Preview: Five filmmakers speak on Oxford Film Festival

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, March 1, 2023

For 20 years, the Oxford Film Festival has brought filmmakers, actors, videographers and guests to the city to showcase magic on the screens. Local filmmakers and filmmakers from around the country come to Oxford to speak about their feature films and allow the community to see their diligent work come to life on the screen. 

The Eagle spoke with five of this year’s filmmakers and actors regarding their art and the time it took to come to fruition. 


Fire Bones by Greg Browndervlle and Bart Wiess

Fire Bones by Greg Brownderville and Bart Weiss is story told in ten separate chapters that includes every art form available at someone’s fingertips. Brownderville calls this a go-show, a one-of-a-kind form of multimedia that includes still photography, podcasts, music videos, poems and incredible graphic design. The entire go-show itself is four hours long, however, at the film festival, only an hour and a half’s worth of the project will be shown. 

“You can click on an episode and you don’t know what it’s going to be,” Brownderville said. “It could be any of those platforms. That’s the journey.”

After ten years of the making, Fire Bones can finally tell the story of the Arkansas delta through whimsical, quirky storytelling and the first of its kind, go-show platform. To view the story, go to

The story will be presented on tonight at 5:30 p.m. at The Lyric. 


iMordecai by Marvin Samel

Lead actress Azia Dinae Hale spoke on her role as “Nina” in this film of self-discovery and the themes of life that will be shown throughout the show. 

“I think that the film is deeply human,” Hale said. “It’s a story about a family, love, and growing old. I think there’s always going to be something that someone will find relatable while watching the film.”

As “Nina,” Hale helps Mordecai by showing him how to use the iPhone, while they both embark on a journey that’s deeper than just a helping-hand. The pair become friends and allow each other to find forgiveness within themselves. 


The film is sponsored by the Jewish Federation, as the characters involved have ties to the Nazis during the war. However, Hale hopes that no matter what race, gender, or orientation, that everyone can find a piece of themselves in this tale. 

iMordecai will be shown on Friday, March 3 at 3:00 p.m. at the Malco 3: Kristina Carlson Auditorium. 


Oklahoma Breakdown by Christopher Fitzpatrick

After five years of filming and editing, Fitzpatrick is still grasping the fact that his first feature film is finally gaining the much-deserved attention. Oklahoma Breakdown tells the story of Mike Hosty, a musician and “one-man-band” who never wanted the fame that comes with being a well-respected musician/songwriter. Oklahoma Breakdown is actually the name of the 2007 #1 hit by Stoney LaRue. 

The musical documentary dives deeply into Hosty’s life and why he’s chosen a life of fine balance, with no desire for the limelight. 

The film has already garnered awards in the festival film circuit including Best New Feature at New Haven Film Festival and the Lonely Seal Film Festival and others. 

“It’s been great to walk out of a screening and have people want to talk about the film,” Fitzpatrick said. “I don’t care about me, I want viewers to understand why I did this film on Hosty more than anything.”

The film will be shown on Friday, March 3 at 2:30 p.m. at Malco 4: Selig Polyscope Company Auditorium. 


Youtopia by Scout Durwood

Writer, director, and star Scout Durwood is excited to show her creation in this year’s festival as her diligence in creating the feature-length narrative visual album includes her own music. The musician has 11 music videos that plug into the narrative, however, the musical numbers are self-contained or freestanding. 

“The narrative comes from frustrations with the political climate at the time, and the woman goes through a breakup and inadvertently succeeds from America,” Durwood said. 


After three years of the making, Youtopia exudes creativity and positivity in that it focuses on the woman’s own self-discovery through her own frustrations. 

“I think if the audience can take a sense that there is a revolution in finding joy, and you can find joy by following your heart rather than going through the motions of a society in order to feel like you have community or making progress,” she said. 

Youtopia will screen on Friday, March 3 at 5:00 p.m. at the Malco 4: Selig Polyscope Company Auditorium. 


Daddy by Neal Kelley and Jono Sherman

Daddy takes an interesting take on masculinity and reproductive rights as four men attend a government-sanctioned retreat in California in order to determine who has the capacity to be a father in this dystopian society film. 

“We’re very very excited that after months of waiting to get our festival circuit started that we get to be able to show at Oxford Film Festival,” Sherman said.

As directors, the pair are excited to showcase their film regardless of the struggles independent filmmakers undergo in the process. After struggling during the pandemic era, the pair found friends to help make this film come to fruition. For that, they are both extremely grateful. 

“You only get to premiere your first film once,” Kelley said. “So the fact that we chose to do it in a community that really loves and supports the arts is a real thrill for us.”

The Oxford Film Festival is showing 143 films and media projects starting today at noon.