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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — Any fans of the deadCenter Film Festival could buy tickets for the schedule launch party this year and many took advantage of the early jump into the excitement of the yearly festival.

To promote its schedule for the 21st dC June 10-20, the film “Golden Arm” was shown at the Winchester Drive-In on the southside, which will be the site for another event during the festival.

Just as last year, the festival will be mostly virtual but will have several outdoor events.


Mark and Lacey Layton have only been in Oklahoma City for a year but participated in the virtual festival last year and are signed up for this year, too. In fact they couldn’t wait and made sure they signed up for the Schedule Launch party at the Winchester.

They visited with us as they were helping their children, Audrey and Barrett get set up with lawn chairs in the back of their truck.

“It’s my Father’s Day present, so we watched it at home last year and really enjoyed it,” said Mark.

“It was nice for us to attend with kids,” Lacey told us. “We don’t have to get a sitter or find childcare in order to go.

They said that the documentaries were their favorite category of the festival last year.

Tracey Tzeek told us she has been coming to dC “forever.” She was one of the early volunteers for the festival some time over 13 years ago but still was eager to be at the Winchester for the first big event.

Seth Lewis, who we interviewed at one of the outdoor events last year, was at the Winchester with his friends for the event.

We asked the dC veteran fan how he thought the virtual festival went last year.

“It went smoothly and seamlessly. I was able to see more films. When it’s in person we really rush from film to film. We build spreadsheets to carefully plan out as many films as we can get to.”

But, Lewis said the at-home experience meant that they could view far more films than ever before.

“So it’s great. But I love the fact that we’re able to have some more interaction this year.”

We asked Selena Skorman what category of films she liked best.

“It’s gonna sound cliche, but I love the Okie Shorts because I love all the talent that’s here,” said Skorman.

One of the dynamics of the Okie Shorts is the proximity to those who made them.

“It’s amazing to meet everybody that’s involved with the making of these films,” she said.

Filmmaker, cast member

One filmmaker, Orin Ponkilla, had his lawn chair out and was ready to see Golden Arm. His film in this year’s dC is one of the Okie Shorts, “Writers Room.”

He said that this is his first film in dC and the experience of having a film in the festival was “equal parts exciting and anxious.”

A cast member of Golden Arm, Veronique Parker was out to see the film in that setting with her husband Zack and two children.

Parker’s character “Rambea” is one of character Danny’s crew in the film.

What was her experience of being a cast member in a movie?

“It was very surreal because I’ve been wanting to act my whole life,” said Parker. And, for this to be like one of my first big project first movies … it was just surreal. It was so exciting. Every single thing I was excited about.”

Golden Arm

Golden Arm’s story line mostly takes place in Oklahoma City and that was the main location for much of the filming.

The humorous, powerful film follows the twists and turns of Danny (Betsy Sodaro) a trucker and experienced arm-wrestler and her friend Melanie (Mary Holland) who seems an unlikely arm-wrestling contender until she starts working her way to the National Ladies Arm Wrestling Championship.

Brenda (Olivia Stambouliah) is the long-term nemesis of Danny defeating and injuring her in a match. That becomes the reason Danny recruits Melanie to rise in the arm-wrestling world eventually challenging the dramatic-looking and intimidating Brenda.

It’s a fun film with feminist meanings revealing the power of friendship and encouragement.

In the open air of a beautiful, still evening, laughter, hoots and shouts could be heard from the cars and pickups in response to the many colorful moments in the film.

Last Updated April 30, 2021, 2:11 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor