THE 2021 OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES AWARD WINNERS

 

The 2021 Oxford Film Festival announced the award winning films and filmmakers at the conclusion of the in-person and drive-in portion of this year’s edition of the film festival on Sunday, March 28 at the Oxford Conference Center. This year’s awards, the newly named Ronzos, honor the memory of the late Ron “Ronzo” Shapiro, a beloved local art pioneer and longtime supporter of the film festival.

Lissette Feliciano’s Women is Losers was named Best Narrative Feature, which included a $15,000 camera rental package from Panavision, and Caren Zucker and Jon Donvan’s In a Different Key won Best Documentary Feature. The Best Documentary Feature prize also included a $15,000 camera rental package from Panavision as well as documentary editing feedback from Joe Shapiro. Both awards came with $500 cash prizes.

The presentation of the Lisa Blount Memorial Acting Award went to Alexandra Grey for her performance in Gossamer Folds, the first time that award has been given to a transgender actress. The Alice Guy-Blaché Emerging Female Filmmaker Award and $1000 from the Louis M. Rabinowitz Foundation went to Khadifa Wong (Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance), and the Reel South Award went to Zaire Love (Road to Step). The Angie Thomas Zeitgeist Award went to Max’ed Deeq, director of The Meaning of Daisey.

Travis Mills’ Bastard’s Crossing won the Ronzo Award for Best Mississippi Feature Film, Jonathan Wysocki’s Dramarama won Best LGBTQIA+ Feature, Chelsea Christer’s Bleeding Audio was named Best Music Documentary and Eytan Fox’s Sublet took the prize for Best Foreign Language Film.

Oxford Film Festival Executive Director Melanie Addington said, “Of course, we still have the virtual presentation of our films to look forward to, beginning on Thursday. However, as one of the first film festivals to offer in-person screenings and events since the pandemic began, this year’s edition will always retain a special place for both our film fans and especially for our attending filmmakers, as well as these award winners. Gathering under the big tents, the Conference Center and the Malco Commons to enjoy, be entertained, and celebrate a wonderful group of films and share in that enjoyment with others – even if were still socially distanced and wearing our masks, was truly special for everyone.”

This year’s edition of the film festival is looking forward in more ways than one, as it marks the transition from the Oxford Film Festival to an organization and year-round series of events, projects, and efforts on behalf of cinema, which has been officially rebranded as “OxFilm.” Regarding that change, Oxford Film Festival Chairman of the Board Steven Case, added, “What began eighteen years ago as a film festival has grown into a broad array of year-round programming and events. To better reflect this growth, the board of directors took the advice of an independent marketing firm to rebrand “Oxford Film Festival” to “OxFilm.” While the annual Oxford Film Festival will remain the marque event, sub-brands, such as OxFilm Drive-in, OxFilm Youth, OxFilm EDU and OxFilm On Demand, will enable us to highlight these additional programs and events. We are excited to see how the community continues to enjoy and participate in all of the great things OxFilm has to offer.”

Awards for short films, student films and music videos included; Navid Nikkhah Azad ‘s The Recess (Best Narrative Short); Kaitlyn Schwalje and Alex Wolf Lewis’ Snowy (Best Documentary Short); Manuel Marmier’s Kiko’s Saints (Best LGBTQIA+ Short); Christina Huff’s Genderf*ck Drag (Best Mississippi Short); Adam Bohorquez’s Millenium Hour (Best Student Film); Martin Gerigk’s Haiku (Best Fest Forward Experimental Short); Sasha Sivan Bortnik’s A Head Shorter (Best Fest Forward Animation Short); Chris Spargo’s Touch Tone Telephone by Lemon Demon (Best Music Video); and Greg Johnson’s The Vacant by American Automatic (Best Mississippi Music Video).

Films and filmmakers receiving Honorable Mentions included; Patrick O’Conner’s feature-length documentary Look Away, Look Away for its adept handling of the topic of Mississippi’s state flag; Chase Koynt’s No Ordinary Man for innovative storytelling; Alexandra Grey for her outstanding performance in Gossamer Folds; I Fu Chen’s short film 3:14pm for best proof of concept; Nicole Bazuin’s short film Modern Whore for innovation in storytelling; Kevin Staake’s short film Dieorama for uniqueness in subject matter; Eyre and Ely’s LGBTQIA+ short S.A.M. for authenticity onscreen; and Oscar Rene Lozoya II’s LGBTQIA+ short The Forgotten Place for outstanding screenwriting. Mississippi shorts receiving Honorable Mentions included Amile Wilson’s The Doll Lady and Brian Foster and Ethan Payne’s We Travel. Jared D. Weiss’s short The Beakmann Incident – also received an Honorable Mention, as did Justine Raczkiewicz’s music video for Top Knot Turn Up by Madame Gandhi.

Following a year where the Oxford Film Festival was forced to shut down its in-person screenings just a week prior to the fest and then, not only offer virtual screenings, but extended those presentations over a two-month period of Weekly Virtual fests, in addition to it’s Virtual Art House selections, and then introducing the very popular OFF to the DRIVE-IN presentations, the fact that the organization would be one of the first in 2021 to bring film fans and filmmakers back together again in the same physical space was to many a foregone conclusion.

