The festival kicks off June 9, with programming all weekend long.
The 22nd annual deadCenter Film Festival, taking place June 9-12, announces Opening Night and headlining films, as well as public outdoor screenings, Oklahoma features, special partnerships – featuring the fifth production by OKC Thunder Films – and the inaugural presentation of undeadCenter.
The event returns entirely in-person, offering the usual festival-happenings, such as feature panel discussions, film industry networking events, expansion to new venues and new parties.
deadCenter Film programmers watched nearly 2,000 films during the first open call for programming since the pandemic. In addition, more than 1,000 films entered the Short film category in the first year after the festival was named an OSCAR ® qualifying film festival for live action and animated shorts.
Sara Thompson, deadCenter’s director of programming, joined the nonprofit in a full-time position last fall after 10 years on the programming team and works with a dedicated team of five programmers to bring the 2022 festival to life.
“Working to bring independent film back to the big screen in Oklahoma City has been a dream come true,” Thompson said. “The team was thrilled by the number and quality of submissions. I’m so proud of the lineup we have put together and can’t wait to share it with our audiences.”
The Opening Night Film on Thursday, June 9, is the documentary MAMA BEARS, an exploration of the journeys taken by Sara Cunningham and Kimberly Shappley, and their journeys as conservative, Christian mothers whose profound love for their LGBTQ+ children has turned them into fierce advocates for the entire queer community. The movie also spotlights Tammi Terrell Morris, a young African American lesbian whose struggle for self-acceptance perfectly exemplifies why the Mama Bears are vitally important.
The Closing Night Film on Sunday, June 12, is Butterfly in the Sky, a documentary on Reading Rainbow, the beloved classic children’s literary television show that introduced kids of the 1980s and 90s to the wonder and importance of books, thanks in large part to one of the most adored television hosts of all time, LeVar Burton.
Friday night, at the family-friendly Friday Night Frolic during Scissortail Park’s Night Market, OKC Thunder Films will debut their latest storytelling short film yet again at deadCenter, Seeds of Greenwood: A century after the Tulsa Race Massacre, the fertile soil of the historic Greenwood District is being nurtured. Seeds of Greenwood follows the development of Thunder Fellows- an afterschool program located in Greenwood that provides Black high school students with opportunities in sports, entertainment and tech through a curriculum based in data and analytics – in addition to the inspirational journeys of the Fellows themselves.
Getting it Back: The Cymande Story will screen on Saturday, June 11, in the Wheeler District, sharing the story of a group of black musicians coming together in South London with a shared love of jazz, funk, soul and Caribbean rhythms and a message of peace to form a unique sound. Facing indifference in their native Britain, their music lived on as new generations of artists such as Soul II Soul, De La Soul and the Fugees reworked and pioneered their sounds and message, prompting their return after forty years.
Feature films by Oklahoma filmmakers include Out of Exile directed by Kyle Kauwika Harris, Chicken House directed by Cate Jones and Tenkiller directed by Kara Shay Choate and Jeremy Brooks Choate.
Oklahoma music lovers will be interested in Oklahoma Breakdown, directed by Christopher Charles Fitzpatrick, which focuses on the life and musical career of local musician Mike Hosty.
Presenting the inaugural undeadCenter slate, Oklahoma filmmaker and festival alum Mickey Reece will curate a “Midnight Movie” genre of selections for the first time. This program will live on year after year, supplying the festival with a budding opportunity to further connect industry professionals with festival fanatics.
“Having experienced some amazing genre festivals and midnight sections over the past few years, I’ve wanted more than anything to help cultivate something like that here in OKC,” Reece said. “I’m beyond excited that we were able to pull some amazing features, short films, guest presenters, and a few fun events in town leading up to the festival. The genre community has existed here for a long time and I’m happy it’s getting the recognition of a wider audience through deadCenter.” Film titles will be announced with the full line up on May 6.
The Bison Pass ($300) offers access to in-person screenings, featuring NEW Express Admission RSVP capabilities, the deadCenter @Home Select Virtual Library and access to dCFF events. dC Festival Passes are ($175) and gain the holder access to screenings and dCFF events. Individual tickets may be purchased for $10 at the screening venue 20 minutes before start. deadCenter ticket prices have remained at the same rate for two decades to make independent film accessible to everyone.