pop writer

I was on a film critic's panel at the deadCENTER Film Festival last weekend in downtown Oklahoma City.

Some of the filmmakers asked the panelists what they could do to get some coverage in the local papers to help promote their films.

The answer? Do whatever it takes to get us copies of the films before the festival begins.

Obviously, reviews don't really work for films shown at the festival because the movie won't be available to audiences afterward.

Ideally, we would need to be able to see the films before the festival so we could steer audiences toward a particular film we enjoyed.

Anyway, the deadCENTER Film Festival appears to be doing well. It's certainly growing.

Films were shown at several venues this year, including Harkins Bricktown Cinema, the Untitled Art Space, the Oklahoma City Museum of Arts and the IAO Gallery.

I watched "When I Find Bin Laden," from filmmaker James Bridges and writer Mark Walling. This is a film with budget issues and two songs that will get on your nerves.

But it tells a decent story, about an existential convict brooding his way through life on the outside, then signing on as an informant to help win his friend's freedom.

The film is well served by its male lead, Adam Hampton, who plays Justin, the recently paroled convict and ex drug addict.

Most of the other characters are a bit too quirky for their own good; it's as if they were coached on how to make a lasting impression in an independent film.

But with Hampton and a decent story, the film works fairly well for film festival audiences.

As for festival awards, the Grand Jury winner was "Inlaws and Outlaws." Best Narrative Feature was "Outside Sales," and "Occupation 101" won Best Feature Documentary.


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