Among 10 titles previewed are Spotlight presentations of Anne Rapp’s HORTON FOOTE: THE ROAD TO HOME, Olivia Peace’s TAHARA, as well as Chelsea Christer’s BLEEDING AUDIO, Megan Petersen and Hannah Black’s DROUGHT, and Cindy L. Abel’s SURVIVING THE SILENCE
The 2021 Oxford Film Festival (March 24-28, April 1-30) has announced an ambitious approach to the 18th annual edition of the popular film festival which will take place in an open-air outdoor theater, drive-in, and include virtual presentations as well. The premiere-rich schedule projects to close to 30 world premieres, 5 U.S. premieres, more than 60 Mississippi premieres, and 40 regional premieres.
Energized by the addition of newly upped Program Director Donna Kosloskie and new Narrative Features programmer Greta Hagen-Richardson, the Oxford Film Festival will follow the success of its virtual and pop-up drive-in innovations in 2020 by adding more films this year, nearly tripling its LGBTQIA+ features, expanding the music video category, and increasing the award monies for every one of the filmmaker competitions this year.
On March 24-28, screenings will be held in a specially designed open air Malco Commons Outdoor Theater and Oxford Film Festival’s two drive-in locations. From April 1-30, Virtual Cinema screenings will be offered via Eventive.
Oxford Film Festival’s Executive Director, Melanie Addington, said, “In a year of crisis, we were reminded that one thing remains constant: movies bring us together, bring out our shared humanity, help us navigate sorrow, joy, love, trauma, remind us to laugh, and keeps us occupied while sheltering at home. The selection made by the programmers this year was one recognizing exactly that. While we reckon with a better tomorrow, for now we can at least gather safely outdoors or virtually and celebrate one positive unifier: movies. We can’t wait to share the first portion of our 18th annual film festival slate with you.”
Spotlight films previewed from the 2021 slate include Ann Rapp’s documentary Horton Foote: The Road To Home, which lays out the creative journey of the acclaimed Texas writer through his own eyes and voice at the end of his life. The screening will mark Rapp’s return to Oxford, after attending the very first Oxford Film Festival 17 years ago. Olivia Peace’s wry coming-of-age comedy Tahara about two best friends learning surprising information about each other during the funeral service for their Hebrew school classmate, has won multiple awards on the film festival circuit thus far including Best Director at Women Texas Film Festival, Best Feature Debut at NYC’s NewFest, and a Special Mention at LA’s Outfest.
Additional films previewed include; Chelsea Christer’s documentary Bleeding Audio about one of the 90s most popular, yet unsung bands, the Matches; Jonathan Wysocki’s entertaining comedy Dramarama, about a group of drama nerd friends who get together for one last party after graduation before they each go their separate ways; Megan Petersen and Hannah Black’s drama Drought, co-produced by indie stalwart Mark Duplass, about estranged sisters who come together to help their autistic brother chase down a storm he’s predicted, and I-Fan Wang’s Get The Hell Out, about a zombie outbreak in Taiwan’s parliament.
Caren Zucker and John Donvan’s drama In A Different Key highlights the local Mississippi productions Oxford will feature this year. The film focuses on a mother’s efforts to track down an elderly man, who was the first person diagnosed with autism, hoping his life will hold some promise for her autistic son. The cast includes the Clarion-Ledger’s political columnist Sid Salter. Nathan Willis’ documentary Rap Squad looks at students helping to forge more promising lives via their participation in a high school hip hop class, who take their message for justice to their Delta community through their music. Cindy L. Abel’s inspiring documentary Surviving the Silence focuses on the story of Colonel Patsy Thompson, who presided over the board that dismissed Colonel Margarethe Cammermeyer for being a lesbian, while in truth and in secret, she too was a lesbian. Khadifa Wong’s endlessly entertaining documentary Uprooted – The Journey of Jazz Dance celebrates the history, lineage, and future progressions of jazz dance with “you would’ve never guessed it” stories and anecdotes by several dance legends including Debbie Allen, George Faison, Chita Rivera, Camille, A. Brown and Thomas F. DeFrantz.
The full film lineup for the 18th edition of the Oxford Film Festival will be announced on February 16.
To buy passes or tickets or find more information, please go to: https://www.oxfordfilmfest.com/.
2021 Oxford Film Festival’s Previewed Titles
Horton Foote: The Road to Home
Director: Anne Rapp
Country: USA, Run Time: 77 min.
Horton Foote: The Road To 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. Anne Rapp returns after 17 years.
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.
Additional preview titles
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Courtesy of Oxford Film Festival