Oxford Film Festival 2022 announces award winners and honorees

Published 9:21 am Friday, April 1, 2022

The 2022 Oxford Film Festival announced the award-winning films and filmmakers at the conclusion of the in-person portion of this year’s edition of the film festival at a warmly received filmmakers’ brunch event on Sunday, March 27 at The Lyric. 

Anna Baumgarten’s Disfluency was named Best Narrative Feature, which included a $15,000 camera rental package from Panavision, and Brandon Kramer’s The First Step won Best Documentary Feature. The Best Documentary Feature prize also included a $15,000 camera rental package from Panavision.

Ashley E. Gibson’s The Fearless 11 won Best Mississippi Feature. Her prize came with a one-year membership and free equipment rentals from OxFilm Society. Later, it was announced that Alysia Nahmias’ Krimes was the Barton Segal Audience Award winner.

For Baumgarten’s Disfluency, the jury stated, “With subtlety and a distinct sense of place, this film thoughtfully explores the nuances of reeling from and beginning the ongoing process of healing from trauma. This deeply empathetic film also manages to assert the possibilities of language outside of the spoken word through showcasing how forms of communication like ASL allow us to be open and embody our truth in ways that our voice may not.”

Kramer’s documentary about Van Jones’ efforts to achieve prison reform, The First Step elicited the following from the jury during its presentation; “As they advocate at the highest levels of government for the First Step Act, Van Jones and team remind us that everyone has the responsibility to recognize humanity and dignity in each other across the perceived differences and backgrounds that presently serve to divide us.

The First Step documents the tenuous nature of coalition building around social justice issues, offering no easy solutions to complex problems, and at the same time refusing to accept inaction as a path forward.”

The first presentations of the Oxford Film Festival’s previously announced Breakthrough Award and Rising Star Award went to Dale Dickey, the star of A Love Song, and the film’s director, Max Walker-Silverman, respectively.

Interim Executive Director Jim Brunzell made heartfelt presentations to both Dickey and Walker-Silverman were visibly touched by his words on their behalf.

That emotion carried through to the annual presentation of the Oxford FF’s Volunteer of Year Award, which went to video team leader Antonio Terrell, who was clearly surprised and delighted by the announcement and presentation.

Regarding this year’s edition of the popular event, Oxford Film Festival Director of Programming Justina Walford said, “I am so proud of what the programming team brought to this festival, and I adore every film and filmmaker I’ve met this year. I wish we could give an award to each film for the unique voice and vision they brought to our festival.”

Awards for short films, student films and music videos included Jack Reynor’s Bainne (BEST SHORT); Nolan Dean’s Nighthawks (BEST MISSISSIPPI SHORT); Christina Huff’s Slade Kyle (BEST STUDENT FILM); and Hunter Heath’s Every Breath You Take by Emily White (BEST MUSIC VIDEO).

Films and filmmakers receiving Honorable Mentions included Tom Huang’s dramedy Dealing with Dad. The jury stated, “This engaging family dramedy flips the cultural norm with a wonderful performance from the middle child, the only one their patriarch respects. Its perspective is a welcome change that moves the culture forward.”

Other honorable mentions included Pia Andell’s short film Rekonstruktio (for narrative achievement), Jonathan Thomason’s Divine Intervention: The D-Vine Spirituals Story (DOCUMENTARY SHORT); Sungbin Byun’s God’s Daughter Dances (LGBTQIA+ SHORT), and John Rash’s Sam Wang: Centrpetal Persistence (MISSISSIPPI SHORT).

This year’s film festival jury included:

Narrative Features – Tim Gordon (film critic, NPR, and Festival Director, Lakefront FF)

Kayla Myers (Programmer, Indie Memphis)

Eliza Hajkova (Manager of Development, SAGIndie)

 

Documentary Features – Jean Anne Lauer (Programmer, Fantastic Fest)

Nat Dykeman (Founder, Lake County FF)

Rachel Morgan (Creative Director, Sidewalk FF)

 

Music/Shorts – Geoff Marslett (Director, The Phantom 52, MARS)

Jennifer Merin (Editor-in-Chief, AWFJ)

Rich Gill (Program Director, Sound Unseen)

 

Mississippi Features & Shorts – Bradley Bishop (Founder, The Lyric)

Joseph Stinchcomb (Co-Owner, Bar Muse)

Mallory McClurg (Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits)

 

This year’s Oxford Film Festival had a decidedly different flair to it from the ringing of a gong to start the proceedings until the final screening, while still retaining the heart and joy the film festival has built its reputation on for nearly two decades.

