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Sooner Theatre to host film festival

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Cory Allen is the director of Norman's first film festival. Cory Allen is the director of Norman's first film festival.
Vacant Era Films was established in 2006. Vacant Era Films was established in 2006.
The intent of the Vacant Era Film Festival is to jumpstart the "Oklahoma Film Movement." The intent of the Vacant Era Film Festival is to jumpstart the "Oklahoma Film Movement."
The historic Sooner Theatre in downtown Norman is the host of this year's festival. The historic Sooner Theatre in downtown Norman is the host of this year's festival.

By Darren Brown, News9.com INsite team

Norman, OK--The Historic Sooner Theatre has been first before.  Built in 1929, it was the first movie theatre in the region specifically built to show "talking pictures."  Now, some 70 years later, it's host to Norman's first official film festival. 

Cory Allen, the director of the Vacant Era Film Festival, says it's about time.  The festival runs Oct. 2-5.

"There's been really small renditions--but they didn't really qualify as film festivals," Allen said.  "They would throw 3 or 4 films out there, but this is Norman's first."

The aim of the festival is to help bring about the rebirth of the Oklahoma film movement. And according to festival coordinator Meleah Montgomery, the Sooner Theatre made prefect sense.

"It was just the perfect setup," said Montgomery.  "Vacant era--kind of gives you that feel of...there's been a void in time, and when you look at this theater it's so historical, it's been here for so long--it just kinda went together."

"We've got documentaries, we've got shorts, that are drama, horror, comedies, this new catchphrase that's got me is dramedy, continued Montgomery.  "We've got full length feature films--some of them are very artistic, more abstract, some are just straight out there."

But there's more to the festival than just films.  There's also live music, film workshops, and even a silent art auction.  The additional venues are within easy walking distance from the Sooner Theatre.

Allen hopes that this year's festival is the first of many, and that Oklahoma's vast talent pool gets the exposure that that it deserves.

"I think it's all about promoting--I really do. We've got a lot of talent here--artists, musicians, filmmakers. You name it--we have the talent--we can compete with any state--we can compete internationally," Allen said.  "Problem is, we're putting these embedded beliefs in kids' heads that live here in the state--'cause I was one of them--that you have to leave the state to be successful. We gotta change that--we can do stuff here."

The Vacant Era Film Festival runs Oct. 2-5, 2008. 

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