OXFORD • The 2020 Oxford Film Festival celebrated the best of this year’s films and filmmakers with a virtual awards ceremony June 6, highlighted by the announcement of Hoka awards for David Midell’s “The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain” for Best Narrative Feature and Pailin Wedel and Nina Ijas’s “Hope Frozen” for Best Documentary Feature.
The Best Documentary Feature prize included a $15,000 camera rental package from Panavision as well as documentary editing feedback from Joe Shapiro
“The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain” was noted for its raw, honest and inventive recreation of the 2011 police killing of an unarmed black man in White Plains, New York.
The presentation of the Lisa Blount Memorial Acting Award went to Danielle Deadwyler for her performance in “Reckoning,” the Alice Guy-Blaché Emerging Female Filmmaker Award and $1,000 from the Louis M. Rabinowitz Foundation to Haroula Rose for “Once Upon A River,” and the first Angie Thomas Zeitgeist Award went to Deepak Sethi for “Coffee Shop Names.”
The honoree is selected by a committee of Mississippi black filmmakers, and is given to a film artist from a diverse background each year who has exhibited a unique and clear voice through their work.
Larissa Lam’s “Far East Deep South” won the Hoka Award for Best Mississippi Feature Film, with the jury citing the film as “A deeply human and life-affirming film that shows that the history of the American South was not written only in Black and White but in many shades of the rainbow and is deeply representative of many parts of the United States.”
Je’Monda Roy’s “Getting to the Root” won Best Mississippi Documentary Feature, Erin Palmquist’s “From Baghdad to the Bay” won Best LGBTQIA+ Feature, Travis Beard’s “Rockabul” was named Best Music Documentary. and Garin Hovanniisian’s “I Am Not Alone” took the prize for Best Foreign Language Film.
“In a year of so much uncertainty and figuring out how to re-invent and innovate and not just look forward to how we would do things in the future when it came to presenting and celebrating film and the people responsible for making those films, we knew it was vital to demonstrate our appreciation for the films we did select this year,” said Melanie Addington, Oxford Film Festival executive director.
In the Short Film category, Best Narrative Short went to Giulia Gandini’s “My Time,” with Best LGBTQIA+ Short going to Patrick G. Lee’s “Unspoken.” The winner of the Hoka for Best Documentary Short was Johanis Lyons-Reid, and Lorcan Hopper’s “The Loop.”
Kyle Taubken’s “The Brothers Brothers” was named Best Mississippi Short, Dillon M Hayes’ “All I Have to Offer You is Me” won Best Music Documentary Short, Danski Tang’s “Umbilical” on the Fest Forward Best Animation prize, Ricardo Werdesheim, Moran Somer, and Osi Wald’s JOINTS won the Fest Forward Best Experimental prize, Katrina Blair’s “Pain” by Bandrunna Gwaup was Best Music Video, and Chanelle Eidenbenz’s “Elephant In the Room” won the honors as Best Student Film.
Jonathan Mirabill’s “Phelandra” won the Short Screenplay competition for which he received a check for $1,000, Final Draft software, and mentorship from producer John Norris, and Javier Molina will receive a $15,000 check as the winner of the Artist Vodka Award for his film, “Wonder.”
The award show was hosted by associate director Matt Wymer, with presentations handled by programmers Brian Whisenant, Meaghin Burke and Addington. New board president Steve Case was surprised with the Donna Ruth Volunteer of the Year Award for his previous work and dedication to the film festival prior to taking on the new leadership role.