Starting with a raucous Opening Night screening of Hugo Sobelman’s Soul Kids which brought Memphis to town (as the film festival frequently does) including a performance by the Stax Music Academy, music was one of many highlights this year, with performances prior to a number of screenings and the return of the festival’s long partnership with Thacker Mountain Radio.

Sunday featured an appearance by indie-music icon Suzanne Vega with the screening of her film Lover, Beloved about the legendary Carson McCullers, with the film’s director Michael Tully. 

Additional screening highlights with attending filmmakers included The Automat with director Lisa Hurwitz, Being BeBe with director Emily Branham and producer Marc Smolowitz, Cat Daddies with director Mye Hoang (which included the filmmaker’s introduction to Interim Executive Director Jim Brunzell’s cat, Bruce), and Dealing with Dad with director Tom Huang.

Once again, red carpets were a hit with the filmmakers who flocked to Oxford for the film festival, as was the infusion of creatively themed parties and special panel events throughout the film festival including a “Roaring 20’s Celebration”, a Filmmaker Roundtable and Songwriters in the Round, and a “Casino Royale Party”.

However, no event epitomized the spirit and soul of the Oxford Film Festival more than the Tribute to Bill Luckett. The nearly sold-out event celebrated the life of the beloved Mississippi film producer, actor, businessman, arts supporter, former mayor of Clarksdale, and ubiquitous presence in the community.

The evening reminded everyone of the strength of film in Mississippi and the people who continue to make it grow through the story and remembrance of Luckett’s life that evening. 

The virtual presentation of the Oxford Film Festival continues through Sunday, April 3. For more information, please go to: https://www.ox-film.com/.

 

2022 OXFORD FF AWARD-WINNING FILMS AND FILMMAKERS 

Individual Awards

Dale Dickey – Oxford Film Festival Breakthrough Award 

Max Walker-Silverman – Oxford Film Festival Rising Star Award

Antonio Terrell – Oxford Film Festival Volunteer of the Year

 

Feature Film Awards

Disfluency – BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE

Director: Anna Baumgarten

$15,000 camera rental package from Panavision

Dealing with Dad – HONORABLE MENTION

Director: Tom Huang 

The First Step – BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Director: Brandon Kramer

$15,000 camera rental package from Panavision

The Fearless 11 – BEST MISSISSIPPI FEATURE

Director: Ashley E. Gibson 

One-year membership and free equipment rentals from OxFilm Society

 

Barton Segal Audience Award

Krimes

Director: Alysia Nahmias

 

Short Film & Music Video Awards

Bainne – BEST SHORT

Director: Jack Reynor

Three days of audio post-production from Taproot Design in Oxford

Nighthawks – BEST MISSISSIPPI SHORT

Director: Nolan Dean  

One-year membership and free equipment rentals from OxFilm Society

Slade Kyle – BEST STUDENT FILM

Director: Christina Huff 

Three days of audio post-production from Taproot Design in Oxford

Every Breath You Take by Emily White – BEST MUSIC VIDEO

Director: Hunter Heath 

Rekonstruktio– HONORABLE MENTION (for narrative achievement)

Director: Pia Andell

Divine Intervention: The D-Vine Spirituals Story – HONORABLE MENTION 

(DOCUMENTARY SHORT)

Director: Jonathan Thomason 

God’s Daughter Dances – HONORABLE MENTION (LGBTQIA+ SHORT) 

Director: Sungbin Byun

Sam Wang: Centrpetal Persistence – HONORABLE MENTION (MISSISSIPPI SHORT)

Director: John Rash 

 

Screenplay Competition

“Nando”

Writer: Luis Agusto Figueroa

$1000 cash prize