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Oxford Film Festival announces 2020 film lineup

This year’s Oxford Film Festival is taking place a month later than usual, which is good for executive director Melanie Addington, who had to sort through over a record 2,200 film submissions to curate the 2020 lineup.

On Wednesday, the lineup was revealed for the 17th annual event, which runs March 18 to 22 and features 35 world premieres and several special screenings. The festival will begin with its Opening Night Gala and include a a 30th anniversary screening of “Pump Up The Volume,” which stars Christian Slater as Mark, who runs a pirate radio station. The film’s director, Allan Moyle, and several others associated with the film will be on hand for a discussion following the screening at the Getrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts on March 19.

The closing night selection is titled “The Evening Hour,” and centers around a popular young health aide who lives in rural Appalachia and makes ends meet by distributing excess medication from townies to local buyers. The film will screen in Oxford following its debut at the Sundance Film Festival this month.

The lineup is highlighted by both a successful application of the 50/50 by 2020 gender filmmaker parity pledge, as well as another expansion of the film festival’s LGBTQIA+ categories. There were 32 feature films, 168 short films and eight music videos representing 26 countries selected for this year’s festival.

“We challenged ourselves this year to both achieve goals in line with our staunch support of female filmmakers, LGBTQIA+ and those with disabilities,” Addington said of this year’s line up. “We have embraced our role as leaders both in this city and the state in that regard, knowing that the filmmaking community and the public look to our film lineup and our presentations to match our public positions. However, this year, we also wanted to deliver big signature events to enhance our film lineup, so that Oxford film fans and Oxford Film Festival filmmakers can feel they have been part of something truly special at this year’s fest.”

Every year there is a community film, and this year’s is titled “The Golden Years.” Directed by Brian Whisenant, the short film centers around Mabel and Norman, a married couple who has been together for so long they feel they know all there is to know about each other. Oxford’s Susan and Johnny McPhail star in the film, which will be screened during the community film block and features one or both of the McPhails in each film. The block will screen at Malco Oxford Commons on March 18.

Ole Miss’s football program will be represented during this year’s festival with the world premiere screening of “It’s Time,” a film about the life of Chucky Mullins all the way to his untimely passing after sustaining an injury during a game against Vanderbilt. The screening is part of a special fundraising event at the Gertrude C. Ford Center on March 18. Following the screening, there will be a discussion panel including some of the actors and some of the people they portray, including Brad Gaines, who was the Vanderbilt player Mullins tackled that led to his injury.

Another unique event taking place during this year’s festival is a screening of the cult favorite “Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama” on March 20 at 8 p.m. The 1988 film will be screened as part the Bowl-O-Rama Party at Premier Lanes, which is connected to Malco Oxford Commons. Oxford Film Festival publicist John Wildman, who was a cast member of the film, will be at the event.

Mississippi Author Angie Thomas will be on hand for a conversation with a panel before revealing the winner of the newly-formed Angie Thomas Zeitgeist Award, which will celebrate a film artist from a diverse background each year who has exhibited a unique and clear voice through their work, on March 21. Thomas is the author of “The Hate You Give,” which was adapted into a blockbuster film.

The full schedule and film lineup can be found at http://oxfordfilmfestival.com. Tickets and festival passes can also be purchased at the website.