeman’s THE BIRD & THE WHALE getting a Special Jury Prize.
Christian Walker’s “Wash My Hands” by Cedric Burnside won Best Mississippi Music Video with Jeff Gordon’s THE GREAT DEPRESSION getting the nod for a Special Jury Prize. Walker received a $100 check and Hoka award, and the band also will win $1,000 worth of recording time from the studio of Oxford-based RNN Studios (Nathan Robbins). In a competition category introduced for the first time this year, the Best Student Film winner was Erin Lau’s THE MOON AND THE NIGHT, with Lau receiving a $250 check sponsored by Michael Johannson. Raul Toledo’s NO WAY IN HELL received a Special Jury Prize mention in the category.
Joe Starzyk was the winner of the Oxford Film Festival’s Screenplay Competition for his script, “The Golden Years.” The film festival staged a live table read of his script and presented him with a Hoka Award and a $1000 check during the ceremony.
Kalainithan Kalaichelvan’s PETIT FOUR was the winner of the Artist Vodka Award. He received a trip to Oxford, along with the presentation of a Hoka Award, a bottle of vodka and a $10,000 check courtesy of Artist Vodka. Matthew Cipollone and Mikey D’Amico’s SIGNS received the Reel South Award.
Oxford Film Festival favorites Leslee Lin and Damon Burks were co-honored as this year’s Donna Ruth Roberts Volunteer of the Year Award recipients.
THIS WORLD ALONE – BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
Director: Jordan Noel
WRESTLE – BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Directors: Suzannah Herbert and Lauren Belfer
DOOR AJAR: THE M.B. MAYFIELD STORY – BEST MISSISSIPPI FEATURE
Director: John Reyer Afamasaga
SHARDE THOMAS: LEGACY OF THE FIFE – Special Jury Prize/BEST MISSISSIPPI FEATURE
Director: Jeffrey Dennis
NEGRO TERROR – BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY
Director: John Rash
DON’T GET TROUBLE IN YOUR MIND – Special Jury Mention/BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY
Director: John Whitehead
THE GOSPEL OF EUREKA – BEST LGBTQ FILM
Directors: Michael Palmieri, Donal Mosher
ALL WE ARE – BEST LGBTQ SHORT (TIE)
Director: Will Stewart
THE ONE YOU NEVER FORGET – BEST LGBTQ SHORT (TIE)
Director: Morgan Jon Fox
Roger Bart – Lisa Blount Memorial Acting Award
Suzannah Herbert and Lauren Belfer (WRESTLE) – Alice Guy-Blaché Emerging Female Filmmaker Award
Leslee Lin and Damon Burks – The Donna Ruth Roberts Volunteer of the Year Award
DEBRIS – BEST NARRATIVE SHORT
Director: Julio Ramos
AGE OF BRYCE – Special Jury Prize/BEST NARRATIVE SHORT
Directors: David Feagan, Brian Elliott
ESMERALDA – Special Jury Prize/BEST NARRATIVE SHORT
DirectorS: Paul Petersen, Rachel Emerson
THE CONQUEROR – BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Director: Timothy Blackwood
IT’S NOW OR NEVER: A RACE TO SAVE COLONEL PARKER’S COMPLEX – BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Director: Austin Daniel Blasingame
ROOTS AND WINGS – BEST MISSISSIPPI SHORT FILM (Pat Rasberrry Emerging Mississippi Filmmaker Award)
Director: Hanna Miller
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PAPA – Special Jury Prize/BEST MISSISSIPPI SHORT FILM
Director: Bennett Krishock
REMISSION – BEST FEST FORWARD EXPERIMENTAL FILM
Directors: John Charter, Paul Kaiser
FUN TO COOK “WORLD’S BEST FOOD” – Special Jury Prize/FEST FORWARD EXPERIMENTAL
Director: Dongjun Kim
MY MOON – BEST FEST FORWARD ANIMATION FILM
Director: Eusong Lee
THE BIRD & THE WHALE – Special Jury Prize/FEST FORWARD ANIMATION FILM
Director: Carol Freeman
“Wash My Hands” by Cedric Burnside – BEST MISSISSIPPI MUSIC VIDEO
Director: Christian Walker
THE GREAT DEPRESSION – Special Jury Prize/MUSIC VIDEO
Director: Jeff Gordon
THE MOON AND THE NIGHT – BEST STUDENT FILM
Director: Erin Lau
NO WAY IN HELL – Special Jury Prize/STUDENT FILM
Director: Raul Toledo
“The Golden Years” – BEST SCREENPLAY
Screenwriter: Joe Statzyk
PETIT FOUR – ARTIST VODKA AWARD
Director: Kalainithan Kalaichelvan
SIGNS – REEL SOUTH AWARD
Directors: Matthew Cipollone and Mikey D’Amico
DEBRIS – BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Director: Julio Ramos
THE TRAFFIC SEPARATING DEVICE – Honorary Mention/BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Director: Johan Palmgren