Being IndependentPublished: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 7:00 am By: Dave Rhea
OKLAHOMA CITY - "I am glad you told me that, because now I want to come and shoot in Oklahoma City," said film director Paul Osborne.
He was responding to Gov. Brad Henry's signing of Senate Bill 318 into law last week, which increases the Oklahoma film enhancement rebate to 37 percent cash back on production companies' expenditures in the state, according an Oklahoma Film & Music Office press release.
Henry and OFMO's motivation is to attract film projects and production companies to Oklahoma. They and many others involved in local film projects estimate the rebate will boost in-state spending, and as a result, improve the economy as a whole - all the while advancing the burgeoning local artistic community. "Bringing film projects to any city helps boost the economy because filmmakers eat," Osborne said. "Crews eat. They buy gasoline. They shop. They are coming in with cash to spend."
Osborne is part of one of the feature presentations at this week's ninth annual deadCENTER Film Festival in downtown Oklahoma City. The festival begins Wednesday and runs through Sunday.
Events include movies, concerts and a showcase peace event on Saturday night, featuring pop-icon hippie Wavy Gravy. "We're going to have a hippie love fest with beads and peace signs, and Wavy Gravy will be there in person," said Kim Searls, marketing director for Downtown OKC Inc., which is promoting the festival.
The deadCENTER Film Festival started in 2001 as a small, two-day festival at City Arts Center. In its third year, it moved downtown.
"From that point on, we have continued to grow and grow and grow," said Festival Executive Director Cacky Poarch. The deadCENTER Film Festival has grown to a five-day festival with seven venues, 90 films and a series of panel discussions, including one on Osborne's film Official Rejection.
Osborne's film, screening at 2 p.m. Friday immediately before the panel discussion, is about the disappointments associated with navigating the corporate bureaucracy of larger film festivals such as Sundance and Cannes.
"But there is a good midrange of strong regional festivals, like the deadCENTER Film Festival, that are a great place for independent films to play that wouldn't otherwise find an audience," Osborne said. "They are doing the kind of job that Sundance used to do - finding the true new voices of independent film."