By Carson McKinney
The Powerhouse was packed Saturday night as scores of filmmakers walked the red carpet and mingled over fried chicken and test tube tequila shots provided by Yoknapatawpha Arts Council volunteers during the Oxford Film Festival Awards Ceremony.
Two of the films entered in the OFF both won two awards.
Julio Ramos’s “Debris,” which is about undocumented construction workers and labor trafficking, won Best Narrative Short Film and Best Foreign Language Film. Suzannah Herbert’s and Lauren Belfer’s “Wrestle,” which follows an Alabama high school female wrestling team, won Best Documentary Feature and netted Herbert and Belfer the Alice Guy Blaché Award for Emerging Female Filmmaker.
“I want to thank Oxford Film Festival so much for having us and honoring us with this award,” Herbert said. “Shout out to all women filmmakers out there.”
John Rash of the Southern Documentary Project, an institute for the Center of the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, won in the Music Documentary Feature category for his film “Negro Terror,” which follows the Memphis-based hardcore punk band of the same name who kicked off the Oxford Film Festival at Proud Larry’s on The Square on Wednesday.
“This is my first Oxford Film Festival,” Rash said. “Even though I live in town, I’ve only been here for about a year and a half. I’ve had so much fun and met so many filmmakers, which all of you know doesn’t happen at every film festival, so thank you guys for having such a great program that allows for so much networking and interaction.”
Winners were presented with the coveted Princess Hoka awards.
In a first for OFF, there was a tie in the LGBTQ Short Film category between “All We Are,” directed by Will Stewart and “The One You Never Forget,” directed by Morgan Jon Fox.
“I actually went to Ole Miss 20 years ago, left, and packed up my car to move to Los Angeles and got in the industry,” Fox said. “To bring a movie back to Oxford is amazing. I live for the day when queer kids can take the person that they want to take to their first dance; that’s what my film is about.”
The Arts Council also recognized two people with the Donna Ruth Roberts Volunteer of the Year Award for their hard work and time spent at the Oxford Film Festival – volunteer Leslie Lynn Smith and film festival staff member Damon Burks.
List of Award-Winning Movies
Student Award: “The Moon and the Night”
Music Video: “Wash my Hands”
Experimental Film: “Remission”
Fast Forward Animation Short Film: “My Moon”
LGBTQ Short Film: “All We Are” tied with “The One you Never Forget”
LGBTQ Feature: “The Gospel of Eureka”
MS Short Film (Narrative): “Roots and Wings”
MS Feature: “Door Ajar- The M.B Mayfield Story”
Reel South Award: “Signs”
Narrative Short Film: “Debris”
Documentary Short Film: “The Conqueror”
Music Documentary Short: “It’s Now or Never: A Race to Save Colonel Parker’s Complex”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Debris”
Alice Guy Blaché Award for Emerging Female Filmmaker: “Wrestle”
Documentary Feature: “Wrestle”
Music Documentary “Negro Terror”
Narrative Feature “This World Alone”