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Film Festival Roundup: Oxford Announces Full Schedule, Big Ears Plans Jonathan Demme Retrospective and More

Keep up with the always-hopping film festival world with our weekly Film Festival Roundup column.

“Folk Hero & Funny Guy”

Keep up with the always-hopping film festival world with our weekly Film Festival Roundup column. Check out last week’s Roundup right here.

Lineup Announcements

– The 2017 Oxford Film Festival has announced the full schedule of films for next year’s edition of the popular Mississippi film festival. Katherine Dieckmann’s drama “Strange Weather,” starring Holly Hunter, is the Opening Night Selection while Jeff Grace’s festival hit, “Folk Hero & Funny Guy,” serves as the Closing Night selection.

A total of 151 films (34 features, 117 shorts, music videos, new media, and virtual reality projects), including 15 world premieres and 4 U.S. premieres, were selected for the film festival taking place February 15-19, 2017, in Oxford, Mississippi. Along with the films in competition, the festival will be highlighted by three new sections: New Media, a virtual reality (VR) slate of programming, and both features and shorts sections featuring LGBTQ films.

You can check out the full lineup and schedule right here.

– The Atlanta Jewish Film Festival (AJFF) has unveiled the first wave of films to be included in the 2017 lineup, which returns for another expansive 23 days from January 24 – February 15. Audiences can look forward to another outstanding lineup of foreign and independent films, continuing what is now a 17-year tradition of excellence from the world’s largest Jewish film festival.

Titles announced this week include “The Freedom to Marry,” “Across the Waters” and “Bang! The Bert Berns Story.” The full lineup and official schedule will be announced on January 6 and tickets will go on sale via AJFF.org, beginning January 18.

“Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids”

– The Big Ears Festival continues to expand film programming and collaboration with the Public Cinema, a Knoxville-based group dedicated to sharing vital works of contemporary American and international film. The Big Ears Festival will return to Knoxville, Tennessee’s historic downtown for the weekend of March 23 – 26, 2017. The weekend will feature a variety of screenings of ground breaking work, a few classics, and several cinema-related live musical performances as well. All film events will be open to all Big Ears passholders.

Of particular note is a carefully-curated ten-film retrospective, Jonathan Demme: Life Is Performance/Performance Is Life, including a double-feature of the legendary Talking Heads concert film “Stop Making Sense” and a rare theatrical presentation of 2016’s widely acclaimed “Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids” at the official state theater of Tennessee: Knoxville’s historic Tennessee Theatre. Check out the full lineup here.

Special Programs

– The Montclair Film Festival (MFF) and The Film Institute at Montclair State today announced speakers and programs for their annual collaboration, Behind The Screen (BTS), a day of free filmmaking workshops and seminars taking place Sunday, January 29, 2017 at University Hall on the campus of Montclair State University.

The BTS program is designed for students and adults from all backgrounds to discover the process for building a career in film and television through engagement with leading industry professionals. This year’s program focuses on television production, virtual reality, interactive storytelling, and strategies for crowd funding film projects, marking the first time that careers in interactive disciplines have been highlighted at BTS.

The 2017 program includes: Writing for Late Night TV with Glenn Eichler, Directing for Film and TV with Tom Vaughan, Editing for Television with Shery Bylander, Virtual Reality with Stina Hamlin, Interactive Storytelling with Alex Vlack and Crowdfunding Your Film with Greg Cohan.

Rooney Mara and Dev Patel in Lion

“Lion”

The Weinstein Company

– The 28th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), scheduled January 2-16, 2017, announced the films selected to compete for the FIPRESCI Award in the Awards Buzz section. The Festival will screen 43 of the 85 official submissions to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Best Foreign Language Film. Additional film programs will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

The Awards Buzz section is selected by Festival programmers as the strongest entries in this year’s Academy Awards race. A special jury of international film critics will review these films to present the FIPRESCI Award for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, as well as Best Actor and Best Actress in this category. You can check out the full list here.

Awards

– “Lion,” directed by Garth Davis and starring Sunny Pawar, Dev Patel and Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman, has been selected to receive a Capri Award for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 21st edition of Capri, Hollywood – The International Film Festival. The award will be presented on December 29 at the Cinema Paradiso in Anacapri.

Poet and writer Luke Davies wrote the script, which he adapted from Saroon Brierley’s autobiographical book “A Long Way Home.” The film, which also stars Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Divian Ladwa, tells the moving story of an Indian boy adopted by an Australian couple who, tormented by his past, decides to look for his mother in the place where he accidentally left by train when he was a child.

Honors

– The 28th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present the cast of “Hidden Figures” with the Ensemble Performance Award. Expected to attend are Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, and Jim Parsons. The Film Awards Gala, hosted by Mary Hart, will be held Monday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.  The Festival runs January 2 – 16.

“Hidden Figures”

“History has its share of incredible untold stories, and this is one of the most compelling, the tale of three African-American women – engineers, physicists, mathematicians – who in their work for NASA in the early 1960s were integral in calculating the flight trajectories for Project Mercury and Apollo 11,” said Festival Chairman Harold Maztner in a statement. “Fueled by the performances of Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe, the ensemble cast also features outstanding performances from Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Glen Powell and many others.”

Past recipients of the Ensemble Performance Award include Academy Award winner for Best Picture “Argo,” as well as past Best Picture nominees “American Hustle,” “Babel,” “The Big Short,” “The Imitation Game” and” The Social Network.”

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