A portrait of a family on the brink of dissolution set against the haunting backdrop of the refineries of Southeast Texas, and a heartwarming story about the healing power of music, won top honors at the 14th annual deadCenter Film Festival, which closed Sunday.
“Hellion,” directed by Kat Candler, was selected as the Grand Jury Narrative Feature category winner, and Michael Rossato-Bennett’s “Alive Inside” won top honors in the Grand Jury Documentary Feature category.
The Oklahoma Film Critics Circle, of which I’m a founding member, selected Kyle Roberts’ superhero teen drama “The Posthuman Project” as the Best Oklahoma Film. “The Posthuman Project,” the story of a group of high school friends who go on a rock-climbing trip to celebrate their graduation and receive a genetic boost that gives them superhero abilities, was written by The Oklahoman Features Editor Matthew Price and Tulsa-born comic-book writer Sterling Gates. It is the first feature film for Roberts, who is a NewsOK videographer as well as a filmmaker.
Other award winners:
Special Jury Prize: “The Case Against 8,” a behind-the-scenes look inside the case to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage. Directed by Ben Cotner and Ryan White.
Special Jury Oklahoma: “Sewing Hope,” the story of Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe and her fight to bring hope back to her nation after 25 years of terror in northern Uganda at the hands of Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. Directed by Derek Watson.
Best Narrative Short: “The Karman Line,” the story of a mother who contracts an unusual illness and begins to rise gradually into the air. Directed by Oscar Sharp.
Best Documentary Short: “Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace,” follows New York-based painter Kehinde Wiley as he steps out of his comfort zone to create a series of paintings of women and reveal a new look at beauty in the 21st Century. Directed by Jeff Dupre.
Best Student Film: “Playtime,” the story of a 10-year-old British expat living with his mother in a suburban neighborhood in Kuwait. Directed by Hamad Al-Tourah.
Best Short Screenplay: “Tattoo,” by R. Wayne Gray.
More than 1,000 films were submitted this year for deadCenter, more than any previous year, according to a news release. Approximately 700 films were submitted in 2013.
The winners were selected by an independent panel of film industry professionals that includes respected directors, writers, producers and actors. Judges included Kat Candler, Morton Denn, Chuck Foxen, Gray Frederickson, Brent Ryan Green, Fritz Kiersch, Hunt Lowry, Greg Mellott, Clifton Raphael, Amy Rice, Vivienne Roumani, Sam Shapson, A.J. Sheeran, John Springer, Victoria Sturtevant, and Derek Watson.
The deadCenter Film Festival is a non-profit organization, providing year-round events to support its mission to promote, encourage and celebrate the independent film arts. The 2014 festival started Wednesday and continued through Sunday, offering more than 100 film screenings, along with panels, parties, concerts and other events.
It is Oklahoma’s largest film festival, recognized as one of the “Top 20 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” according toMovieMaker magazine.
More than 15,000 people attended deadCenter Film Festival screenings in 2013, generating an economic impact of approximately $1.14 million for Oklahoma City. For more information, go to www.deadcenterfilm.org.