Film Festival Review

The Phoenix Picture house is no stranger to the international film scene, and what better way to kick off the summer than a weekend of silver screen stunners from across the globe that will amaze, surprise, and entice you into the wide world of international cinema. Coming to town from the 27th to the 29th of May, The long awaited Oxford International Film Festival will bring new and exciting prospects to film lovers across the city, with some truly unmissable films premiering for the first time here at the Phoenix.

Opening the festival is one of the most prestigious new indie films that the UK has to offer, the award winning feature, Two Down, directed by Matthew Butler with executive producer Stephen Fry. The film tells the story of a Hitman (Alex Hassell), who after being injured on the job takes refuge with some unlikely allies.

Two Down is an intelligent, quippy (in the best way possible), and incredibly well cast piece of cinema. Using the set of modern day London to pay homage to classic 70s espionage thrillers. This slick script, and well-crafted direction gives the film’s incredible actors everything they need in order to give stellar performances. Standouts include Game of Thrones’ own Conleth Hill and Tori Hart as the strong, intriguing Sophie Watson.

The low budget film was shot in just 12 days, which, after seeing the outcome, I found absolutely extraordinary. Many indie films are shot in a short space of time, but very rarely do they turn out impeccable as this. This obscure, clever, and incredibly quick-witted piece is a perfect choice to introduce the festival this summer. The film will be paired with a selection of short films premiering at the Phoenix, and will be followed by a Q and A session with the selected filmmakers.

For All Eyes Always, a U.S./French film, written and directed by Rob Gordon Bralver is set in a time of widespread disillusionment and distrust of the American government. In an attempt to regain the public’s trust, the CIA creates a fully transparent reality TV show. The hugely anticipated UK premiere of the film has had audiences (including me) hyped for what seems to be an age, and will hopefully be worth the wait.

If that doesn’t quite quench your relentless thirst for the arts, then you’ll be pleased to know we’re just getting started. A variety of feature films from across the world have found their way onto the big screen at the Phoenix, with the Australian Triumph ‘Is The Real World’. A truly beautiful coming of age story grounded in realism, and the chilling period piece ‘Road To The Sky’ set in 1930s china, from director Yi Wang.

But the world ain’t all sunshine, rainbows, and feature films. The Phoenix also has a wide variety of international short films and music videos premiering at the festival.

The witty and self-aware student film, ‘Film School Musical’, by U.S. directors Maan B and Talha B, will have its world premier at the Phoenix, allowing them to show off their comedy/musical full of winks and nods to the independent film industry.

We will also see ‘Domino’, an experimental film all the way from Chile that shows the moments that we miss in the rush of athletic competition, displaying the body’s ability to adapt in order to keep up with the demanding conditions of athletics.

For all you alternative rockers, the international premier of the music video ‘The Slow Show’, by UK director, Paul Booth will also be taking place along side a Dutch made music video titled Drowning, by director Daniel Schlichter.

The Oxford International Film Festival will include a colossal variety of film from all walks of life, from full length feature films to short student films, the festival encompasses everything your average film lover could possibly need all under one roof. It also lives up to its name of being an international film festival, with a truly diverse selection of films that showcases the literal world of indie film. Don’t miss out!

Tickets and festival passes are available from Phoenix Picturehouse and full details of all the films can be found at and