Dr. Floyd gives a narrative account of the origins of the deadCENTER Film Festival.
Dr. Floyd gives a narrative account of the origins of the deadCENTER Film Festival.
Welcome to another narrative short. The title of this episode is the Dead Center of Film Festival. The dead center film festival takes place in Oklahoma City and is an annual event that has existed for almost 20 years. The film festival has grown immensely over the years and in fact is build. It's one of the largest independent film festivals in the region. In 2018 the festival had 33,000 attendees and an economic impact of five point $3 million. It has been attended by celebrities such as the likes of Nick Offerman, James Marsden, the festivals honored individuals such as Alfre Woodard, where Stoody Gary Busey and Tim Blake Nelson with its film icon award. Needless to say, the festivals become a runaway success. However, very few people know the story of its humble beginnings. In the summer of 2000 I attended a small family reunion over a long weekend. During the occasion, my brother Justin, I had the opportunity to catch up and share with each other about what is currently going on in each other's lives.Speaker 2:
My brother by trade is a filmmaker, director photography, and a graphic designer. On one of the sweltering nights during our summer union. He told me about his audacious plans to create an independent film festival. The brainchild of my brother's invention would be called the dead center film festival. The name dead center represented the geographical location of Oklahoma being in the dead center of the United States and an indicator of the area being a hotbed of activity for potential independent filmmakers. He described the abandons becoming a visual entertainment pioneer in Oklahoma, something the state has never seen before. He waxed about visions of largely attended screenings, venues across the city and celebrations Glor. Ultimately, it would provide a venue to highlight Oklahoma filmmakers and to celebrate their works, a glorious vision. I thought to myself, when will it take place? I ask next June, about one year from now, we will start with short film screenings the first year and build from there.Speaker 2:
He went on awesome. I told him and was generally intrigued and excited for him at the conclusion of our reunion weekend. I wished him the best of luck. As you move forward planning the film festival. We saw each other and frequently over the next year, holidays in the such, but we were able to reconnect in April of 2001 and we had the opportunity to talk about the forthcoming dead center film festival. Inevitably, I asked how the film festival was proceeding. Okay. Said with muted excitement. We had the venue, a screening room located on the State Fair grounds and handful of films, three or four to be exact and one is my own. He went on. I've created the logo and promotional posters. How much money do you have to pull this off? I asked. Essentially everything is coming out of my own pocket and it's draining my finances. We have a few local sponsors that will help pay for the venue and print the posters.Speaker 2:
Beyond that, the budget is essentially $0 million. Wow. Sounds like you need to pick up the pace in order to pull this off in the next two months. Indeed, he replied, I left our impromptu encounter, a little discourage at my brother's predicament. He was extremely talented and had an awesome vision, but perhaps he needed a little help. I didn't know Jack about independent films and happening such as the Sundance Film Festival or foreign to me. However, I was resourceful and willing to help. I called my brother on the phone and asked him if he would be willing to accept any assistance that I might be able to provide. Surely he said he was open to any ideas and backing that would garner more submissions in order to create a complete slate of films for the event. Again, I was a complete novice in the world of independent film, but I was pretty adept at using the extremely slow dial up internet to do research and reading publications concerning independent movies.Speaker 2:
So I set forth on the mission to pull off the very first dead center and film festival. The mantra of my mission, my little brother will not fail. Over the next couple of weeks, I created a rudimentary website, paid for a post office box for incoming submissions and developed an entry form for filmmakers, which included fees for entering the festival. I continue to research potential independent films to invite to the film festival and I will tell you I ran across some real cinematic doozies, a version of Sopranos with all little people, cast two people using their hands to pose a crab bite. The list was weird as it sounds, but I trudged forward after several weeks. I had about 20 films in hand that I had invited or that had submitted and paid the fee from the money regardless or from the submission fees. We were able to take out an ad in a national independent film magazine.Speaker 2:
This boosted the submissions and gave us a few more bucks in the deal, but not much gain a better perspective of the world of independent films. My brother and I took a road trip to visit the bare bones film festival in Muskogee. We met with the directors, Sharon Butterfly and Oscar, a truly wonderful people by the way, and network with other filmmakers. This was an awesome opportunity to invite filmmakers to submit their films to our upcoming film festival. This netted us a few more submissions and kept the ball rolling. By the time June came around and we are ready for opening night. We were able to screen 60 short films. In fact, we had enough films to run screenings for two consecutive evenings. We didn't have money for advertising and promotions, so we were fortunate enough when two local publications ran stories about the event, maybe they were intrigued as we were the merge for the event included in a handful of white tee shirts in which we placed iron on transfers on the front concessions both nights of the event, consistent of hotdogs.Speaker 2:
My mom had cooked up, it was a shoe string budget all the way. I don't recall what we charged for admission, but I am sure it was minimal. We just wanted to be able to bank roll a few pennies in case the event would survive another year. To our surprise, both nights of the festival were sold out. People actually showed up to support local filmmakers in the format we put forth. Justin's vision came true and I had not let my brother down on my end of the bargain. More importantly, we did it together as the lights fade and on the second night of the festival and the proverbial curtains closed, I had the opportunity to privately celebrate the success of the first dead center film festival with my brother, with no one around. I told my brother the real reason that I'd helped him with the festival.Speaker 2:
I went on to tell him that it had nothing to do with independent film movies. Audiences are pulling off the impossible. What my brother said, it was all about the film. Some people loved it. No, I pulled them closer in a big brotherly hug and whispered, I love you. That is what the dead center film festival is all about. For me, we both cried and embraced further. Our brotherly bond had never been closer. 20 years after the first dead center film festival. You may read about big names attending the festival, people coming out in droves to the screenings and parties celebrating independent local filmmakers until the wee hours of the morning and now you understand what very few people know. The whole thing was formed and founded at a brotherly love. Although we have both have long since stepped away from the daily operations of the festival, it is left with the capable hands of innovative and creative people, namely Melissa Scaramucci, Khaki Porridge, Kim Haywood, Jeffrey L. Smith, Brian Hern, and Lance McDaniel amongst other people who were propelled it forward to the greatness it is today. My brother and I have an affinity for the festival and take a great deal of pride in the dead center film festival. However, beyond the Glitz, glamour, and celebrations, a greater message resides. One of commitment, one of respect, and most importantly, one of love elements of life that help us all become human together.Speaker 1: