The 15th Annual Oxford Film Festival kicked off its first full day of screenings today, and among the impressive list of short films, documentaries, feature films, panels, and music videos are three films that rank as must-see pieces.
1The Process: The Way of Pablo Sierra
This documentary, directed by Oxford physician Jeff Dennis, follows the pottery-making method of Spanish native and former Ole Miss track star Pablo Sierra. The documentary tracks Sierra as he extracts clay from the earth in Yocona, molds and shapes his pieces, fires them in a kiln, and finishes them.
“To watch Pablo make the pottery is amazing,” said Dennis. “Everything he does is from the area. The pieces are made with Lafayette County clay, and the glaze is ash that he burns from woods from around his farm. There’s nothing that’s not native to Lafayette County in his work. Pablo’s thing is not the glamor or whatever else that goes on with this, but it’s the absolute process and what goes into it that makes it special.”
Partnering with Life Long Productions and Derek Brown, Dennis created a film that explores Sierra’s process and how he uses the earth to create each piece of pottery he makes.
Sunday, Feb. 11: 12:15 p.m.
Malco Screen 1
This heart-wrenching documentary tells the true story of the Broberg family and how their neighbor kidnapped their young daughter not once, but twice.
In 1974, neighbor Robert Berchtold abducted and brainwashed 12-year-old Jan Broberg. Over a month later, the two were found, and Berchtold served 19 days in jail. Less than two years later, Berchtold came into then 14-year-old Broberg’s bedroom and kidnapped her for a second time. This time, the two disappeared for five months before the FBI found Broberg in California.
Broberg, now an actress in Hollywood, has given director Skye Borgman access to her story, her family’s history, and the legal files from that time. Forty years later, Borgman is helping Broberg bring her story to light and making people have uncomfortable conversations about these real issues.
“One of the big reasons that we did this film is because, all of Jan’s life people, have not talked about this issue, and Jan was very interested in getting it out there and talking about it,” said Borgman. “This topic is not something that people want to talk about, and it’s not something that people feel comfortable talking about. This film is an important film to start the conversation, to show that these things can and do happen.”
Friday, Feb. 9: 8 p.m.
Malco Screen 4
Saturday, Feb. 10: 2:45 p.m.
Malco Screen 2
This feature-length piece was filmed off the coast of Maine on a breathtakingly beautiful remote island. The story centers around Liv, a woman who chooses silence and only expresses herself through the words of Shakespeare. Director Catherine Eaton, who plays Liv in the film, was inspired to create this piece by her own love of Shakespeare and the way humans express themselves.
“One night I pulled out my complete works of Shakespeare, and I just started tearing out the pieces that I love,” said Eaton. “I just craved being surrounded by the language. By morning, I could see the connection between the pieces, the characters from different plays, and the thematic connections. I was curious about why I needed that language so badly in that moment. And I began to think about why we need music, poetry and art, and why did I need Shakespeare’s words? And then I thought, what if that was the only language someone had and they chose that for some reason? And what would that reason be? That’s where my curiosity – and [the character of] Liv came from.”
Saturday, Feb. 10: 12:30 p.m.
Malco Screen 2
Sunday, Feb. 11: 2:45 p.m.
Malco Screen 4
For more information on these must-see films or a full schedule of events, visit the Oxford Film Festival website.
Amy Goodin is a writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at argoodin12