As the Oxford Film Festival looks to future innovations including teasing their plans to bring the drive-in movie experience to town with OFF to the Drive-In, Oxford FF’s 6th Weekly Virtual Film Fest continues the film festival’s string of strong LGBTQIA+ programming with Li Cheng’s drama JOSÈ, a winner of multiple awards including the Queer Lion from the Venice Film Festival, and an encore of Angela Pinaglia’s film LIFE IN SYNCHRO, which follows athletes immersed in the unique world of synchronized skating.
Friday, May 29 also kicks off the presentation of Oxford Film Festival’s Artist Vodka short film programs. Audience members that tune in to see the three film programs will be able to cast votes and decide which filmmaker will get a check for $15,000. While the rest of the filmmakers will get a split of the ticket sales (continuing the film festival’s pledge to share the proceeds from the weekly film fests this year) one filmmaker will become a big winner with the audience’s help this year.
“Artist Vodka continues to be such an important part of our film festival by lending a big financial hand to one of our filmmakers as they have in years past,” Oxford Film Festival Executive Director Melanie Addington said. “And now our audience members can take a real active part in deciding whose name will go on that big check. It adds a rooting interest to the entertainment each one of these three programs delivers in a major way. I can’t wait to see who is going to win that prize.”
Films, events and descriptions:
Director: Li Cheng
Countries: Guatemala/USA, Running Time: 85 min
Winner of multiple awards, including the Queer Lion from the 75th Annual Venice Film Festival, JOSÈ is a gripping, layered and beautifully honest story about one working-class young man’s struggle to find himself. Made in the neorealist filmmaking tradition, the film is a nuanced and vivid look at being gay in Central America.
LIFE IN SYNCHRO
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.
Media Installation as a Platform for Storytelling
Media installations, especially when displayed in public spaces, are an effective way of communicating with audiences. This panel will include artists and filmmakers who utilize media installations in order to engage with their viewers, Topics such as methods, practices, and the importance of being able to communicate in this format will be discussed.
SHORT FILM PROGRAMS
Artist Vodka Block #1 – Global
TRT: 110:19 min
Director: Quinn Halleck
Country: USA, Running Time: 18:59 min
In an 80s dystopia world where technology knows you better than you know yourself, a teen, uncomfortable in his own skin, is willing to disguise his personality to be the person he has always wanted to become.
Director: Katyayan Shivpuri
Country: India, Running Time: 24:16 min
The comedian is a film about an ageing comedic actor in the Indian film industry (Bollywood) who has no laughter left in his life.
MARK MULEMAN MASSEY
Director: Michael Ford
Country: USA, Running Time: 11:36 min
A profile of Bluesman Mark “”Muleman”” Massey of Senetobia Miss. After a hard start in life music lead him a new futrue. He raises mules, sings, plays, and writes music in the North Mississippi Hill Country. Also in competition in Music Documentary Shorts.
Director: Elizabeth Tabish
Country: USA, Running Time: 22:13 min
California, 1968. Jane has the perfect life. A loving husband, a darling daughter and -hands down- the grooviest home in the neighborhood. But all that is no match for the painful memories of Jane’s childhood as they emerge on the eve of Mother’s Day.
Director: Lorraine Caffery
Country: USA, Running Time: 14:30 min
A father tells his daughter a cautionary tale to keep her out of trouble.
…SO IT GOES
Director: Jim Hall
Country: USA, Running Time: 1:25 min
A dictator with an orange for a face becomes the new symbol of fascism in this experimental FilmPoem. The color orange morphs into the ultimate hue of hate and destruction, the flame that ignites the world in a nuclear fireball….so it goes.
Director: Javier Molina
Country: USA, Running Time: 16:20 min
An 11-year-old biracial kid growing up in “the hood” secretly dreams of trick-or-treating as Wonder Woman for Halloween.
Artist Vodka Block #2 – Global
TRT: 85:54 min
Director: Russell Sharman
Country: USA, Running Time: 14 min
A young boy begins to suspect something happens to him at night. That he might turn into something wild and untamed. Until he meets a girl who might become something even more fearsome.
THE BEAR & THE BEEKEEPER
Director: Kristina Mileska
Country: Canada, Running Time: 13:24 min
An aging beekeeper tries to keep a pesky predator away from his beehives in order to keep the memory of his loved one alive.
Director: Bridget Moloney
Country: USA, Running Time: 11:05
An existential comedy about the mother of two young children who begins to spontaneously vomit plastic toy blocks.
IN THE FALL
Director: Tom Gentle
Country: Scotland, Running Time: 15:52 min
A remote coastal peninsula. A boy watches his parents as they decide whether to send their loyal working horse to the knacker’s yard; he now costs much more to keep than he earns for a family who tread the tightrope between survival and ruin.
LIFE AFTER DEATH
Directors: Noah Glenn
Countries: USA, Running Time: 13:37 min
In this light-hearted dark comedy, a man discovers an unconventional family when he is invited to a support group for the legally dead. When Vincent is caught digging up his own grave, two security guards are surprised to learn he has been declared dead. Soon he is invited to a “Living Dead Support Group” where the existing members share the funny stories of how they wound up legally dead, and ask Vincent to join them.
A LINE BIRDS CANNOT SEE
Director: Amy Bench
Country: USA, Running Time: 9:05 min
Separated from her mother by smugglers at the border, a determined 12-year-old sets out across a desert with only a plastic sack for protection from the cold, survives starvation on the streets of Ciudad Juarez, and escapes kidnappers to find her mother and a place where they can be safe again.
WE GO BACK
Director: Glenn Payne
Country: USA, Running Time: 7:51 min
Two well-meaning individuals risk everything to correct the very negative impact of their positive intentions.
Artist Vodka Block #3 – Global
TRT: 76:53 min
Director: Manuel Trotta
Country: Venezuela/Mexico/US, Running Time: 18:40 min
Beto returns to his remote hometown committed to taking his senile father to a care home in the city. But his father doesn’t want to leave without fulfilling his one last wish: to reach the moon to say goodbye to his beloved late wife.
IN THE BLOOD
Director: Regina Banali
Country: USA, Running Time: 6 min
In the old west, Sartana rides into town to score some cash, form a gang and settle a score. His ex Dolores has been hiding out with an unwitting suitor. She has secrets, they are catching up with her and she means to skip town but doesn’t make it out in time before having a shootout with Sartana and his gang.
IN THE PINK
Director: Katharine Stocker
Country: USA, Running Time: 13 min
One woman, one bathroom, one big diagnosis. When Marie discovers she has polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) she begins to question her sense of self as a woman.
THE INDIGNATION OF MICHAEL BUSBY
Director: Nathan Ross Murphy
Country: USA, Running Time: 19 min
A daydreaming cubicle worker contemplates another lousy day at the office.
OF MEMORIES AND MADNESS
Director: Maria Isabel de la Ossa
Country: Australia, Running Time: 6:13 min
The inner voice when navigating a broken heart while memories take you into the brink of madness.
SHORT CALF MUSCLE
Director: Victoria Warmerdam
Country: Netherlands, Running Time: 13 min
Short Calf Muscle is an absurdist black comedy about Anders. And Anders is different. But he doesn’t know that. Yes, he’s also gay, but that’s not the point here. There is also this thing that others see but he doesn’t.
Oxford FF Fimmaker Panel: Media Installation as a Platform for Storytelling
Panel discussion set for May 28 at 4:00PM
Artist Vodka Block #1
Live Q&A set for May 29 at 8:00PM
Artist Vodka Block #2
Live Q&A set for May 29 at 9:15PM
Artist Vodka Block #3
Live Q&A set for May 29 at 6:30PM
LIFE IN SYNCHRO Encore Q&A
Live Q&A set for May 30 at 1:00PM
JOSE Art House Cinema Screening
Live Q&A set for May 30 at 8:00PM