deadCENTER Film Festival In OKC Celebrates Independent Movies - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

deadCENTER Film Festival In OKC Celebrates Independent Movies, Thunder's Big Win

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The deadCENTER Film Festival will showcase 100 films in downtown Oklahoma City. The deadCENTER Film Festival will showcase 100 films in downtown Oklahoma City.

It may not seem as if independent filmmaking and an NBA championship have much in common, but the organizers of the ever-growing deadCENTER Film Festival say the Thunder's recent victory in the Western Conference is a boost for the already popular movie event.

For 12 years, deadCENTER has brought some of the best independent filmmakers and movies to downtown Oklahoma City. This year, the festival runs from June 6 through June 10 and will feature more than 100 documentary and feature films. Many of those films were either made in Oklahoma, made by Oklahomans, or star Oklahomans.

"One of the great things about our film festival, I would say 20 to 30 percent of [the films] happen to be from Oklahoma," said deadCENTER Executive Director Lance McDaniel. "We do not seek out Oklahoma films. We don't give them any special preference when we're judging, but the fact is Oklahoma filmmakers are doing great work."

McDaniel is also excited about the long list of celebrities attending this year's festival; they include native Oklahomans Megan Mullaly and James Marsden, as well as Famke Janssen, Chris Kattan and Nick Offerman.

"What's great is they're all here because they're all involved in movies, and most of those movies were made here in Oklahoma."

Learn more about the deadCENTER Film Festival

McDaniel says the film festival decided to do something new this year to help filmmakers navigate the tricky waters of the movie industry. The festival flew in film distributors and sales agents, and created a forum to educate filmmakers on the best way to publicize their films and possibly sell them.

"There's no guarantee their film will get sold, but filmmakers will get to meet with people in the industry. From a business perspective, that's probably the biggest change [to the festival] this year."

The deadCENTER Film Festival is so named because it's held in Oklahoma City, the "dead center" of the United States. McDaniel says some visitors have negative ideas about Oklahoma City before they arrive, but once they explore the city they quickly change their minds.

"I don't think people are prepared for how beautiful Oklahoma City is, and how exciting it is at this point. They come to our festival and they just can't believe Thunder fever, Bricktown, and the river; they just can't believe all these great things. People's expectations of Oklahoma just aren't as strong as the reality of how cool it is to live here."

McDaniel says filmmakers are also impressed with how warm and welcoming Oklahomans are.

"I think that part of the reason we have grown is because filmmakers are treated very well here. So whether you're a first-time filmmaker… or whether you're Spike Jonze, who's been nominated for an Oscar, we treat everyone great."

The Thunder's big win over the Spurs came just as the film festival began Wednesday. McDaniel says the team's Western Conference win brought welcome attention to deadCENTER.

"The better the Thunder does, the better Oklahoma does. There's nothing else that could give us that kind of spotlight."

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