Named a Top 50 Film Festival worth the entry fee over several years from MovieMaker magazine, the 18th Oxford Film Festival, to be held in March 2021, is a five-day event celebrating the art of independent film. The festival will bring filmmakers and filmgoers from across the globe to celebrate films, panels and parties. The festival will also host a virtual component for films that opt in.

Recent years have included visits from Angie Thomas with THE HATE U GIVE, Adam Rifkin with THE LAST MOVIE STAR, Cady McClain with SEEING IS BELIEVING, Danny Glover to introduce I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, Robert Longstreet with THE MISSING GIRL, James Franco and Tim Blake Nelson with THE SOUND AND THE FURY, Academy Award winners and nominees, Independent Spirit Award nominees, and favorites on the film festival circuit in addition to local and regional films.

Home to the University of Mississippi, past haunts of William Faulkner, Larry Brown, Barry Hannah and John Grisham, current home of Ace Atkins, Jack Pendarvis, and listed as one of John Vilani's "100 best small arts towns in America," Oxford offers a unique blend of literary and artistic appreciation within the setting of a vibrant college town.

"Regional festivals are becoming more and more important in the film landscape, uplifting new, diverse voices in a time where people are viewing films in a group setting less and less. At Oxford, the success lay in the crop of powerful stories from fresh voices, many of which aligned with, and then furthered, our cultural conversation."
- Meredith Alloway, Filmmaker Magazine

"The word that one hears over and over again at the Oxford Film Festival is “community…” This is a festival that seeks to reflect the community from which it arises, both the local one and the international one connected by filmmaking. It is a homegrown, intimate festival that nonetheless features voices from around the world, harmoniously united through the community of film."
- Brian Tallerico,

Short Film Contest Presented by Artist Vodka - $25,000 cash
Short Screenplay Competition - $1000 cash

Programmers Awards:
Alice Guy-Blaché Emerging Female Filmmaker Award - $1,000 cash
Angie Thomas Zeitgeist Award
The Lisa Blount Memorial Acting Award

The jury-selected Hoka award and cash prize is presented to the winning films for the following categories:

Artist Vodka Best Short Contest - 21 films will compete for audience and jury vote to win $25,000 cash at the festival.

Narrative Feature - $15,000 camera rental package from Panavision & 250 cash prize

Documentary Feature - $15,000 camera rental package from Panavision, $250 cash prize & Documentary editing feedback from Joe Shapiro

Narrative Short - $250 Cash prize sponsored by Steven and Gay Case & Three days of audio post production from Taproot Design in Oxford

Documentary Short - $250 Cash prize sponsored by Damon Burks & Three days of audio post production from Taproot Audio Design in Oxford

Mississippi Short - Cash prize through the Casey Spradling Memorial Award & One-year membership and free equipment rentals from OxFilm Society

Mississippi Feature - Cash prize through the Pat Rasberry Emerging Mississippi Filmmaker Award & One-year membership and free equipment rentals from OxFilm Society.

Mississippi Music Video - Cash prize of $100, One-year membership and free equipment rentals from OxFilm Society. & 3 days of recording time from Nathan Robbins

LGBTQIA Short - Cash Prize of $250 sponsored by Robbie Fisher Productions.

LGBTIA Feature - Cash Prize of $250 sponsored by Damon Burks

Best Music Documentary - Cash Prize of $100

Fest Forward Animation & Experimental - Cash Prize of $100 each

Student - Cash Prize of $250 sponsored by Michael Johannson

Films created by people with disabilities, and/or featuring performers with disabilities receive a 50% discount using code ReelOXFF2

Films directed by women-identified also get 50% discount using code BlacheOXFF

Films directed by BIPOC filmmakers also get 50% discount using code: ZeitgeistOXFF

All rules for the festival and how our screening process works are listed here:


• Submitted scripts must be original screenplays and must be the sole property of the applicant(s).
• All entries must be in English.
• Short screenplays must be between 1 and 30 pages in length. Absolutely no exceptions.
• There is no limit to the number of screenplays you may submit.
• All entries must be uploaded in PDF format.
• Competition judges, readers and paid employees of the Oxford Film Festival Screenplay Competition, past and present, are not eligible to enter.

To be considered for the Oxford Film Festival, the filmmaker must provide a working link (with or without password) to a digital screener on Vimeo, YouTube, or equivalent through FilmFreeway. DVD and E-mail submissions are not considered at all.

Films must have been completed after January 1, 2018

We have signed the Seed&Spark 2020 Film Festival Survival Pledge, Film Festivals and Distributors support the independent film community affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, by pledging to:
ONLINE ELIGIBILITY: Temporarily revise policies prohibiting screening of films that were once available online to now make any films that screen online in an official ticketed festival capacity screening and competition-eligible.
PREMIERE STATUS: Uphold the intended film premiere status for a festival, in the event that festival moves their program online.
GEOBLOCKING WAIVER: If a film screens online for a preceding, non-geographically competing festival in an official ticketed festival capacity (when geoblocking technology is unavailable), temporarily waive policies requiring geographically-based premiere.
PRODUCTION TIMELINE: When accepting submissions for the 2020-2021 festival cycle, temporarily waive policies limiting screening and competition eligibility of films produced within a specific timeframe to include films that were eligible in the previous festival cycle.
COMMITMENT TIMELINE: Uphold these commitments until the independent film community at large determines that operations have returned to the status quo.
DISTRIBUTOR CLAUSE: A distributor can further strengthen this pledge by committing to recognize that by screening online in a fixed-term, pay-wall enforced, official festival capacity (that is geoblocked to a particular area), a film is not earning revenue or being sold to consumers in a traditional VOD market and, therefore, remains viable for future sales opportunities..

We do not pay screening fees.

Waiver requests are only accepted via the form on our website, We do not provide any waivers after early bird deadline. Please fill out the waiver form and do not email us asking for a waiver.

For best viewing for programmers, please enable the “Watch Later” feature on Vimeo. This makes it possible for our screeners to watch your films on the largest screen available to them.

Shorts must be under 30 minutes. Features must be under 120 minutes.

To be considered for the Mississippi categories, the filmmaker should indicate their "Mississippi connection" in the cover letter section. If you answer yes that your film was made in Mississippi, we ask that you submit in the Mississippi categories. If you submit in a regular category but your film was at least 50% filmed in Mississippi, we will move you to this category.

All films in a language other than English must be subtitled in English for festival presentation.

All submission fees are non-refundable, even if we do not select your film.

Any film submitted in previous years but be a significantly different version to be re-considered. Re-submitted, previously rejected films will not be considered.

In submitting a completed film, the filmmaker represents that they are authorized to submit this film for screening at the 2021 Oxford Film Festival. They acknowledge that the film may be screened more than once during the festival and if a winner could be screened at our Best of events (we will ask permission first). They grant the Oxford Film Festival the nonexclusive right to use submitted materials in connection with any and all publicity and promotional materials regarding the festival. They warrant that the submitted film does not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of any person or entity and agree to hold harmless and fully indemnify and defend the Oxford Film Festival and its representatives against any and all claims made for such infringement or any other violations of law.

They also acknowledge that the film submission fee does not guarantee acceptance and no refund will be provided if your film is not selected.

Upon acceptance, Oxford Film Festival will ask for fest deliverables:
1) Feature films require a DCP and a BluRay back up. If unable to deliver a DCP, we partnered with a company to provide a discount to have a DCP made. Please contact us if you have questions.

2) Short films require a ProRes 422 or equivalent. 

If the filmmaker does not comply with the delivery deadlines to receive the film, the film may be pulled from the festival lineup. Acceptance does not guarantee a juried slot, but the filmmaker will be notified upon acceptance if their film was selected for competition or out-of-competition screenings.

International entries - all entries from outside the US should be sent Air mail Registered or by a parcel express service (DHL, UPS, Fed Ex, etc.). We cannot accept entries shipped via air-freight if customs and delivery fees have not been paid.

Programmer awards are only eligible to those filmmakers that attend the festival. Juried awards are eligible to those selected for jury competition only.

Overall Rating
  • It's a weird time to write a review of OFF, which has been postponed until a time TBD. On the other hand, it's already clear just from communicating with Melanie how wonderful she and the festival are. I've never seen anyone go to so much trouble for their filmmakers. It is clear the festival will be oustanding when it happens, and I'll be proud to be a part of it.

    March 2020
  • Colby Doler

    Melanie and team at Oxford are phenomenal! They put on a great show and we will definitely submit again on the next film!

    October 2019
  • What an incredible festival experience! We were overwhelmed by the authenticity and warmth of OFF- Melanie & her team are thoughtful to every last detail. The screenings are packed, the programming is of incredibly high caliber, the opportunities to network, the press, the hospitality (hotel, shuttles, airport pickup)....I could go on and on. Not to mention, some of the best, true connections I've made in the festival circuit with other filmmakers. Kudos to OFF! Hope to be back soon!

    August 2019
  • The Oxford Film Festival was a favorite of my feature film's festival run. From great communication to hospitality, and a number of opportunities to get press coverage for my film, I loved everything about the festival. It's definitely on my list for my next feature.

    August 2019
  • Rebecca Pugh

    One of the best festivals in the US. Super Filmmaker friendly!!

    April 2019