The Oxford Film Festival Goes Virtual

THE KILLING OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN (Courtesy of Redbird Entertainment)
GREASE

Recently, some events from the Oxford Film Festival came our way.  Focused on film festivals in other parts of the country, our reaction was “Who knew?” And, look what is going on.

The Oxford Film Festival was founded in 2003 to bring exciting, new, and unusual films (and the people who create them) to North Mississippi. The annual five-day festival screens short and feature-length films in both showcase and competition settings. The festival is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. For more information, visit the website

Films, events and descriptions

WHAT: The Oxford Film Festival’s 9 th Weekly Virtual Film Fest, Virtual Art House and OFF to the DRIVE IN films will be highlighted by hard hitting documentaries and music. The virtual presentation of this year’s Best Narrative Award winner, David Midell’s THE KILLING OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN is a riveting and devastating dramatization of the death of a black veteran at the hands of the police, while the OFF to the DRIVE IN screening of Casey W. Phillips’ WIN, LOSE OR DRAW STRAWS will give rare insight into how we elect people in this country.

WIN, LOSE, OR DRAW STRAWS (Courtesy of PWR.house)

Other award winners getting to shine this week are an extension of Erin Palmquist’s LGBTQIA+ winner FROM BAGHDAD TO THE BAY, as well as the LGBTQIA+ short film block featuring Patrick G. Lee’s winning film, UNSPOKEN, in celebration of Pride Month.

There’s music to spare this week thanks to the virtual celebration of local musical talent with YAC PRESENTS OXFORD SONGWRITERS, the Virtual Art House selection of the award-winning documentary, ALL I KNOW, about the tragic musical supernova that was Blind Melon’s Shannon Hoon, Tamir x Singleton’s 16 BARS about four incarcerated men who work on a recording with Arrested Development’s Todd “Speech” Thomas, Leslie Woodhead’s documentary on one of the all-time great singers, ELLA FITZGERALD:JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS, and one of the most beloved musical classics of all time, Randal Kleiser’s GREASE, presented at OFF to the DRIVE IN. And if all that wasn’t enough, we have four words for you:

QUARANTINE CAT FEST (Courtesy of Quarantine Cat Fest)

QUARANTNE CAT FILM FESTIVAL

Executive Director Melanie Addington said. “This week’s lineup includes some of the most powerful political commentary from THE KILLING OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN at the virtual fest to WIN, LOSE OR DRAW STRAWS at the drive in, but we also intermixed with some fun and nostalgia because great movies don’t just move you emotionally but sometimes just in song and dance like GREASE.

WEEKLY VIRTUAL FILM FEST TICKETS:

THE KILLING OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN – Open in Mississippi and Tennessee

LGBTQIA+ Block – Open Globally

THE RABBI GOES WEST – Open to Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama

WIN, LOSE, OR DRAW STRAWS

June 25 at 8:00PM at Cannon Lot (100 Thacker loop)

Pre-purchases only

GREASE

June 26 at 8:00PM at Cannon Lot (100 Thacker loop)

Pre-purchases only

GREASE

June 27 at 8:00PM at Cannon Lot (100 Thacker loop)

Pre-purchases only

Films, events and descriptions

OXFORD WEEKLY VIRTUAL FEST

THE KILLING OF KENNETH CHAMBERLAIN – Narrative Feature Winner

Director: David Midell

Country: USA, Running Time: 86 min

Based on the true story of the events that led to the death of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., an elderly African American veteran with bipolar disorder, who was killed during a conflict with police officers who were dispatched to check on him. Proceeds for this film will go to Social Responsibility Unit Chamberlain Jr. created under the Urban League of Westchester.

THE RABBI GOES WEST (Courtesy of Big Sleep Films)

THE RABBI GOES WEST

Directors: Amy Geller and Gerald Peary

Country: USA, Running Time: 82 min

A fish out of water story about a young and charismatic Hasidic Chabad rabbi who moved from Brooklyn, NY to Bozeman, Montana to bring his brand of Judaism to the American west. His mission: to place a Mezuzah, an encased prayer offering, on the doorpost of every Montana Jew. As he travels across this “big sky” landscape, he confronts threats to Jews from neo-Nazis and objections to his proselytizing from members of the Jewish community.

