As Tulsa Film Industry Expands, Festival Sees Growth In Second Year

Tuesday, October 11th 2016, 5:01 pm
By: News On 6

Over the last year, Tulsa has continued to make its mark in an industry that may come as a surprise to some - the film industry.

Earlier this year, restoration began and has continued on a Tulsa home prominently used in The Outsiders movie. Last week, the feature film The Recovery closed down South Boston between 3rd and 5th streets to shoot.

5/30/2016 Related Story: Renovations To Turn 'The Outsiders' House Into Museum Continue

10/5/2016 Related Story: Downtown Tulsa Street Gets Hollywood Movie Set Treatment

This week, the mark will continue to grow with the second annual Tulsa American Film Festival.

Executive director, Ben Arredondo said the first year of the festival started on somewhat of a whim. Arredondo said he came to Tulsa and started talking about a film festival in January 2015 and was able to get it together by October 2015 with the help of the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture, and others.

This year, with more time to plan, the festival is already seeing growth before it even starts.

"Last year we had the festival four days, this year it's five nights. We have four after parties, three panels, 65 films, last year we showed, I think 43. So it's bigger this year," Arredondo said.

Screenings will take place throughout the week at some of Tulsa's most notable venues, including Gilcrease Museum, Woody Guthrie Center and Circle Cinema.

One goal of the festival is to showcase American-made films and to encompass all that makes up American filmmaking. By doing that, this year, TAFF has built a strong showcase of Native American and Latino-based films.

"We have a very strong Native American film program," Arredondo said. "We also, this year, made an effort to build a Latino-American film program...We're trying to build the program to reflect what America's truly made of, and that's of all types, and colors and ethnicities."

The five-day festival starts Wednesday, October 12 and goes through Sunday, October 16.

In addition to film screenings, there is a wide range of events for people of all ages.

Thursday night at Ziegler Art Supplies in Kendall Whittier there's a free outdoor showing of horror movie Terror At Tenkiller which will be accompanied with Mystery Science Theater 3000-like commentary provided by local comedians.

There will also be several after parties that will provide networking opportunities - something Arredondo says is a very important aspect of the festival for those looking to be a part of Tulsa's growing film industry.

"A film festival bringing the local filming community together with industry people is really important because it introduces them to the talent that is here and exists here and the work that's being done here," he said.

As the city continues to expand and cement itself as a film destination, the goal of the Tulsa American Film Festival is to not only bring in people from around the country but to reach out to local residents.

"We really concentrate on just bringing Tulsans here...I eventually want to expand on bringing in outsiders, and we have a few coming in, and that's really great...but right now we're really just concentrating on trying to get Tulsans to come, and I think it's happening," Arredondo said.

You can find a full schedule of the festival, ticket information and other events on their website.