By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Go ahead, call them picky – they won’t mind.
The organizers of the 7th annual Oxford Film Festival admit they were pickier than usual with this year’s film selections, but they had good reason to be.
“We limited the categories, so we only took 10 films per genre for competition,” said co-director Molly Fergusson. “So now the entire category is in competition. By doing that, we forced ourselves to say, ‘Is this strong enough to be in competition?’ The films had to go through a very arduous process, so I’m excited about all of our films.”
The films at this year’s festival range from features to documentaries to shorts to experimentals, as well as films made by Mississippians.
Most films are screening twice, except the Mississippi-related films, said co-director Michelle Emanuel.
Included in that list is “Thacker Mountain Radio: A Documentary,” a film made by the Oxford-based radio show’s former producer, Mary Warner.
“‘Thacker Mountain’ is completely true to our hearts here in Oxford,” Fergusson said. “It’s a great one.”
There are two blocks of shorts made by Magnolia State filmmakers. Shorts by area directors such as Daniel Lee, April Wren and Glenn Payne will be shown.

Movies and more
The film festival is offering several panels at this year’s festival, including a Speed Pitch panel and an Art of the Celebrity Interview panel.
The most highly anticipated panel is the Conversation with Elvis Mitchell and Ray McKinnon panel at 6:20 p.m. on Feb. 5.
Academy Award-winning filmmaker McKinnon recently starred in “The Blind Side,” and film critic Elvis Mitchell is the Interview magazine editor-at-large.
“It should be a fun panel to watch,” Emanuel said.
Both Fergusson and Emanuel said they can’t wait for film festival fans to check out the films they hand-selected.
“I’m always confident in our programming,” Emanuel said. “I like to share the movies I’ve been watching for the past few months with the audience. I don’t have to keep secrets anymore.”

What: Oxford Film Festival
When: Feb. 4-Feb. 7
Where: Malco Oxford Studio Cinema (award ceremony is at the Powerhouse)
Cost: $15/one-day pass, $10/student one-day pass, $30/two-day pass, $20/student two-day pass, $45/four-day pass, $35/student four-day pass.
Award ceremony tickets are $15/individual or $12.50/each per couple.
Info: 877-560-3456 or oxfordfilmfest.com

For the kids
A block of children’s films will be screened at the Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library on Feb. 6 beginning at 10:15 a.m. It’s free. There’s also a filmmaking workshop for middle school students at the Powerhouse at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 6.

• For a complete schedule for screenings and panels, visit oxfordfilmfest.com.

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