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Oxford Film Festival announces lineup for final two weeks of virtual fest

The Oxford Film Festival’s transition to a virtual event in 2020 is quickly coming to a close next month.

Organizers announced lineups for the final two weeks of the virtual festival earlier this week, which begins on Saturday and runs through Aug. 17. This year’s event pivoted to the digital format after having to cancel the in-person festival back in March for the first time in its 17 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This week’s lineup includes several documentary’s including Ron Howard’s “Rebuilding Paradise” that shifted to a digital release as it adapted to theaters being closed since the spring due to the pandemic.

“We are nearing the end of the virtual festival with our last Q&As focused on Mississippi filmmakers and one of my favorite films, “Freeland,” which has one of the bumpiest feature film experiences this year so we are overjoyed to make that film our Closing “Night” feature, while continuing to provide a safe entertainment drive-in for Oxford and Water Valley,” said OFF executive director Melanie Addington.

Becoming available to watch on Aug. 6, “Freeland” centers around an outlaw marijuana farmer who fights to preserve her way of life after being forced to go legal. The move is directed by Kate McLean and Mario Furloni.

Another feature film available during the final two weeks of the festival is Haroula Rose’s “Once Upon a River.” The film is based on the best-selling novel by Bonnie Jo Campbell and is the story of a Native American teenager named Margo Crane who is living in rural Michigan during the 1970s and sets out on an odyssey on the Stark River after enduring a series of traumas and tragedies.

The film is available to rent, along with a Q & A session which will be available to watch on Aug. 3.

A group of Mississippi short films will be available to watch beginning Aug. 7 and includes seven different short films.

The Ron Howard documentary “Rebuilding Paradise” is about a wildfire that was started from a spark from a transmission line and burns down the town of Paradise, Calif. By the time the fire was put out, 85 people had lost their life with 50,000 residents displaced from their home and 95 percent of local structures were destroyed.

The documentary became available to watch on July 31.

All tickets and further information regarding the final two weeks of the film festival can be found at oxfordfilmfest.com.

“As we finally get to start looking ahead to 2021, I can’t help but reflect on how generous our community and filmmakers have been in supporting us to keep afloat during this time,” Addington said. “While our goal is to build community, it is nice to be reminded that the community also helps build us up.”

The OFF to the Drive-In event at both the Oxford and Water Valley locations will continue through the month of August. It is $20 per car with the Oxford location having a maximum capacity of 40 cars and the Water Valley location able to have up to 60 cars.

At the Oxford location, which is next to Cannon Motors on Highway 6, the OFF official selection “Star Light” will be shown on Aug. 5. Other upcoming showings include “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (Aug. 6), Tim Burton’s “Batman” (Aug. 7), “The Goonies” (Aug. 8), “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” (Aug. 13), “Aquaman” (Aug. 14), “Beetlejuice” (Aug. 15), and “Shawshank Redemption” (Aug. 16).

The Water Valley location, which is at 1004 Central Street, will have a free showings of “Back to the Future” on Aug. 2 and Aug. 3. Pixar’s “Monsters Inc.” will be shown on Aug. 6 followed by “Dirty Dancing” (Aug. 7), “Purple Rain” (Aug. 8), “The Lego Movie” (Aug. 13), Tim Burton’s “Batman” (Aug. 14), and “Unforgiven” (Aug. 15).