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Oxford Film Festival announces plans for hybrid event in 2021

The Oxford Film Festival learned to adapt this year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is planning to keep some of those changes for next year.

Last month, festival organizers announced the dates for the 2021 event which is scheduled for March 24 through 28. This year’s festival was the first to be held outside of February, but was eventually postponed and transitioned into a virtual event over the course of the summer due to the pandemic.

With this year’s Oxford Film Festival shifting to Zoom panels and Q&A sessions, with filmmakers along with streaming most of the movies that would have been seen at the Malco Oxford Commons theater this spring, the festival will keep with theme as it turns into a hybrid affair next year.

There will be virtual and drive-in presentations along with the traditional screening of films at theaters, if they are back open come next spring.

“Since the moment the stark reality of what needed to be done to prioritize everyone’s health, including our filmmakers, our audiences, and our staff, became apparent, we immediately looked for alternative ways to not just bring our films to people, but ensure they still connected, even if that connection needed to come via a video screen,” said OFF executive director Melanie Addington. “Our staff, supported by our board, have continued to explore new ways to benefit our filmmakers and to reach out to our traditionally loyal audiences here in Oxford, but to reach out to new audiences as well. We quickly turned the corner from being reactive to the pandemic to being proactive in what we could do differently, and better. In many ways, it has been exciting.”

For the past 14 weeks, the festival has offered screenings and panels virtually as well as the addition of the OFF to the Drive-In that began last month and expanded to a second location in Water Valley this month.

Submissions for the 2021 Oxford Film Festival are currently being accepted with the early deadline period set for Sept. 30. For more information about next year’s festival or to submit a film, visit oxfordfilmfest.com.