The deadCenter Film Festival is honoring four people as Oklahoma Film Icons during its 14th edition, which started Thursday.
This year’s Oklahoma Film Icon recipients are director and educator Fritz Kiersch, special effects make-up artist Matthew Mungle, Oklahoma Film and Music Office Executive Director Jill Simpson and actor Wes Studi.
“Oklahomans are succeeding in every part of the film industry today,” said Lance McDaniel, executive director for deadCenter Film Festival, in a news release. “Our icon award is meant to shed a light on the breadth of Oklahoma film talent and inspire the next generation of filmmakers and film professionals.”
Fritz Kiersch founded Oklahoma’s first comprehensive college film program at Oklahoma City Community College and then launched the Moving Image Arts Program at Oklahoma City University. Kiersch also directed the Stephen King horror classic “Children of the Corn,” which spawned an seven sequels. At the festival, Kiersch will host a 30th Anniversary screening of “Children of the Corn” at 9 p.m. Friday the 13th (which is tonight) at Harkins Bricktown. Kiersch and George Parra, executive producer of the acclaimed films “American Hustle” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” will lead a discussion about the future of moving images at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Oklahoma History Center,
Atoka native and Oklahoma State University graduate Matthew Mungle is one of the greatest special effects make-up artists working in film and television. He has been nominated for four Academy Awards, winning once for “Dracula,” and 26 Emmy Awards, winning six times. At the festival, Mungle will lead a class and demonstration on special effects make-up at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Oklahoma History Center.
After 18 years in Hollywood, Norman native and University of Oklahoma graduate Jill Simpson returned home to direct the Oklahoma Film and Music Office. During her tenure, the Oklahoma film industry economic impact has reached $400 million and the Film Rebate Program has been extended until 2024. Simpson led a panel discussion about making movies in Oklahoma this morning with the writers of “Rudderless” and the director of “The Veil” at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
Wes Studi is a full-blood Cherokee actor from No Fire Hollow that has created seminal roles in some of the biggest award-winning films of all time, including “Avatar,” “Last of the Mohicans,” “Dances with Wolves,” “The New World” and “Geronimo: An American Legend.” Studi will lead a conversation about his career with “Breaking Bad’s” Steven Michael Quezada at noon Saturday at the Oklahoma History Center, and will join a discussion about Native American Cinema later that evening, at 6:45 p.m. Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
The deadCenter Film Festival continues through Sunday at various venues around downtown. For more information, go to www.deadcenterfilm.org.