Oxford Film Festival 2021 Announces Ambitious Hybrid Fest Film Lineup



The 2021 Oxford Film Festival (March 24-28, April 1-30) announced the lineup of official selections for the 18th annual edition of the popular film festival which will be a hybrid presentation including 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, as well as 5 scripts selected for audience vote to win $1000 and mentorship by producer John Norris (Ma, Get On Up).

On March 24-28, screenings will be held all in the Oxord Commons area in two specially designed open-air circus tents, Malco Outdoor Cinema and a special drive-in at the Oxford High School. From April 1-30, Virtual Cinema screenings will be offered via Eventive globally.

The Oxford Film Festival is 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 an event like the film festival.

“As we continue to prepare for next month’s film festival, 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 we have designed specifically for this purpose – with safety always first, so we all can enjoy one of the best group of films we have ever had this year. 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.”

Joining the previously announced Spotlight films including Anne Rapp’s documentary Horton Foote: The Road to Home, and Olivia Peace’s wry coming-of-age comedy Tahara, are Special Screenings including a 35th Anniversary of Mississippi native Jim Henson’s classic favorite, Labyrinth. The David Bowie, Jennifer Connolly starrer about a teenage girls challenge to save her little brother from the Goblin King will only be available for in-person attendees.

Vanessa Roth’s Liberation Heroes: The Last Eyewitnesses, about veterans of WWII describing their experiences in the war and showing the parallels to challenges we face today is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Oxford and will be presented with a panel of documentary filmmakers discussing use of archival footage at the physical festival.

Regarding the Narrative features in Oxford’s lineup this year, programmer Greta Hagen-Richardson, said, “The events of the past year have required that filmmakers and festivals alike find creative and innovative avenues for storytelling. With a Narrative Feature lineup composed almost exclusively of filmmaker submissions, we spent the year truly embracing our role as a Discovery festival. Our filmmakers have taken limited resources and made exciting, fresh, and compelling work for our audience. The unique perspectives presented speak to who we are as a community in a time when circumstances have forced us to exist separately.”

Among the films selected for the Narrative Competition include the previously announced Dramarama, directed by Jonathan Wysocki, Megan Petersen and Hannah Black’s Drought, and I-Fan Wang’s Get the Hell Out. Joining those films in competition are; Michael Lovan’s Murder Bury Win, about three friends who have created a unique board game; Jake Mahaffy’s Reunion, (and Memphis producer Adam Hohenberg) a terrifying tale about a pregnant woman’s experiences after returning to her recently deceased grandparents’ family home to spend time with her estranged mother; and Lisette Feliciano’s Women is Losers, a 60s tale which follows a young catholic school girl’s efforts to survive her difficult home life.

“Oxford’s legendary eclectic culture is reflected in this year’s documentary feature selection providing films for any audience member, in-person or online, said Director of Programming, Donna Kosloskie. “Highlighting LGBTQIA+, and Music and Mississippi stories, the lineup also touches on issues of social justice, community and the power of creativity. An array of internationally renowned festival films and regional premieres round out this collection of progressive, nonfiction storytelling ensuring that the visions and voices on display are just as bold as Oxford itself.”

Among the films selected for the Documentary Competition include; David Delaney Mayer’s The Castle on Red Mountain about sculptor Robert Mihaly who, after 10 years, is returning to finish his biggest project to date: a whimsical 70-foot-high castle; Nathan Clarke’s The Passing On, which follows an undertaker’s efforts to pass along the legacy of Black funeral homes in San Antonio; and Cassie Hay and Amy Winston’s Queens of Pain, which follows the women of the Gotham Girls Roller Derby League; and Rebecca Richman Cohen’s Weed & Wine, which looks at the compar­isons and contradictions between France’s revered winemaking traditions and the the legal cannabis industry.

Also available only in person is Tamara Saviano and Paul Whitfield’s Without Getting Killed or Caught, which tells the true story of legendary songwriter Guy Clark, who wrote songs while balancing a complicated relationship marriage with his wife, Suzanna, and his friend, singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt.

Highlights among the expanded LGBTQIA+ program at the Oxford Film festival this year are; Lisa Donato’s festival favorite, Gossamer Folds, about a young boy with an unhappy home life seeks solace in an unexpected friendship with a transgender woman who lives next door; Eytan Fox’s Sublet, about a New York Times writer who goes to Tel Aviv to write an article on the heels of a personal tragedy.; Luchina Fisher’s Mama Gloria, about Chicago’s Black transgender icon Gloria Allen; and Aisling Chin-yee and Chase Koynt’s No Ordinary Man, which looks at the legacy of Billy Tipton, a 20th Century American jazz musician and trans icon.

Virtual only special screenings include Posy Dixon’s Keyboard Fantasies; The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story, which focuses on the black trans musician following the rediscovery of his 1986 album Keyboard Fantasies and Ryan Spahn’s Nora Highland, which follows the casting process of a notable gay character in an upcoming Broadway revival. A virtual panel discussion on queer representation in movies will follow the screening of Nora Highland.

