NORMAN — Oklahoma City’s deadCENTER Film Festival began in the first year of the new century and has grown dramatically in those 14 years. It’s the Sooner state’s largest film festival.
International cred has been snagged for being among the “Top 20 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” according to Santa Monica-based MovieMaker magazine. Competition from filmmakers outside Oklahoma saw a decline in successful local submissions for a time but that trend moderated in 2014.
Many may have a misconception that film festivals are only for cinema insiders and those who make the films. Kim Haywood, deadCENTER’s Director of Programming, said anyone is welcome to attend.
“A lot of people are uncertain about what a film festival really is,” she said. “There’s a lot of education on our part to let them know if you like to go to the theater or watch films on Netflix you’re going to find the same kind of films, but you’ll see them at deadCENTER first.”
Part of Haywood’s role, along with many other team members, is to watch every film submitted to the festival. They then designate final selections with an eye toward including something of interest for everyone. Free outdoor screenings open to the public are one way the festival encourages broad attendance.
“It’s a great entry point and a lot of time you can bring your families out,” she said. “Then the rest of the festival is really no different than going to a theater and buying a ticket.”
One attractive aspect of the film festival experience over just going to the cineplex is that generally someone associated with the film is there to answer questions and take feedback.
“Also there are special events available where you can meet film people and develop relationships,” she said.