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Top Buzzed Films at Oxford Film Fest

January 29, 2009

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As published in the Oxford Town

The buzz is picking up around town for the 6th Oxford Film Fest, now only one week away! While booklets are now out around town at select locations, the real buzz is happening on-line with constant blog, Facebook, Myspace and Twitter updates from the fest folks.

If you have not yet explored the on-line schedule, I highly recommend it for several reasons: 1. You get to create your own calendar of events, films, etc.

2. The calendar optimizes for you – meaning it checks for any time conflicts so that you don’t miss any films.

3. You get to see a lot more details about the movies, including filmmaker blogs, behind-the-scene photos and more.

The kick off is next Thursday at 5 p.m. Check our coverage next week as The Oxford Town presents our special 4-page pullout section all about the Oxford Film Fest. For now, check out the on-line buzz at http://www.oxfordfilmfest.com.

Top Buzzed Films with One Week to Go

#10 “Last Cup: The Road to the World Series of Beer Pong” is a documentary following the 2006 Inaugural World Series of Beer Pong in Las Vegas. Yes, the traditional drinking game is now officially a competitive sport with teams winning up to $20,000 for the game. The film plays on Friday, Feb. 6 at 12:20 p.m.

#9 “$5 Cover” – the new MTV series had a sneak preview at Indie Memphis, then Sundance, and now Oxford Film Festival. Craig Brewer, the filmmaker originally from Memphis, will have the big premiere of the new show about Memphis musicians at this year’s SXSW Film Festival but we get to see it first!  Brewer is best known for his direction on “Hustle & Flow.”  Brewer is expected to attend. The MTV show will play at Saturday, Feb. 7 at 5:00 p.m.

#8 “Spitting Game: The College Hook Up Culture” is an interesting documentary about sex and college students. While promiscuity is not a groundbreaking topic, the filmmaker Denice Ann Evans explores the widening chasm between parent’s ideals of college dating and the modern student’s idea of hooking up. Evans will be at the fest for the Q&A. The film plays Saturday, Feb. 7 at 12:00 p.m.

#7 “Crude Independence” will have its World Premiere at the Oxford Film Festival. For those of you non-festival goers, a world premiere is a pretty big deal especially when Oxford, MS is in competition with thousands of other fest sites for a premiere. The director, Noah Hutton and producer Sam Howard, will be at the screening and will do a Q&A. Noah Hutton, the son of Debra Winger and Timothy Hutton, has made his first feature documentary about the riches beneath North Dakota. In 2006, the United States Geological Survey estimated there to be more than 200 billion barrels of crude oil resting in a previously unreachable formation beneath western North Dakota. With oil climbing to record prices and new drilling technologies becoming available, the area has become a free-for-all, as oil companies descend on small rural towns, like Stanley, N.D. (population 1,300), to negotiate land rights and mineral deeds with farmers and then start drilling into the shale miles below. The film plays on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 2:00 p.m.

#6 I first read about the documentary “Neshoba” during the trial of Edgar Ray Killen and have been looking forward to it ever since. “Neshoba” tells the story of a Mississippi town divided about the meaning of justice, 40 years after the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. Although Klansmen bragged openly about what they did in 1964, no one was held accountable until 2005, when the State indicted preacher Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old notorious racist and alleged mastermind of the killings. The filmmakers will be at the Q&A. The film plays Saturday, Feb. 7 at 10:30 a.m.

#5 “Sunshine Cleaning” is the fest opening night film alongside the local film “Double Decker Confidential.” Sunshine stars Amy Adams and Emily Blunt as sisters who begin a crime clean up business while dealing with life issues. While heavier on the drama than the comedy, the movie should hold up to a few laughs with Alan Arkin as their dad. The film plays Thursday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m.

#4 “Rattle Basket” is the second feature film from Director Thomas L. Phillips. Wherever Cerina Strickland and her sister Tabitha go, emotional devastation is sure to follow in their wake. Shielding them from the darker consequences of their fickle and self-centered relationships, Stuart Clemons has been their best and only, friend since childhood. But when Cerina, jealous for his undivided attention, tries to sabotage his burgeoning relationship with Bridgett, a whimsical divorcee she ironically fixed him up with, the girls’ friendship with Stuart becomes strained to the breaking point. Director Thomas L. Phillips will be there for the Q&A. The film plays Friday, Feb. 6 at 2:00 p.m.

#3 “Bama Girl” This documentary is about a young black woman’s quest to become the 2005 Homecoming Queen at the University of Alabama includes running against not only 15 other co-eds, but a strictly segregated Greek system, internal black politics, and, most ominously, a secret all-white association called ‘The Machine’ that has been controlling campus politics at the University for most of the past century. This is a film about black and white, about the Old South and the New South, and about an unexpected microcosm of electoral politics that mirrors much of what is happening across our country today. The film plays Friday, Feb. 6 at 2:15 p.m.

#2 “Ballast” is Lance Hammer’s beautiful and haunting tale of a family surviving the suicide of their patriarch. It was filmed in the Delta with a Mississippi cast and crew including local actor Johnny McPhail. If you ever read this column, then you have heard me talk about it how this is a cannot miss film. See it now and then watch the Spirit Awards on February 21 at 5:00 p.m. on the IFC channel to see if “Ballast” wins any of its six nominations. Some of the cast will be on hand for the Q&A. “Ballast” will play on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 6:45 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 8 at 2:00 p.m.

#1 “Prom Night in Mississippi” just had its world premiere at Sundance. Director Paul Saltzman took a camera down to Charleston as the high school had its first integrated prom. The year was 2008. I haven’t seen this one but have had lots of questions about the prom integration since I first read about it last year and can’t wait to see this. Paul Saltzman and a whole lot of the city of Charleston will be there for the Q&A. “Prom Night in Mississippi” plays Friday, Feb. 6 at 5:45 p.m. and again on Sunday.

(Melanie Addington is a full time writer for the Oxford Eagle but in her spare time spends too much time watching movies and then blogs about them at http://www.oxfordfilmfreak.com)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 1, 2009 12:45 pm

    Thanks Jason! I am sure it will be a great screening!

  2. February 1, 2009 12:38 pm

    I sure hope Rattle Basket wins an award. Of course, I’m a little biased. Hahaha!

    Good luck everyone! It should be a great fest!

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