A version of this story appears in Friday’s Weekend Life section of The Oklahoman.
Trail Dance Film Festival showcases independent film Friday and Saturday in Duncan
The eighth annual event strives to introduce up-and-coming filmmakers from around the globe to Oklahoma’s emergent film industry.
Melissa Sue Lopez’s first feature film is set among the adventuresome creativity of the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s annual “Momentum” young artists exhibition.
Now, the Mexico City native, 34, is bringing her mind-bending “Shutter Mind” to another big Sooner State arts showcase: Duncan’s Trail Dance Film Festival.
“I want whoever comes to Trail Dance to pay really good attention to the artists of Oklahoma and really open their minds that we have so much talent here and to support it,” said Lopez, the film’s Oklahoma City-based producer, director and co-writer.
“I did ‘Shutter Mind’ because I believe that in Oklahoma City we have amazing artists. People just think that in New York City, L.A., Dallas, is where the big thing is happening. But here in Oklahoma City, we have poets, we have musicians, we have actors and people that work really hard for the arts.”
The Eighth Annual Trail Dance Film Festival will show 58 short films, 10 short documentaries, 18 features and six feature-length documentaries Friday and Saturday at the Simmons Center, 800 Chisholm Trail Parkway, and the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, 1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway.
“Shutter Mind,” an experimental feature that blends fiction and nonfiction, won the best film and people’s choice awards at last year’s inaugural In Color Film Festival in Oklahoma City. For its second festival showcase, it will screen at 10 p.m. Friday in the Simmons Center’s Wildhorse Suite.
“I’m just excited to be a part of it,” Lopez said.
The Trail Dance Film Festival strives to introduce up-and-coming filmmakers from around the globe to Oklahoma’s emergent film industry. In 2007, it was named outstanding new event at the Governors Conference on Tourism, and Moviemaker Magazine has listed it on both its Top 25 Film Festivals Worth the Fee and Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals rankings.
Shawnee-area filmmaker Adam Hampton, 36, took his drama “The Cellar” to the inaugural Duncan event in 2006, and he has returned with several other features and shorts. After winning the best Oklahoma film prize last year for his darkly comedic costumed vigilante tale “The Unusual Calling of Charlie Christmas,” he is bringing the pilot episode of his meta new Web series “Rough Cut” to this year’s Trail Dance.
“It’s a very filmmaker-friendly festival, and it’s very friendly to small filmmakers, people who are just starting out,” Hampton said. “They try to make it an experience … and they try to put it together in a way where filmmakers can get their movies not just shown but seen. We love going, we love showing there, it provides a great way to interact with other filmmakers and fans.”
For his new project “Rough Cut,” which he wrote, directed and stars in, Hampton assembled a cast of his frequent collaborators, including his wife Angelina, to share the comedic adventures of a small-town indie film crew. The hourlong pilot episode will make its world premiere at 9 p.m. Friday at the Simmons Center Theatre.
“Every film set I’ve ever been on, whatever group of people it was with, at some point somebody is laughing about the process of independent filmmaking — low-budget, no-budget independent filmmaking – and talking about how much more entertaining it is behind the scenes than it is in front of the camera,” Hampton said, laughing. “It ultimately becomes about dreaming.”
At 10:15 p.m. Friday, the Simmons Center Theatre will premiere “Tempus Fugit,” a horror film that Moore writer/director Nick Sanford made starring Adam and Angelina Hampton. The filmmakers met several years ago at Trail Dance.
Durant to Duncan
Durant filmmaker Tyler Slawson will be making his first trek to Trail Dance with his second professional short film, “Consecrated,” a faith-based drama about a small-town dancer trying to shake the stigma of her dark past and find lasting love.
In 2012, the Southeastern Oklahoma State University alumnus, 23, shot the film in and around Durant, where he has lived most of his life.
“I can’t even express just how open the community is to helping me to bring these stories, these films, to fruition,” Slawson said. “We shot one particular scene in Durant Main Street’s office, and they just let me have the key for the weekend. We went in there and filmed and got what we needed, and I just returned it back to them on Monday. It’s just such a blessing to film here.”
After the short premiered last March in Durant for an audience of more than 70 viewers, “Consecrated” will make its larger debut at 9 p.m. Friday at the Wildhorse Suite at Trail Dance.
“This is my first acceptance to a film festival, so this is definitely very exciting for me,” Slawson said. “It’s a way for us to really get to connect with audiences and to connect with each other as artists and filmmakers and really work together for what it is we all love, which is telling stories.”
Eighth Annual Trail Dance Film Festival
When: 3 to 11:30 p.m. Friday and 10:45 a.m. to 10:45 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Simmons Center, 800 Chisholm Parkway, and Chisholm Trail Heritage Center, 1000 Chisholm Trail Parkway, Duncan.
Information: (580) 467-8519 or www.traildancefilmfestival.com.