Monday, September 28, 2020

Oxford Film Festival Presents 5th Virtual Film Festival Week

The Oxford Film Festival’s 5th Weekly Virtual Film Fest showcases put documentaries front and center with Theodore Collatos, and Carolina Monnerat’s QUEEN OF LAPA, about Luana Muniz, the colorful Brazilian transgender personality, who guides and protects transgender sex workers in Rio de Janeiro, and Angela Pinaglia’s film LIFE IN SYNCHRO, which follows athletes immersed in the unique world of synchronized skating.  Two shorts programs include a startling Black Lens Narrative collection and another edition of the Oxford Film Festival’s signature Fest Forward animated and experimental shorts. 

LIFE IN SYNCHRO will also be offered on Saturday, May 23 as part of Film Festival Day – Part 2, a nationwide event with close to 40 film festivals participating, with each film festival (including the Oxford Film Festival) sharing proceeds with the filmmakers. As part of the special Film Festival Day presentation, director Pinaglia and executive producer Nicole Davies will participate in a Q&A along with the film’s subjects Emily Fitzgerald (a former competitive skater on the Dearborn Crystallettes), Heidi Coffin (a 68-year-old adult skater on the Maine DownEasters), and Peggy MacDonald (who was a skater on the first-ever synchro team in 1956 and went on to coach the first-ever national champions of the sport in 1984), The Q&A will be moderated by Women Sports Film Festival’s Co-Founder Susan Sullivan. To purchase a ticket, please go to

“Our audiences have become accustomed to the Oxford Film Festival bringing the world to them via the documentary films we program,” Executive Director Melanie Addington said. “QUEEN OF LAPA and LIFE IN SYNCHRO are vastly different films, but share that sense of discovery, whether it be a transgender sex workers community in Brazil or the amazing women that make synchronized skating a sport that will surprise and excite you.   It’s also exciting to give a platform to the filmmakers and stories delving into the black experience in Mississippi, Memphis and this country through our Black Lens Narrative shorts program and the expected, yet unexpected cinematic visions our Fest Forward programs always deliver.”

Films, events and descriptions:

Directors: Theodore Collatos, Carolina Monnerat
Country: USA, Running Time: 73 min
Larger-than-life actress, cabaret performer, activist, and proud sex professional since the age of eleven, Luana Muniz – arguably one of Brazil’s most recognizable transgender personalities, shapes a new reality for a new generation of transgender sex workers in her hostel by providing a safe working environment in the dangerous neighborhood of Lapa in Rio de Janeiro. QUEEN OF LAPA explores the day-to-day lives, quests for love, housemate rivalries in a turbulent political climate under matriarch Muniz’s watchful and guiding eye.

Director: Angela Pinaglia
Country: USA, Running Time: 55 min
LIFE IN SYNCHRO follows a skating season alongside the stars of today, the newcomers, the passionate amateurs and the founders of the sport as they push their teams and themselves to be too good to ignore. But will it be enough to get their sport off the fringes and into the Olympic spotlight? From a young Team USA skater with big dreams, a 65-year-old amateur skater embracing this next chapter of life with her team, to a woman who was on the first synchro team back in 1956, who is now trying to get the founder of synchro, the credit he deserves for creating the sport that gave her so much, LIFE IN SYNCHRO interweaves each woman’s vastly different journeys, from all around the U.S., as they and these determined teams are out to prove the staying power of synchro.

Black Lens Narrative Shorts
TRT: 89 min

Director: Cathleen Dean
Country: USA, Running Time: 9 min
With poetic intensity, he describes a scene that far too many people of color have experienced. The tremble in his voice, the sweat on his brow shows us the buried pain as it bubbles to the surface. BEING, a deftly shot melodrama, takes us into the mind of the most targeted person in America – the Black man.

Director: Frantzy Moreau
Country: USA, Running Time: 14:43 min
Olly and Ade are two friends who cherish their bond and relationship. However, one strives to leave the environment by any means while the other grows dependent on their relationship.

Director: Amir Youssef
Country: USA, Running Time: 19:23 min
In an abandoned place where violence rules, only graffiti walls show compassion. David, a homeless man and a silent narrator follows the tags of a Latino Graffiti writer named Pedro.

Director: Nate Duncan
Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min
THE INTERVIEW is a film about a young man pursuing business success who, during a life-changing interview, comes face-to-face with the realization that he has lived a mediocre existence and lost sight of what is most important in life. He suddenly has to explain a lifetime of casual choices that will decide his very future.

Director: Zaire Love
Country: USA, Running Time: 4:46 min
MISS MAGIC follows Tyler, a non-binary person of color, who identifies as gay in the thick of Mississippi’s dust. Through creative montages, interviews, and observational footage, audiences are taken on a journey to witness the story of Tyler’s becoming.

Director: Kyle Taubken
Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min
Ben Whitaker, Jr., an aging and mostly washed-up songwriter from the 60s/70s era of big soul music, navigates loneliness, failed relationships, and a botched career in modern-day Memphis, TN.

Fest Forward #3

TRT:  49:17 min

Director: Shiyen Giselle Chien
Country: USA, Running Time: 6 min
The phenomenon of digital media affecting the brains of my generation in the way we think, the way we view ourselves, morphing our desires to become the false perfections of others.

Director: Raquel Salvatella de Prada
Country: USA, Running Time: 8:21 min
Part sculpture, part light installation and video animation, CORNERED is an immersive visual experience that represents the motivation and struggles of migrants making an attempt to cross the border from Morocco to the Spanish cities of Melilla and Ceuta situated on Africa’s mainland.

Director: Catalina Jordan Alvarez
Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min
Muñe, who has recently immigrated to Tennessee, knows how to fix appliances, and looks for parts in a steel salvage yard. She and the family who own it eventually connect by eating insects together.

Director: Alexandra Serio
Country: USA, Running Time: 11 min
An ASMR vlogger with a devoted fan base returns from an extended absence with a live stream that spirals out of control.

Directors: Martin Reinhart, Virgil Widrich
Countries: Austria/Germany, Running Time: 5 min
In a way never before shown, TX-REVERSE shows the collision of reality and cinema and draws its viewers into a vortex in which the familiar order of space and time is suspended.

Director: Laura Jean Hocking
Country: USA, Running Time: 2 min
A woman just wants to hang out on the beach in peace, but it’s all a lie.



Live Q&A set for May 22 at 8:00PM

Fest Forward Shorts Block #3

Live Q&A set for May 23 at 3:00PM central time


Available May 22 at 1:00AM central time

For the special Film Festival Day screening and Q&A, please go to

Black Lens Narrative Shorts

Live Q&A set for May 23 at 8:00PM central time

Release Courtesy of the Oxford Film Festival