By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Kim Voynar, Mark Rabinowitz Named Programmers Of Oxford Film Fest

The Oxford Film Festival today appointed long-time staff member Melanie Addington as its Executive Director and named its programming team for the 2016 edition, to be lead by veteran industry fixtures Mark Rabinowitz and Kim Voynar as documentary and narrative feature head programmers, respectively. The 13th edition of the festival is set to unspool February 18-21, 2016.

Addington has been with the festival in various positions since 2005, working her way up from volunteer to volunteer coordinator, to assistant director and subsequently serving as co-director since 2008 before becoming the well-regarded organization’s Executive Director for the 2016 edition. “I have always been passionate about independent film, storytelling and Mississippi,” said Addington, “and this gives me a chance to really showcase all three. I’m excited to take on this new leadership position as we focus on growing the festival both during the February event and in terms of year-round programming.” Addington also serves as the President of the Mississippi Film & Video Alliance.

Kim Voynar, Narrative Features Programmer

Kim Voynar, Narrative Features Programmer

The festival is a key date on the busy Oxford cultural calendar, having hosted such notables as James Franco, Morgan Freeman, Jason Ritter, Elvis Mitchell, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Ray McKinnon and Tim Blake Nelson.

Voynar comes to the Oxford Festival with over a decade of experience as a critic and industry analyst for Movie City News, Cinematical, Indiewire.com, Variety and others, adding director/producer to her resume in 2010, with current activities including live-action and animated projects with avant-garde musical group The Residents and an episodic TV series with Will Calhoun of hard rockers Living Colour.

Mark Rabinowitz, Documentary Features Programmer

Mark Rabinowitz, Documentary Features Programmer

Rabinowitz is a co-founder of the seminal indie film news service Indiewire.com and has been a journalist for twenty years, including service as a critic for CNN.com, Screen Daily, Paste Magazine and Alternative Press. He has attended over 175 film festivals as a critic, producer and staff, including serving as a programmer and industry liaison at the Hamptons International Film Festival and has served on festival juries in Edinburgh, Montreal, Denver, Nashville and Oxford. As a producer, he has projects in development with producer Darren Dean (TangerineKinyarwanda) and writers/producers Jon Cryer & Richard Schenkman and heads the film department at LA-based publicity & marketing firm PMG.

Today, OFF announces its call for entries for next year’s Festival in all programming categories. Entries are accepted through November 15, 2015 at Film Freeway (https://filmfreeway.com/festival/OxfordFilmFestival). Due to its calendar position following Sundance, Oxford has had the benefit of hosting the regional premieres of many notable films, including James Franco’s two William Faulkner adaptations (The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying), Chad Hartigan’s This Is Martin Bonner, and Paul Saltzman’s Prom Night in Mississippi.

Oxford’s full programming team includes: Mary Margaret Andrews and Courtney Hall on documentary shorts, Newt Rayburn on music videos, Deborah Barker on Mississippi narratives, Maggie Woodward on Mississippi documentaries, Michelle Emanuel on animation and Brooke White on experimental films.

The incoming OFF Board of Directors is comprised of long-time festival supporters, including the executive director of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council Wayne Andrews (President), former SVP of Production for MGM Television Hudson Hickman, and writer/producer Chris Offutt (True Blood, Weeds, Treme).

About the Festival

The Oxford Film Festival was founded in 2003 to bring exciting, new and unusual films (and the people who create them) to North Mississippi. The annual four-day festival screens short and feature-length films in both showcase and competition settings, including narrative and documentary features and shorts; Mississippi narratives, documentaries and music videos, and narrative, documentary, animated and experimental shorts. The festival is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization. For more information, visit www.oxfordfilmfest.com

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“The sad and painful truth is that pretty much everyone in this town knew who Harvey was. I have had long talks with my most liberal friends. Did we know he was a rapist? We didn’t. But did we know that for decades he has been offering actresses big careers in exchange for sexual favors? Yes, we did — and make no mistake, that is its own kind of rape. And did we all — or did any of us — refuse to do business with him on moral grounds? No. We ALL STAYED IN BUSINESS WITH HIM. I have never done business with Harvey but I can tell you with certainty that I would have — because I was recently approached by a film festival he sponsors. They asked me to submit my short film for their consideration and I did it without thinking twice. I am a dyed-in-the-wool feminist and a vocal one at that. So why didn’t I think twice? Because this entire town is built on the ugly principals that Harvey takes to an horrific extreme. If I didn’t work with people whose behavior I find reprehensible, I wouldn’t have a career.”
~ Showrunner Krista Vernoff

From AMPAS president John Bailey:

Dear Fellow Academy Members,

Danish director Carl Dreyer’s 1928 film “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is not only one of the visual landmarks of the silent era, but is a deeply disturbing portrait of a young woman’s persecution in the face of the male judges and priests of the ruling order. The actress Maria Falconetti gave one of the most profoundly affecting performances in the history of cinema as the Maid of Orleans.

Since the decision of the Academy’s Board of Governors on Saturday October 14 to expel producer Harvey Weinstein from its membership, I have been haunted not only by the recurring image of Falconetti and the sad arc of her career (dying in Argentina in 1946, reputedly from a crash diet) but of Joan’s refusal to submit to an auto de fe recantation of her beliefs.

Recent public testimonies by some of filmdom’s most recognized women regarding sexual intimidation, predation, and physical force is, clearly, a turning point in the film industry—and hopefully in our country, where what happens in the world of movies becomes a marker of societal Zeitgeist. Their decision to stand up against a powerful, abusive male not only parallels the cinema courage of Falconetti’s Joan but gives all women courage to speak up.

After Saturday’s Board of Governors meeting, the Academy issued a passionately worded statement, expressing not only our concern about harassment in the film industry, but our intention to be a strong voice in changing the culture of sexual exploitation in the movie business, already common well before the founding of the Academy 90 years ago. It is up to all of us Academy members to more clearly define for ourselves the parameters of proper conduct, of sexual equality, and respect for our fellow artists throughout our industry. The Academy cannot, and will not, be an inquisitorial court, but we can be part of a larger initiative to define standards of behavior, and to support the vulnerable women and men who may be at personal and career risk because of violations of ethical standards by their peers.

Yours,
John