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Oxford Film Fest kicks off with red carpet event

The films were screened on Wednesday, the 16th annual Oxford Film Festival officially kicked off on Thursday with their red carpet event. In conjunction with Thacker Mountain Radio the festival was held at the Gertrude C. Ford Center on the University of Mississippi campus.

The night began with what has become a yearly tradition of Thacker Mountain holding one of their spring shows as a lead in for a special screening during the film festival. With a packed house Thacker showcased two authors and two musical acts, with one having a connection to this year’s film festival.

Host Jim Dees interviewed authors Snowden Wright and Sam Lipsyte before they read excerpts from their books ‘American Pop’ and ‘Hark’, respectively. Wright’s book, which came out on Tuesday, tells the story of the Forster family and spans across an entire century. It is a book that is fiction non-fiction and meshes fictional characters and events with real historical figures and events throughout his novel. Lipsyte’s novel ‘Hark’ is a satirical look at the world and its current events.

Intermixed with the author interviews, musical acts The Medium and Sharde Thomas with her fife and drum band performed. The Nashville based indie psycho-pop group The Medium played two songs before their show at Proud Larry’s later in the evening. Thomas showcased her fife and drum band based out of Senatobia with three songs before closing out the hour-long show.

Thomas has a documentary at the festival featuring her and her band titled ‘Sharde Thomas: Legacay of the Fife’ which tells the story of Thomas carrying on the tradition of the fife and drum music in north Mississippi.

Once Thacker Mountain concluded, those in attendance were greeted by film festival executive director Melanie Addington who presented a special Hoka award a few days earlier than the rest.

Ahead of the special screening of ‘Ghost Light’, character actor, and star of the film, Roger Bart was presented with the Lisa Blount Memorial Acting Award. It was created in honor of Blount who was a big supporter of the festival, along with her husband and actor Ray McKinnon. Blount tragically passed away in the fall of 2010.

Bart, who has acted in numerous films such as ‘American Gangster’ and stars in the Netflix show ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’, accepted the award before introducing the film along with director John Stimpson and co-wrtier Geoffrey Taylor.

The festival began in earnest on Friday with films screening at Malco Oxford Commons throughout the day and continues Saturday with a full slate of film and ending with the awards ceremony at The Powerhouse Arts Center. Festival winners and encore screenings will also take place on Sunday.

More schedule and ticket information can be found at oxfordfilmfest.com