As the Oxford Film Festival gets ready to kick off on Feb. 7, fans of narrative feature films can look forward to some familiar faces—from the Bandit himself, Burt Reynolds, to Evan Rachel Wood of “Westworld” fame—while discovering a wealth of new talent. The event shines a spotlight on female filmmakers in particular: Director Catherine Eaton has already made a splash on the festival circuit with “The Sounding,” and Akiyo Fujimura brings “Eriko, Pretended” all the way over from Japan.
Tickets for the event, to be held Feb. 7-11 at Malco Commons Cinema in Oxford, can be purchased here.
Here’s a look at this year’s selection of narrative feature films:
Opening Night Selection
“The Last Movie Star”
Director: Adam Rifkin
Cast: Burt Reynolds, Ariel Winter, Clark Duke, Chevy Chase
An aging former movie star is forced to face the reality that his glory days are behind him. On its surface, “The Last Movie Star” is a tale about faded fame, but at its core, it’s a universal story about growing old.
Closing Night Selection
“Mad to be Normal”
Director: Robert Mullan
Cast: David Tennant, Elisabeth Moss, Gabriel Byrne, Michael Gambon
During the 1960s, a renegade Scottish psychiatrist courts controversy within his profession for his approach to the field—and for the unique community he creates for his patients to inhabit.
Directors: Carlos Sanchez, Jason Sanchez
Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Julia Sarah Stone, Denis O’Hare
Plagued by the abuse of her past and the turmoil of failed intimate encounters, Laura struggles to find a lover and a sense of normalcy.
Special Anniversary Screening
Director: David Zucker
Cast: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Dian Bachar, Yasmine Bleeth, Jenny McCarthy
Two childhood friends are pro athletes in a national sport called BASEketball, a hybrid of baseball and basketball, and must deal with a greedy businessman scheming against their team.
Special Work-in-Progress Screening
“Circles” (Presented by Mississippi Humanities Council)
Director: Cassidy Friedman
A Hurricane Katrina survivor who works to keep black teenagers in school in Oakland, California, finds his personal and professional lives colliding when his 15-year-old son is accused of a crime he didn’t commit.
Director: Akiyo Fujimura
Ten years have gone by since Eriko moved to Tokyo to pursue her dream of becoming an actress. But things haven’t gone like she expected, and it seems there is no hope in sight. When she receives the news about her older sister’s sudden death, she returns home to attend the funeral, where her relatives question Eriko’s pretend life as a successful actress. On a whim, Eriko declares that she will take care of Kazuma, her sister’s 10-year-old son, while finding out that her sister worked as a mourner-for-hire at funerals.
Director: Catherine Eaton
On a remote island off the coast of Maine, Liv, after years of silence, begins to weave a language out of Shakespeare’s words. A driven neurologist, brought to the island to protect her, commits her to a psychiatric hospital. She becomes a full-blown rebel in the hospital, but her increasing violence threatens to keep her locked up for life as she fights for her voice and her freedom. At a tipping point for otherness in our current climate, “The Sounding” champions it.
Narrative Features Juried Competition
“Bernard and Huey”
Director: Dan Mirvish
Cast: Jim Rash, David Koechner, Sasha Alexander, Eva Darville , Richard Kind, Nancy Travis, Bellamy Young, Mae Whitman
Based on characters from Jules Feiffer’s Village Voice comic strip dating back to 1957, roguish Huey and nebbishy Bernard were unlikely friends in late 1980s New York. Twenty-five years later, Bernard is a successful bachelor, and Huey arrives on his doorstep looking old and washed up. As the two reconnect, Bernard starts a relationship with Huey’s estranged daughter Zelda. Huey slowly gets his mojo back and tries to seduce various women in Bernard’s life while reconnecting with his family. At least one of them is in danger of marrying a woman old enough to be his wife.
“Cop Chronicles: Loose Cannons: Legend of the Haj-Mirage”
Director: Mark Potts
Action, suspense, death, love, hot men—this is the story of two wild police officers, Higgs and McGraw, and their chase to take down Samir, an evil mastermind hell bent on making the world bow down to him.
“Door in the Woods”
Director: Billy Chase Goforth
A young family encounters paranormal forces and face a devastating choice after they install a mysterious vintage door in their home.
“The Drawer Boy”
Directors: Arturo Perez Torres, Aviva Armour-Ostroff
Set in Ontario, 1972, the film follows Miles, a naive actor from Toronto, who turns up at a remote farm run by two men: the ruggedly practical Morgan and the simple-minded Angus. However, when the farmers let the city-boy into their home, Miles’ search for a story gradually unearths a devastating truth that threatens to destroy the tranquil lives of his hosts forever.
Special to HottyToddy.com