The first ever feature for the Projections category includes the world premiere of Scott Bateman’s animated experimental feature film 5000 Space Aliens and will be presented on the Malco Commons outdoors on Friday night for free alongside other select Projections projects. Other films in the category will be exhibited the entire week of the festival at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center for free. Audience can walk up or drive by to participate.

To buy passes or tickets or find more information, please go to: https://www.oxfordfilmfest.com/.

Tickets are now on sale for both physical and virtual screenings. Closing night screenings and panel discussions will be announced at a later date. COVID-19 restrictions and rules are listed on the website.

2021 Oxford Film Festival’s Official Selections


Horton Foote: The Road to Home
Director: Anne Rapp
Country: USA, Run Time: 77 min. 
Horton Foote: The RoadtTo Home is a documentary that chronicles the creative journey of acclaimed Texas writer Horton Foote through his own eyes and voice at the end of his life.

Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story
Director: Posy Dixon
Country: United Kingdom Run Time: 63 min.
After his 1986 album Keyboard Fantasies is rediscovered, a black trans musician recounts his life as an out queer person and performer from the 60s to the present.

Labyrinth (1996)
Director: Jim Henson
Country: USA, Run Time: 101 min
Sixteen-year-old Sarah is given thirteen hours to solve a labyrinth and rescue her baby brother Toby when her wish for him to be taken away is granted by the Goblin King Jareth.

Liberation Heroes: The Last Eyewitnesses                                  Regional Premiere
in association with USC Shoah Foundation 
Director: Vanessa Roth
Country: USA, Run Time: 42 min  
Heroic World War II veterans vividly share their liberation journeys, drawing parallels between the past and the present.

Nora Highland
Director: Ryan Spahn
Country: USA Run Time: 63 min.
Nora Highland follows the casting process of a notable gay character in an upcoming Broadway revival and explores the phenomenon of straight performers being lauded for their work in queer roles. Adapted from a play of the same name this is a damning look at how and why over 60 straight/cis actors have been Oscar nominated for playing queer roles while only one queer actor has been Oscar nominated for doing the same.

Director: Olivia Peace
Country: USA, Run Time: 82 min
A queer, coming-of-age drama set in Rochester, NY about an anxious teen girl who is manipulated into a romantic encounter with her best friend during the funeral service of their former Hebrew school classmate.

They Found Me: Vengeance
Director: Bill Perry
Country: USA, Run Time: 70 min
The Nebulonians are an advanced alien species that have come to earth to conquer and destroy all humans. They have created a race of hybrid clones to infiltrate a human society called the X Models.


Bastard’s Crossing
Director: Travis Mills 
Country: USA, Run Time: 95 min 
Bastard’s Crossing tells the story of Cam Talcutt, a man who won a trading post in a card game. Now, he’s stuck in the wilderness trying to run it when he learns the freight company who supplies his store won’t be coming anymore. Mississippi Feature Competition.

Director: Jonathan Wysocki
Country: USA, Run Time: 91 min
In 1994, a closeted teen struggles to part ways with his 4 high school drama friends at their final murder mystery party before they leave for college. LGBTQIA+ Feature Competition.

Directors: Megan Petersen, Hannah Black
Country: USA, Run Time: 84 min
It’s 1993 and North Carolina is experiencing a historic drought but autistic teen Carl, fascinated by weather, predicts that a storm will soon hit nearby while his sister Sam crafts a plan to help him chase the storm. Narrative Feature Competition.

Get The Hell Out                                                                   Regional Premiere
Director: I-Fan Wang
Country: Taiwan, Run Time: 95 min.
Taiwan’s parliament turns deadly when a virus transforms politicians into ravenous zombie mutants. Narrative Features Competition.

Gossamer Folds 
Director: Lisa Donato 
Country: USA, Run Time: 96 min
A young boy with an unhappy home life seeks solace in an unexpected friendship with his next-door neighbor, a trans woman named Gossamer. LGBTQIA+ Feature Competition.

Murder Bury Win                                                                   Regional Premiere 
Director: Michael Lovan
Country: USA, Run Time: 90 min
Three friends have created a board game, Murder Bury Win, and they think it has what it takes to become a best seller on the indie charts. Narrative Feature Competition.

Director: Jake Mahaffy
Country: New Zealand, Run Time: 90 min
A pregnant woman returns to her recently deceased grandparents’ family home to spend time with her estranged mother. What begins as a reunion turns terrifying. Narrative Feature Competition.

Sublet                                                                                     Regional Premiere
Director: Eytan Fox
Country: USA, Israel, Run Time: 90 min
Michael, a travel columnist for The New York Times, goes to Tel Aviv to write an article after suffering a tragedy. LGBTQIA+ Feature Competition.

Women is Losers
Director: Lissette Feliciano
Country: USA, Run Time: 84 min
In 1960s San Francisco, bright and talented catholic school girl Celina Guerrera (Once Upon a Tine in Hollywood’s Lorenza Izzo) survives a difficult home life by following the rules. Narrative Feature Competition.


