By Melanie Addington
Executive Director, Oxford Film Festival
A week ago we announced the postponement of the Oxford Film Festival. It seems a lifetime ago and everything else has since been cancelled (Double Decker, schools and more).
The fifth case in Lafayette County has been announced and right now we are at that moment in time where our personal decisions will either make our community thrive or make a turn for the worse.
Besides an event organizer in Oxford, I am also immunocompromised and that has been a challenge as I watch people ignore the advice and remain as if nothing in life has changed. Now is not the time throw a house party. Now is the time to stay home if you can, support those who cannot.
Over at the festival, we are rapidly coming up with short term solutions to keep people entertained along with many of our local musicians and the amazing Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.
Check out our “Stay at Home Fest” happening all week (https://oxfordarts.com/24-slider/544-stay-home-festival). The entire YAC team went into solution mode and built creative resources and found ways for people to still support their local artists. You can also get Square Books to deliver some books to your home within a five mile radius of the store right now and it is a great time to stock up your library.
And, while the news changes daily, it is looking later and later for the world to get back on track. During this time we are going to be doing some digital solutions for the Oxford Film Festival.
We are in talks to create a virtual film festival as a temporary solution until we can reschedule for a later date this year. We are being active with resources for artists on our website (www.oxfordfilmfest.com) and doing lots of highlights of artists on our social media. Monday and Tuesday of this week we will be world premiering our summer kid camp films – all of this will be on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/oxfordfilmfest/) and Youtube. We also are making sure all have closed captions for accessibility.
We will be launching a podcast soon to continue film discussions and panels we had planned to have happen live and will be updating on our website about that soon. We have virtual volunteer opportunities for people stuck at home and wanting to help. Since our festival got postponed after we had already paid all the bills, we are also actively seeking donations and merchandise purposes.
But our main intent and focus is to host a real live festival. We will not be able to ever let that go and people will be ready to socialize and celebrate film once it is safe. As you all know from just a short time of social distancing, we are social creatures and this is why theaters and festivals continue to thrive in the digital age – we like to talk face-to-face (and movie popcorn!) And filmmakers from across the globe love Oxford and are ready to come back and spend some money here.
Let’s flatten the curve and make it possible soon!