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deadCENTER Dispatches from OKC: Day 1

Deadcenter 2009, Filmmaking

I landed at Will Rogers Aiport here in Oklahoma City at around 10:00pm last night, which was just late enough for me to miss the outdoor screening of Bradley Beesley’s Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo. We pulled up to a closed off street in downtown Oklahoma City. People in lawn chairs listened attentively as Mr. Beesley, a local filmmaker, answered questions alongside his the stars of the documentary. It was a crowd hit, and the party that followed was abuzz with praise. I won’t be able to see it until tomorrow evening, but I am very excited to check it out.

Film in Oklahoma StickerMost of today has been spent driving around in search or Route 66 which seems to have eluded myself and my gracious host. I’m told that the infamous interstate is known to do this, showing itself only when needed. That photograph of a Colorado ad taped over with the word Oklahoma, was taken on the set of The Killer Inside Me, a new Michael Winterbottom film being shot here. The sticker, which is on the back of a lighting truck, somewhat sums up the kind of film community that thrives out here. Oklahoma has a long history of not being other places. While sipping a Maker’s and soda at a cigar bar, a local told me that Oklahomans are much like salmon: they always come back home eventually.

Last night, I had a nice little chat with Paul Osborne, director of the film Official Rejection. He told me that deadCENTER really is the fest to be at, and this would be the guy to ask. He assured me that while this may not be a farm for “the next big thing” in Hollywood, it is the place to see some really great filmmakers getting exposure. Since I haven’t seen any films, I can’t tell you if I agree or not, but the vibe is electric so far. There is a lot of excitement over the local films that are playing here, which really is the next big American film movement. Local films are really the “way of the future”, to quote a DiCaprio’d Howard Hughes.

I’ve got a great deal of work to do. I will probably see 3 films this evening, and of course let you know all about them. I’m not positive which one’s I’ll hit, but I will definitely have to miss a few films I really want to see; there are just so many on the schedule. Keep checking back for more deadCENTER coverage than you can shake a roll of gaff tape at. Official Rejection trailer below.

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