Bleeding Audio                                                                     Regional Premiere
Director: Chelsea Christer
Country: USA, Run Time: 91 min. 
From inspiring triumphs to heartbreaking setbacks, Bleeding Audio relives the explosive career of the Matches and explores what it means to succeed in the digital age of music. Music Documentary Competition.

The Castle on Red Mountain
Director: David Delaney Mayer
Country: USA, Run Time: 55 min
The Castle on Red Mountain is a documentary about a sculptor named Robert Mihaly who is returning to finish his biggest project to date: a whimsical 70-foot-high castle that he abandoned a decade earlier. Documentary Features Compeition.

Hungry to Learn 
Director: Geeta Gandbhir 
Country: USA, Run Time: 84 min 
Produced by Soledad O’Brien and directed by Geeta Gandbhir, Hungry to Learn shows the faces behind an American crisis — college students so strapped to pay tuition that they don’t have enough money to eat.

In A Different Key
Directors: Caren Zucker, John Donvan
Country: USA, Run Time: 102 min.
A mother tracks down the first person diagnosed with autism, now an elderly man in Mississippi, to learn if his life holds promise for her autistic son. Her journey through autism’s past and present uncovers much cruelty, framed by forces like race, money and privilege, but ultimately leads to hope. Also, Sid Salter, political columnist is in the cast. Mississippi Feature Competition.

Look Away, Look Away
Director: Patrick O’Connor
Country: USA, Run Time: 89 min
Look Away, Look Away is the story of the fierce 5-year fight over the state flag of Mississippi, the last of the original Confederate states to still have the Rebel flag in its design – a fact that warmed the hearts of many white Mississippians and angered most of their African-American and progressive white neighbors. But this documentary is about more than a flag – it’s about how race, heritage, and long-simmering grievances over the Civil War lead to a reckoning over the meaning of Confederate symbols. Mississippi Feature Competition.

Mama Gloria                                                                          Regional Premiere
Director: Luchina Fisher
Country: USA, Run Time: 76 min
Meet Mama Gloria. Chicago’s Black transgender icon Gloria Allen, now in her 70s, blazed a trail for trans people like few others before her. LGBTQIA+ Feature Competition.

No Ordinary Man
Directors: Aisling Chin-yee, Chase Koynt
Country: USA, Run Time: 84 min
The legacy of Billy Tipton, a 20th Century American jazz musician and trans icon, is brought to life by a diverse group of contemporary trans artists. LGBTQIA+ Feature Competition.

The Passing On
Director: Nathan Clarke
Country: USA, Run Time: 64 min
Three professions ushered former slaves from poverty to the American dream: preacher, teacher, and undertaker. Now, renowned embalmer James Bryant puts his faith in a new generation to continue the legacy of Black funeral homes in San Antonio, TX. Documentary Feature Competition.

Queens of Pain                                                                     Regional Premiere
Directors: Cassie Hay, Amy Winston
Country: USA, Run Time: 75 min
An intimate portrait of the athletes of Gotham Girls Roller Derby League, Queens of Pain follows Suzy Hotrod, Evilicious, and Captain Smack Sparrow, as they face the constraints of being a woman in America playing the sport they love. Documentary Feature Competition.

Rap Squad
Director: Nathan Willis
Country: USA. Run Time: 55 min.
Rap Squad is an intimate verité documentary about student hip hop artists who seek healing for themselves and justice for their Delta community through their music.

Surviving the Silence                                                           Regional Premiere
Director: Cindy L. Abel
Country: USA, Run Time: 79 min. 
Years before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Colonel Patsy Thompson presided over the board that dismissed Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer for being a lesbian, forcing her to confront her own secret and moral dilemma: she too was a lesbian.

Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance
Director: Khadifa Wong
Country: USA, Run Time: 94 min. 
Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance is a feature-length documentary celebrating the history, lineage, and future progressions of jazz dance.  With special appearances by Debbie Allen, George Faison, Chita Rivera, Camille, A. Brown and Thomas F. DeFrantz.

Music Documentary Competition
Vinyl Nation
Directors: Kevin Smokler, Christopher Boone
Country: USA, Run Time; 92 min
Vinyl Nation is a documentary dig into the resurgence of vinyl records, the diversification of vinyl fans, and the connective power of music. Music Documentary Competition.

Weed & Wine
Director: Rebecca Richman Cohen
Country: USA, France, Run Time: 89 min
Weed & Wine interweaves stories, urging compar­isons and teasing out contradictions between France’s revered winemaking traditions and the artisan culture emerging along­side the legal cannabis industry. Documentary Feature Competition.

Without Getting Killed or Caught                                      Regional Premiere
Directors: Tamara Saviano, Paul Whitfield
Country: USA, Run Time: 95 min
Without Getting Killed or Caught is the true story of Guy Clark, the dean of Texas songwriters, who struggles to write poetic, yet indelible songs while balancing a complicated marriage with his wife, Suzanna, and a deep friendship with singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt, on whom Susanna forged a passionate dependence.
Music Documentary Competition.



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