Saturday, December 19, 2009

2010 Oxford Film Festival Judges

The Oxford Film Festival announced the Judges for the 7th annual festival taking place February 4-7, 2010. Judges will determine winners in seven categories. The winning films will be announced at the awards ceremony on Saturday, February 6 and the winners will receive a beautiful Hoka statuette created by renowned sculptor Bill Beckwith.
The Oxford Film Festival judges work in seven categories – narrative feature, documentary feature, narrative short, documentary short, experimental, animation and Mississippi film. Festival winners are selected after each judge screens the films independently and then work with their group to determine the winner.
Judges are selected in order to ensure the the widest possible aesthetic and opinion are represented. This judging format also ensures that no one sensibility drives the finalists or winners. And this format maintains both honesty and integrity within the judging process.

Narrative Feature Judges
Scott Weinberg is the author of over 1,900 movie reviews and is currently a member of the Online Film Critics Society. Scott is the Managing Editor of,,, where he focuses on new theatrical releases, classics on DVD, cult films both obscure and atrocious, and extensive coverage of the Sundance, South By Southwest, Toronto, and Philadelphia film festivals. His reviews can also be found on websites such as DVD Talk, JoBlo’s Movie Emporium (DVD Clinic),,, The Apollo Movie Guide, Monsters at Play,, and Netflix, while his opinionated movie rants can regularly be heard on WGN radio in Chicago and WMET radio in Washington D.C. Scott also writes features (and the daily Newsday Reports) for Rotten Tomatoes as well as a DVD column for Femme Fatales Magazine.

Elvis Mitchell has been the host of The Treatment since 1996. Produced at KCRW, the show is nationally syndicated to 15 markets.  Mitchell was a film critic for the New York Times from 2000-2004. Prior to that, he was film critic for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for two years, starting in December 1997; there, he won the 1999 AASFE Award for criticism. He was film critic for the Detroit Free Press, the LA Weekly and California magazine. In 1993, he was nominated for a Writer's Guild of America award for his contributions to "The AFI Achievement Award Tribute to Sidney Poitier." Mitchell is a Visiting Lecturer on African and African American Studies and on Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. Mitchell hosts the "Independent Focus" interview program for the Independent Film Channel. Mitchell is the former editor-at-large at Spin magazine. He has also written for Esquire and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. He is currently editor-at-large at Interview magazine.

Jack Barbera received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1976, and began teaching the same year at The University of Mississippi where he is now a Professor of English. In addition to literature courses, he teaches several different film courses at the University, and last year directed the first film thesis in the Honors College. His only attempt at filmmaking, the nine-minute The Janitor, was accepted for screening and shown at the Silver Images Film Festival (Chicago) in 1997. Barbera has lectured on film at several scholarly conferences, and has published essays on the film, Tomorrow, and on the uses of the Vertigo Shot. In addition to serving as a judge for the Oxford Film Festival, he also serves as a judge for the Magnolia Film Festival.

Documentary Feature Judges
Kim Voynar is film critic and features editor for Movie City News, "Hollywood's homepage," where she reviews films and writes two regular columns. Prior to joining Movie City News, she was managing editor for Cinematical. When she's not watching a movie, traveling to a film festivals or writing, she stays busy homeschooling her four youngest children.

James Rocchi is a film critic and entertainment journalist who's covered the world of movies for outlets including MSN Movies (where he currently writes as a staff critic and columnist), Redbox's redblog, AOL's, E! Online, Mother Jones Magazine, Netflix and more. A member of the L.A. Film Critics Association, the Broadcast Film Critics of America and the Online Film Critics Society, he's covered the Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca, Oxford, Palm Beach, and South by Southwest Film Festivals, and has appeared as a critic and commentator on CBS-5 San Francisco, CNN, the Independent Film Channel and A&E's Biography. Born in Hamilton, Ontario, he lives and works in Los Angeles.

Steve Montal is the Co-Founder and CEO of Caucho Technology, a global leader in web server software. Montal has collaborated with over 100 film festivals serving as board member, programmer, jury, organizer and panelist. Montal worked with the American Film Institute, where he launched the Silverdocs Film Festival and served as Director of Educational and Special Program Development. Montal's producing credits include "Viva Terra Viva," a television concert event for UNICEF that was broadcast to over 100 countries and seen by 500 million people for the benefit of the Amazon.
Montal was the founding associate dean of the North Carolina School of the Arts School of Filmmaking, where he was part of the team that developed the curriculum of NCSA's unique conservatory approach to film education. Montal is on the faculty of San Diego State University and lectures throughout the world at festivals and conferences.

Short Narrative and Short Documentary Judges
Eric D. Snider has been a film critic since 1999, writing first for a daily newspaper in Utah and subsequently for various websites on what the kids call "the Internet." His work is currently found at,, in Salt Lake City Weekly, and at the aptly named He has also written for the Seattle Stranger, Willamette Week,, DVD Talk, and DVD Journal. Eric grew up in California, lived for ten years in Utah, and now resides in beautiful Portland, Ore., where many streets are named after "Simpsons" characters (or possibly vice versa).