FROM BAGHDAD TO THE BAY (LGBTQIA+ Feature Winner extended to June 30)Director: Erin Palmquist

Country: USA, Running Time: 68:21 min

From Baghdad to The Bay is a raw and deeply personal look at one man’s harrowing journey to be true to himself amidst extreme adversity. The film follows the epic journey of Ghazwan Alsharif, an Iraqi refugee and former translator for the U.S. military. Wrongfully accused of being a double agent, tortured by the U.S. military and ostracized from family and country, Ghazwan struggles to rebuild his life in the United States while coming out as an openly gay activist.

SHORT FILM PROGRAM

LGBTQIA+ Shorts #2

TRT: 74:15 min

2 WEEKS

Director: Victoria Negri

Country: USA, Running Time: 10:30 min

Tanya’s sanity is tested as she wakes up to the realization that she does not experience sexual attraction the way the majority of the world does. Sexualization is thrown at her in everything she does, forcing her to understand that something is different inside of her. As an actor in an industry that perpetuates womxn’s worth based on sex appeal and an immediate circle of friends whoa are “woke” to femxle sexual empowerment, she can no longer lie to herself or to the person she values the most.

DEAR HUBERT CREEKMORE

Director: Mary Stanton Knight

Country: USA, Running Time: 15 min

How much does a place hold onto a person? How do the memories of a childhood hometown resonate decades later in the works of a writer? Dear Hubert Creekmore explores the connection between the past, our memories of growing up, and how we remember those who came before us.

QUEERING THE SOUTH THROUGH DRAG

Director: Christina Huff

Country: USA, Running Time: 13:39 min

Drag queens GoDiva Holliday and DeePression Holliday recount their experiences as drag performers in the American South and speak about topics such as family and gender.

TOUCHSCREEN

Director: Arthur Halpern

Country: USA, Running Time: 14:59 min

Brian drifts through life using a computer monitor as his window to the world outside, unable to connect meaningfully with people on the other side of his screen. After an unusual online encounter, Brian is challenged to step out from behind his computer and shatter long-lived inhibitions to claim the touch of another human being.

UNSPOKEN – LGBTQIA Short Winner

Director: Patrick G. Lee

Country: USA, Running Time: 17:07 minThrough letter-writing, a community discussion, and a drag performance, six queer and trans Asian Americans grapple with their queerness and consider what family acceptance might look like.

VIRTUAL ART HOUSE

16 BARS

Director: Tamir x Singleton

Country: USA, Running Time: 94 min

16 BARS is a feature-length music doc that offers a rare glimpse at the human stories — and songs — that are locked away in our nation’s jails and prisons. In a Virginia jail’s makeshift recording studio, four men collaborate on an album with Grammy-winning recording artist, Todd“Speech” Thomas, from the hip-hop group Arrested Development. With the U.S. locking up more of its citizens per capita than any other nation on the planet, the music of 16 Bars serves as rare testimony to the raw and messy truth behind the criminal justice system‘s revolving door.

ALL I CAN SAY (Courtesy of Double E Pictures)

ALL I CAN SAY

Directors: Danny Clinch, Taryn Gould

Coleen Hennessy, Shannon Hoon

Country: USA, Running Time: 102 min

Shannon Hoon, lead singer of the rock band Blind Melon, filmed himself from 1990-95 with a Hi8 video camera, recording up until a few hours before his sudden death at the age of 28. His camera was a diary and his closest confidant. In the hundreds of hours of footage, Hoon meticulously documented his life – his family, his creative process, his television, his band’s rise to fame and his struggle with addiction.

ELLA FITZGERALD: JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS

Director: Leslie Woodhead

Country: USA, Running Time: 89 min

Film looks at the life and career of the legendary and unique songstress, Ella Fitzgerald

QUARANTINE CAT FILM FESTIVAL

Director: Various

Country: USA, Running Time: Multiple

Amateur filmmakers from around the world filmed their beloved cats during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. This compilation reel brings together the cutest, funniest, bravest and most loving of these videos, exclusively filmed during the pandemic.

THE LAST TREE

Director: Shola Amoo

Country: UK, Running Time: 98 min

After a happy childhood in the countryside, a teenager moves to London, where he must navigate an unfamiliar environment on his road to adulthood.

YAC PRESENTS OXFORD SONGWRITERS

Director: Various

Country: USA, Running Time: Multiple

The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, The Local Voice and Mississippi Presenters Network hosted the Social Distancing Songwriter Contest in the spring. The goal was to highlight the talent in the community and offer an experience that engages listeners. The Film Festival is going a step further and donating proceeds from the videos you will stream here to the artists and to YAC for their support of the talented community. We are also launching an audience vote to give one of the musicians an extra $100 boost with the winner announced on July 17!  So share far and wide for the one you want to win!

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