The third annual Oxford International Film Festival (OIFF) is moving south.
Previously held on Miami University’s Oxford campus and initially set to move to the Savannah Center in West Chester for this year, festival organizers announced this week that the majority of the screenings will now take place at the Esquire Theatre (320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton) July 24-30. The festival’s various special events — described in a recent press release as “workshops, industry & celebrity guests, 3 days of indie concerts, filmmaker panels, parties & receptions and awards gala” — will remain at the Savannah Center (3355 Chappel Crossing Blvd., West Chester).
Confusing location shifts aside (and assuming its philosophy remains the same with the move), OIFF blissfully lacks the pomp, circumstance and shitty weather of a higher-profile festival like Sundance, instead focusing on the four-letter word in its title: film. In fact, the fest was recently pimped by MovieMaker magazine as one of the 25 film festivals “worth the entry fee.” Translation: It’s filmmaker friendly.
It’s also audience friendly (again assuming the move hasn’t impacted its low-key charm). Surprisingly strong on a pure programming level, OIFF features more than 70 short and full-length works in nearly every genre and style imaginable, including several dozen local, regional, U.S. and even world premieres. The festival also has documentary and narrative feature competitions, both of which include a host of intriguing entries — from Paul Osborne’s doc Official Rejection, which, appropriately enough, looks at the travails of the film festival circuit, to How I Got Lost, Joe Leonard’s road-trip movie featuring Rosemarie DeWitt, Jacob Fishel and Aaron Stanford.
Let’s hope the move to the Esquire will boost the festival’s attendance (last year’s was spotty) and address its less-than-ideal presentation issues (screenings were previously held in makeshift spaces via DVD projection).
For a complete rundown of films and schedule of events and ticket prices, go to www.oxfordfilms.com. And look for an extensive festival preview in next week’s CityBeat.