Film criticism, Wayman Tisdale and Oklahoma films highlight Saturday at deadCenter
An abridged version of this story appeared Sunday in The Oklahoman.
Film criticism, a local legend and Oklahoma moviemaking were on the agenda Saturday at the deadCenter Film Festival in downtown Oklahoma City. The last full day of the five-day fest played host to more than 40 short films and close to a dozen feature films across seven downtown locations.
Included among those films Saturday was “For the Love of Movies: A Story of American Film Criticism” which traces the profession from its origins to today’s climate, where dozens of film critics have been laid off from their full-time positions.
The director of the film, Gerald Peary, himself a film critic for the Boston Phoenix, was on hand to discuss the state of the industry, and the increasingly democratized state of it thanks to the Internet. While the legions of online critics — mostly young writers — represent a major shift in the way criticism is practiced and perceived, it’s not all bad, Peary said.
“This is not an anti-young person film,” he said. “This is not an anti-web film for sure. I really do feel two ways at once. I feel protective of older critics. At the same time, I agree with critics that say we should look to young people.”
Elvis Mitchell, former New York Times film critic and host of public radio program “The Treatment,” appears in the film and attended the festival to participate in a panel discussion with Peary.
Despite the fact that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to make a living as a film critic — a proposition that was always dicey, he said — the influx of different perspectives is certainly welcome.
“The great thing about now is that criticism isn’t monolithic anymore,” Mitchell said.
Saturday also saw the world premiere of “The Wayman Tisdale Story” a documentary about the NBA and OU basketball star and jazz musician who battled bone cancer and died suddenly last May.
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