Jen Yamato is currently the film critic for Previously, she spent four years as an editor for the movie review website Rotten Tomatoes, where she wrote about film and DVD news, interviewed celebrities, and covered film festivals including Sundance, Cannes, and Toronto as well as the annual Comic-Con International. She now freelances for movie websites Cinematical, FEARnet, and from her home in Los Angeles, where she lives with two adorable cats and a film critic.

Julie Kaye Fanton graduated from Oxford High School where she caught the "theatre bug." After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Arts from the University of Mississippi she moved to Hollywood. Fanton worked as a set decorator for several features and TV movies including "Amazon Women on the Moon," starring Michelle Pfieffer, Steve Guttenberg, Rosanna Arquette, and "Darkman" starring Liam Neeson. She also worked at the Roger Corman studio. She also designed many of the first videos in the birth years of MTV including creating musical fantasies for Madonna, Berlin, Quiet Riot, 38 Special and more. Since 2000, Fanton has focused primarily on set decoration for television shows including "Eve," "reba" "Sabrina: The Teenage Witch" and currently 'The Middle" starring Patricia Heaton. A member of IATSE Local 44, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Set Decorators Society of America, Fanton has won an Emmy for her work including an Emmy in 1998 for Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.” Fanton was also nominated for an Emmy in 2003 for “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and in 2009 for "My Name is Earl." When not designing sets, Fanton focuses on her ministry in Uganda where she serves on the Board of Directors for Uganda Christian Development Mission. She and her husband Bud Fanton work as a team on the set of "The Middle," for Warner Brothers/ABC. Her son Nick has just begun college.

Experimental/Animation Judges
Laura Antonow is the director of three educational travel programs at the University of Mississippi’s Division of Continuing Education – The Academic Traveler, Study USA and the New York Internship Experience. She continues to teach in the Department of Art as an Adjunct Assistant Professor. Originally from Oxford, Laura returned in 1994 after receiving her B.S. from the School of Architecture and Environmental Design at the University of Texas at Arlington, and her M.F.A. from Parsons School of Design in New York City. While in New York, she also served as the chief lighting designer in the exhibitions department at the Guggenheim Museum. Locally, she has served as President of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, on the Powerhouse Steering Committee, and on the screening committee of the Oxford Film Festival.

Katherine Rhodes Fields is the Visiting Professor of Art in Printmaking at the University of Mississippi. Katherine, a Mississippi native, moved to Oxford in 2008 from St. Louis, Missouri where she is still an active contemporary artist. Amongst many national and international exhibitions, Katherine’s work pushes the print media beyond its traditional framework and her work is receiving notable acclaim for her successes. Katherine also writes as an art critic for regional publications and was selected as a featured artist on Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s Southern Expressions, a television series presenting some of the best visual artists in Mississippi. Her work is featured at the Good Citizen Gallery in St. Louis, Missouri and you can view her work on line at

Michael Jackson Chaney is a professor of Film and Television and Sound Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, USA. Prior to teaching he worked as a television producer in New York City for clients such as Hearst Publications, the Seagram Company, and the New York Times. He has been a consultant and special events programmer for the Savannah Film Festival since it’s inception in 1998. His film and time based media work address the interplay of spirituality and social constructs. He uses multiple channel video, film and sound as well as performance. His time based media work has been exhibited internationally. His short films have been included in numerous
international film festivals including the Black Maria Film Festival, The International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Edinburgh International Film Festival, The Savannah Film Festival, The Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films, The Virginia Film Festival, and The Cannes Short Film Corner. Born in Greenwood and raised in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Michael Jackson Chaney holds a B.F.A. from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and an M.F.A. from Tufts University/The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He has completed post-graduate studies in theology at the University of the South, Sewanee, TN.

Mississippi Film Judges

Deborah Barker

Elizabeth Dollarhide

John Beifuss

The Oxford Film Festival program is now available on the Web site. Non-competition films and the opening night lineup will be announced in January.

2010 Oxford Film Festival Sponsors
The 2010 Oxford Film Festival Sponsors help sustain not only the Festival but also the year-round programs of the non-profit festival. Their support is crucial to the mission of celebrating independent film. This year's Festival Sponsors include: Partner – University of Mississippi Media Productions; Presenting Sponsors – Yoknapataphwa Arts Council, Malco and Oak Hill Stables; Panel Level – Rock River Foundation; Sponsor Level - R&B Charitable Foundation for the Beaux Arts, Wilson Roberts and Captured Photography as well as numerous sponsors at varying other levels.
Oxford Film Festival
Founded in 2003 as a project of the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, the Oxford Film Festival is an independent non-profit 501c3 organization committed to celebrating the art of independent cinema. The Oxford Film Festival entertains and educates its participants, providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to watch independent films as well as to meet the filmmakers and learn from industry professionals. The variety of films and panels attracts filmgoers of all ages and backgrounds.

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