Short films, like short stories, can be the entry to longer-form works for aspiring feature filmmakers or the preferred medium in which the director, screenwriter and star use brevity as a creative tool.
For 20 years, deadCenter Film Festival has consistently provided a strong showcase for shorts by Oklahoma filmmakers as well as national or international artists, bringing attention to short but impactful films.
cinemaby George Lang, Fiilm Critic
Starting June 11 and continuing for 10 days, the 20th annual deadCenter Film Festival will unspool online in response to social distancing measures. While the social component of most festivals will be sorely missed in 2020, the quality of programming is strong and uncompromised.
Starting next week, Oklahoma City Free Press will deliver extensive coverage of deadCenter, including features and reviews.
Today, we preview five short films that are worth long views. Film fanatics can enjoy the films a la carte for $10 or get the $100 all-you-can-eat plan with festival passes. Donor level passes are $2,500. Visit deadcenterfilm.org for more information.
Director Jacob Ryan Snovel and screenwriter Brooks Hall craft a mystery surrounding a group of kids piloting a borrowed drone around their neighborhood. When the drone crashes into a shut-in’s second-story window, one of the kids gets a serious shock when he ventures inside to retrieve the drone. Snovel, who directed 2010’s Do You Want to Go Out?, starred as Elvis Presley in 2017’s Mickey Reece’s Alien and appears in another highly anticipated deadCenter entry, the time travel film Shifter.
Set on a reservation in Oklahoma, director Erica Tremblay’s Little Chief stars Lily Gladstone as Sharon, a fifth-grade teacher facing burnout as she tries to provide stability to her young students, one of whom, Bear (Julian Ballentyne) seems particularly lost. Tremblay, a filmmaker and activist currently studying her Seneca-Cayuga language on the Six Nations reservation in Ontario, Canada, previously directed the documentary Heartland: A Portrait of Survival. Little Chief is co-produced by Sterlin Harjo (This May Be the Last Time, this year’s Love and Fury).
Send Me Wings
Directed by outgoing deadCenter executive director Lance McDaniel and written by McDaniel, Melissa Scaramucci and Tulsa-born star Rachel Cannon (Fresh Off the Boat, Mad Men), Send Me Wings tells the story of Sarah, a fashion designer who learns she has inherited an old church in her rural hometown. When she returns home to sell the property, she discovers a sick child living in the church.
As timely as humanly possible, director Brando Jyrome’s Justin tells the story of a teenage victim of police violence, piecing together moments of his life after he is killed. Justin takes place in Tulsa’s Greenwood Cultural District, the site of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, and is co-produced by Laron Chapman (You People).
Eat the Rainbow
Another film that captures the zeitgeist in an inventive and surprising form, Eat the Rainbow stars H.P. Mendoza as Bayani, a young man with cobalt blue skin who moves into a conservative suburb and is immediately challenged by a racist real estate agent (April Kidwell). The film is directed by Brian Benson, who also appears as Cousin Wonderette, a drag character who has featured in several of Benson’s films.
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