The film festival utilized two large tents for open-air screenings as well as returning to the Oxford Conference Center and the Malco Commons following not one but two tornado threats to the area. The red carpet experience that has been another signature aspect of the film festival demonstrated a return in more ways than one for film in Oxford. Conversations and Q&As with filmmakers like Horton Foote: The Road to Home documentarian Anne Rapp, who was back for the first time since she was a guest at the very first Oxford Film Festival, the appearance of Donald Triplett, the first official diagnosed person with Autism and a Mississippi legend, with the film In a Different Key, and the celebration of several local filmmakers including the cast of the locally shot and produced Bastard’s Crossing reminded attendees of what Mississippi has looked forward to from the Oxford Film Festival for the better part of two decades now.

The virtual presentation of the Oxford Film Festival begins on Thursday, April 1 and continues through the end of the month. For more information, please go to: https://www.ox-film.com/.

 

2021 OXFORD FF AWARD-WINNING FILMS AND FILMMAKERS

 
Individual Awards
Alexandra Grey (Gossamer Folds) – Lisa Blount Acting Award

Khadifa Wong (Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance) – Alice Guy Blache Emerging Female Filmmaker Award

The Meaning of Daisey – Angie Thomas Zeitgeist
Director: Max’ed Deeq

Zaire Love (Road to Step) – The Reel South Award
$500 cash prize and airing of the film on PBS

Feature Film Awards

Women is Losers – BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
Director: Lissette Feliciano
$15,000 camera rental package from Panavision
$500 cash prize sponsored by Steven and Gay Case

In a Different Key – BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Directors: Caren Zucker, John Donvan
$15,000 camera rental package from Panavision
$500 cash prize
Documentary editing feedback from Joe Shapiro

Look Away, Look Away – HONORABLE MENTION
Director: Patrick O’Conner

Bastard’s Crossing – BEST MISSISSIPPI FEATURE
Director: Travis Mills
Cash Prize of $250 sponsored by Dr. Eric Springman and Kat Phillips
One-year membership and free equipment rentals from OxFilm Society.

Dramarama – BEST LGBTQIA+ FEATURE
Director: Jonathan Wysocki
Cash Prize of $250 sponsored by Robbie Fisher Productions

No Ordinary Man – HONORABLE MENTION (for innovative storytelling)
Director: Chase Koynt

Alexandra Grey (Gossamer Folds) – HONORABLE MENTION (for outstanding performance)

Bleeding Audio – BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY
Director: Chelsea Christer
Cash Prize of $250

Sublet – BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Director: Eytan Fox

Short Film & Music Video Awards

The Recess – BEST NARRATIVE SHORT
Director: Navid Nikkhah Azad
$250 Cash prize sponsored by Steven and Gay Case
Three days of audio post-production from Taproot Design in Oxford

3:14pm – HONORABLE MENTION (for best proof of concept)
Director: I Fu Chen

Snowy – BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Directors: Kaitlyn Schwalje, Alex Wolf Lewis
$250 Cash prize sponsored by Steven and Gay Case
Three days of audio post-production from Taproot Audio Design in Oxford

Modern Whore – HONORABLE MENTION (for innovation in storytelling)
Director: Nicole Bazuin

Dieorama – HONORABLE MENTION (for uniqueness in subject matter)
Director: Kevin Staake

Kiko’s Saints – BEST LGBTQIA+ SHORT
Director: Manuel Marmier
Cash Prize of $250 sponsored by Robbie Fisher Productions.

S.A.M. – HONORABLE MENTION (for authenticity onscreen)
Directors: Eyre and Ely

The Forgotten Place – HONORABLE MENTION (for outstanding screenwriting)
Director: Oscar Rene Lozoya II

Genderf*ck Drag – BEST MISSISSIPPI SHORT
Director: Christina Huff
Cash prize $250 sponsored by Beard & Riser
One-year membership and free equipment rentals from OxFilm Society

The Doll Lady – HONORABLE MENTION
Director: Amile Wilson

We Travel – HONORABLE MENTION
Directors: Brian Foster, Ethan Payne

Millennium Hour – BEST STUDENT FILM
Director: Adam Bohorquez
Cash Prize of $250 sponsored by Michael Johannson

Haiku – BEST FEST FORWARD EXPERIMENTAL SHORT
Director: Martin Gerigk
Cash Prize of $100

A Head Shorter – BEST FEST FORWARD ANIMATION SHORT
Director: Sasha Sivan Bortnik
Cash Prize of $100

The Beakmann Incident – HONORABLE MENTION
Director: Jared D. Weiss

Touch Tone Telephone by Lemon Demon – BEST MUSIC VIDEO
Director: Chris Spargo
Cash prize of $100 for MS Music Video and Overall Music Video
One-year membership and free equipment rentals from OxFilm Society.

Top Knot Turn Up by Madame Gandhi – HONORABLE MENTION
Director: Justine Raczkiewicz

The Vacant by American Automatic – BEST MISSISSIPPI MUSIC VIDEO
Director: Greg Johnson
Cash prize of $100 for MS Music Video and Overall Music Video
One-year membership and free equipment rentals from OxFilm Society.

 

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