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Recap: The Oxford Film Festival

February 17, 2010

Melody wrote some reviews for Oxford Film Freak during the fest and posted her experience with the fest. Read below herRecap: The Oxford Film Festival experience:

By Melody Watson

The OFF was so awesome, it took me 2 weeks to recover.  I feel pretty safe in assuming that it is a festival like no other; I can’t think of any other film festival that allows those attending to get  in such close proximity with the film makers and guests.  At any point you might turn to find yourself standing next to an Oscar winner, a film maker, or a high-profile journalist; such was my experience, at least.

I was tremendously lucky to get a media pass, it let me watch all the movies my eyes could stand and I was able to attend all the amazing parties.  If you know anything about Oxford, we know how to party, OFF was no exception.  The parties were exceptional: the gorgeous Oak Hill Stables, the party at Southside Gallery, or the final festivities at the Powerhouse,  all were wonderful.  I can’t say no to open bars and delicious, snacky treats, my kudos to all the party planners, they definitely got it right.

The movies were outstanding and so were the people involved.  I can’t stress how great it is to watch a movie and then be able to ask the film makers about how or why they made the movie the way the way they did.  Of the film makers, I spent the most time with Oxford alum Carlisle Forrester  and her LA cohorts writer/actor Summer Sinclair and writer/director Angie Hill.  They were all apart the OFF award-winning short “Now or Never.”  We were fast friends and party pals.  Other fast friends included “Cigarette Girl” director Mike McCarthy and his beautiful wife Kim, Jim Granato, director of the touching documentary “D-Tour”, Jennifer Maas, director of  documentary “Wheedle’s Groove” and the entire cast of “Carried Away.”

I couldn’t help but bother the always charming and completely wonderful Elvis Mitchell, former movie critic for the New York Times and participant in the documentary “For the Love of Movies: a history of film criticism.”   He was sweet to put up with my constant prattling.  I had tons of questions for him, and his patience and kindness can’t be overstated.

Elvis also took part in a discussion with Oscar-winning short film director and actor Ray McKinnon.  I thought that this conversation was one of the highlights of the festival.  It mainly centered on Ray’s film work, but it also concerned the portrayal of the South in film.  It was one of the most thoughtful, enlightening discussions I’ve attended.  Ray McKinnon, winner of the OFF Lifetime Achievement in Film, and his lovely wife, actress Lisa Blount,  were both personable and humble and really good-looking in person.  It was pretty nice to meet my first Oscar winner and if you can find video of the discussion, it was amazing.

I made lots of new facebook friends and had a wonderful time.  My  most sincere thanks to Melanie, Michelle, and all the wonderful attendants and volunteers.  What a great week!

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