3 minute read

Short films are often calling cards for filmmakers looking to expand their visions into feature-length territory, but the short format can also be a preferred medium, a form that delivers its stories vividly and with brevity. As in past years, the 21st annual deadCenter Film Festival delivers a trove of spectacular short films as part of its roster.

In 2020, executive director Alyx Picard Davis took deadCenter online over an extended schedule, setting up the festival to survive and thrive just a few months into the COVID-19 quarantine. This year’s festival follows a similar format, with a few key live screenings taking place throughout the June 10-20 event, but the lion’s share of deadCenter’s offerings will be available through the festival’s Eventive portal. 

Film with George Lang

Last week, Oklahoma City Free Press previewed five must-see feature films from this year’s festival: Skating Polly: Ugly Pop, The End of Us, Alien On Stage, Rez Metal, and Dear Mr. Brody

Today, we preview five short films that must be on film lovers’ menu for the festival, which costs $100 for festival passes and $25 for deadCenter’s Pride programming, June 17-20. Visit deadcenterfilm.org for more information.

Full Picture

While most people were deciding what they could wear during Zoom calls without causing a fright on the other end, Santina Muha was dealing with something far more existential. Muha, a comedian, and paraplegic who performs with Upright Citizens Brigade, navigates Zoomland with a new option: whether or not to disclose her condition. 


Turtles can live as long or longer than humans, but do they have feelings? Is there such a thing as “quality of life” for a turtle with a circumscribed existence? This is what directors Alex Wolf Lewis and Kaitlyn Schwalje ponder with Snowy, a documentary about a turtle that lives in Lewis’ aunt and uncle’s basement outside Philadelphia. Snowy has lived in the basement for 10 years, and his only contact with the outside world is Uncle Larry. The documentary questions whether a turtle living underground can be fulfilled and happy.

Atomic Cafe: The Noisiest Corner in J-Town

Nancy Sekizawa’s parents opened Atomic Cafe in 1946, a year after being released from the California concentration camps where Japanese-Americans were detained during World War II. Three decades later, Atomic Cafe becomes the epicenter of Los Angeles’ punk scene, where you could see Black Flag, The Go-Gos, X, and Sid Vicious ordering Japanese cuisine. Sekizawa, who became known as “Atomic Nancy,” rode heard over the proceedings every night in one of the most unlikely punk nexus points in the culture. 

Urban Sphinx

Cleverly animated using street art in Valencia, Spain, Director Gabriel de Paco explores the transitory nature of posters and murals as they come to life and become connected, their faces interacting with one another through deft, quick-cut editing. In his unique approach, de Paco brings unexpected life to this vivid art, adding a third dimension to otherwise flat images.

Play It Safe

Implicit bias forms the center of Play It Safe, a narrative piece about Jonathan, a Black kid in South London attending a drama school where he is asked to play a gang member in a classmate’s play. Directed by first-time filmmaker Mitch Kalisa, Play It Safe explores how racism can appear even among those who perceive themselves as enlightened.

Last Updated June 9, 2021, 3:35 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor