The 16th annual Oxford Film Festival began yesterday, celebrating the art of independent cinema. OFF hopes to make the five-day event accessible and affordable to all working closely with the University of Mississippi, and students have opportunities to get involved and attend the event.
The festival provides a space for up-and-coming filmmakers around Oxford to showcase their work, and Ole Miss, one of the festival’s major sponsors, will host tonight’s programming at the Gertrude C. Ford Center.
“Oxford Film Fest works really closely with the university, and students are the majority of our volunteers, as it is a way for them to get real world experience in the film industry,” OFF executive director Melanie Addington said. “A bunch of films at the festival are connected to the university. Many students, professors and alumni have pieces that are being played. They are a huge part of the Oxford Film Fest.”
The university’s partnership with OFF makes for more opportunities for students to attend or otherwise get involved. This year, OFF added a student-exclusive VIP pass that college and high school students can purchase for access to all five days of the event.
“With the new film major on campus, we wanted to make sure to really provide an easily accessible pass for students from here on out” Addington said. “The Oxford Film Festival prides itself on inclusivity and hopes to give every student the opportunity to attend the event.”
Students can have the full VIP experience for $50 — access to all films, workshops, parties and the green room. In these spaces, student film enthusiasts can network with big-name filmmakers, writers and directors. There are also several free panels, and tickets can be purchased for individual screenings.
Besides student discounts, each year OFF finds Ole Miss student interns in a variety of fields, including production, event planning and marketing, to help put on the festival. This year’s class of student interns is one of the biggest in the festival’s history.
Sophomore film production major Lucinda Roberts works closely with the festival’s directors and helps to film and edit events to promote the festival.
“Through this opportunity, I am really getting a sense into what my future career will be like, and I am learning so much,” Roberts said.
Junior integrated marketing communications major Anna Davalos said the “fun” festival internship is a great way for those interested in the film industry to network.
“It’s so much fun having a younger audience meet and blend with film writers, producers and editors,” Davalos said. “It’s also a great event to attend if you are interested in the film industry because you can meet with some big-name producers and filmmakers.”