Let's start with the easy one: The people. I know the phrase "Southern Hospitality" gets thrown around a lot, but experiencing it first-hand from the Oxford Film Festival team was just lovely. My colleagues and I were treated like VIPs all weekend, which is both weird (I'm low maintenance) and very flattering, from the opening party at the lovely Donna Ruth Robert's house to the final get-together at ... someone's house that had beer, I was greeted with open arms, open bottles, and lots of adorable women who were way too young for me but way too pretty to ignore. Celeb-wise, this might not be Sundance or Toronto, but I wouldn't trade my laid-back conversations with Jason Ritter or Giancarlo Esposito for a dozen Jennifer Connelly interviews. (Well, not really. I'm not insane.)

And a special mention is due to the dozens of organizers, programmers, and volunteers who sure ACTED like their local film festival was Sundance. I don't mean to sound condescending, but I was honestly surprised at how efficiently this little ship was run. I've been to several well-intentioned and entertaining regional festivals before, and this is easily one of the most organized, enthusiastic, and sincere I've ever seen. (The Oxford squad will probably chuckle when they read that, but it's true.) There's that indomitable "we're putting on a show!" spirit that comes with a festival like this one, and it's something I never get tired of seeing. Especially when good movies are afoot.
categories Cinematical