Without volunteers, a film festival would not have a chance at being successful. As we gear up for the 7th annual Oxford Film Festival, we thought we would welcome you to some of our film fest family, the volunteers that return every year and some new faces. Welcome Alex Watson.
Q: Tell us a little about who you are.
A: I'm a librarian at Ole Miss, and my areas of specialization (English, theater, etc.) line up quite nicely with film festival fare. I've only been in the area since late 2008, so the 2009 festival was my first. I'm from Michigan, originally, and I well remember the throngs that descended on the University of Michigan during the Ann Arbor Film Festival.
Q: How many years have you volunteered with the festival?
A: This is my second year volunteering. I flatter myself to think that I've learned from my mistakes last year (don't volunteer during a movie you want to see, wear comfortable walking shoes, volunteer badges must be presented aggressively to be recognized by festival patrons, etc) but in all likelihood I'm simply embarking on a series of new and interesting mistakes.
Q: What prompted you to get involved with the festival?
A: I love movies, and the Oxford festival is small and unpretentious when compared with many others. It's a nice way to get involved with the community, and there's a freewheeling, frantic energy about the festival that's very infectious.
Q: In what areas of the festival do you volunteer?
A: Last year I was an usher; this year I might be so again, or wind up selling swag or tix or any of the other myriad things I said I'd be willing to do.
Q: Favorite experience or memory of previous festivals?
A: Acting the bouncer and trying to keep people out of a movie that ran long right before a popular feature. I was more like a sieve than a wall, letting a small but steady trickle of people in and out, but I felt like I was really down there in the trenches helping make the event a success.
Q: What have been some of your favorite movies in previous festivals?
A: I always enjoy the shorts, because they, unlike the feature-length productions, are very hard to find and often don't get pressed to DVD or shown on cable. I also find that the short form allows for a lot of experimentation; you see a lot of things there that would never appear in a feature-length film.