The deadCenter Film Festival keeps hitting its targets -- expanding its audience and achieving greater influence in the film industry. Launching six years ago as a showcase for the state's filmmakers, deadCenter is crossing borders and boundaries and giving deserving talent a step into the spotlight.
"Justan Floyd, when he created the festival, designed it mainly to be a platform for Oklahoma filmmakers," said Cacky Poarch, deadCenter Film Festival executive director. "And it has grown so much to where, last year, we had six Canadian filmmakers come in, and we've always had filmmakers who have come in from L.A., New York, all across the Midwest, Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri."
This year's deadCenter, a film festival named for Oklahoma's geographic centrality, features a wide range of documentaries, short films and genre pictures, from beach movie slasher flicks to hard-boiled true stories about credit card debt to a Beastie Boys concert film shot by 50 fans.
The festival bows on Wednesday with a 7:30 p.m. opening night party and an outdoor screening of "Stomp! Shout! Scream!," a beach movie send-up by Jay Wade Edwards, an editor on Cartoon Network's "Adult Swim" series such as "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" and "Squidbillies." Thursday features the premiere of "Maxed Out," director James Scurlock's documentary about mounting credit card abuse, which includes interviews with Oklahomans who faced tragedy due to rising debts.
Poarch, in her fourth year as executive director of the festival, said deadCenter offers an essential service to filmmakers operating outside the mainstream.
"Sometimes film festivals are the only venues that they're going to have to show their films, especially documentary filmmakers and short films," she said.