OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — The nonprofit deadCenter Film organization cut the ribbon on their latest headquarters in downtown Oklahoma City Monday.
Much larger than their three previous office locations, the space allows for the further expansion of its operations as a year-round film education organization.
In addition to its popular week-long deadCenter Film Festival, the organization has spawned film festivals and film education workshops across the state in its 20+ years.
Its prominence as a national and international festival has grown so that now it is an official part of the festival route for filmmakers to the ACADEMY AWARDS®.
At the ribbon-cutting, Executive Director Alyx Picard Davis talked to Free Press about the significant move.
“This marks a progression in our locations,” said Davis. “We started out in a cubicle over at Cardinal Engineering thanks to Steve Mason. We moved over to the Hart building on Film Row, thanks to Chip Fudge. We moved into the Paramount building thanks to Paramount Partners. And now we’re here. And it’s just exciting.”
“It feels like growth, it’s moving forward. And we now have a space that we can really invite people into all year round.”
Davis is impressed with the location at 223 S. Walker, only one block away from Scissortail Park. And, she appreciates the other three locations they have had over the years.
“Each space was the best location at the time,” Davis told us. “And so, we are excited to see what we can do in this space. And when you do look out, you see the PayCom Center. You see Scissortail Park. You see the Colcord [Hotel], which has been a longtime staple of the festival.”
“You get all of these reminders of our city and where we’ve been and where we’re going and I cannot think of anything greater than being able to do that every day. So I’m very grateful for this building. The fact that we get to occupy it is a blessing.”
The exterior of the property and the location allow many advantages to an organization that involves a constant year-round stream of volunteers and an intense month of preparation and execution of the festival itself.
A parking lot and side-street parking as well as nearby access to bus and streetcar routes give the spot functional access that was more challenging in previous locations.
For the first time, their headquarters has an actual back patio and yard that will allow for a number of functions during the festival and throughout the year.
We asked Miranda Patton, director of operations and festival, what she saw as the advantages of the location.
“We have the streetcar right down the street that goes right in front of the Harkins [Theater in Bricktown, a key festival location] and everywhere else that we’re going to be so that’s very functional,” said Patton.
“And then just the vibe in the office is so much better. It’s amazing what a couple of windows can do. So having that space where people can come in and communicate with us and feel at peace and not be in the basement is also very very nice.”
At 223 S. Walker, the building was originally purpose-built as a sign-painting shop in the days before adequate artificial lighting when all signs of any size, including billboards, were hand-painted. To meet those needs it was built over one story high and is made up of almost all window space on the east and south sides.
After being used for many purposes over the years since and for a time falling into disrepair, Humphrey’s Capitol restored the building to its original exterior beauty and refitted the interior for their offices designed to fully leverage the open space and natural light of the building.
When Humphreys Capitol moved to new offices in their Wheeler District development just south of the Oklahoma River they made the building available to deadCenter and allowed the organization to use the office furnishings that were already there.
Ward 6 Oklahoma City Councilor JoBeth Hamon came to the ribbon-cutting. The core of the city including downtown is in her ward. She talked to us about the significance of deadCenter moving into the new space and location.
“I think especially coming out of kind of the COVID world we’ve been living in and trying to transition into this new normal having a space that is more open more accessible and I think has more of a visible presence is a huge and exciting development,” said Hamon.
Two representatives of The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce came and presented a plaque to deadCenter for the ribbon-cutting. We talked to one, Gary Schones, about the significance of the move.
“I think probably the key thing is the visibility,” said Schones. “This is such a visible location. Actually, with all of the glass in the windows and ground level. I mean, there’s a lot they can do to really draw attention to themselves.
He acknowledged the impact the pandemic has had on all organizations including deadCenter.
“I think it’s a great step for them as far as the recovery process … just getting back into normal growth they were trying to have prior to COVID. This is a huge asset.”
Last Updated October 21, 2021, 11:12 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor