deadCENTER Film spent the past week making a Zombie movie with students from Taft Middle School at Studio 222. deadCENTER’s Kim Haywood and Lance McDaniel taught a story telling class last month using student made short films. Then, based on student ideas, they created a script, taught acting and production classes and produced a movie using all 22 students from the Studio 222 program. Oklahoma City University students volunteered to teach the students how to set up and work with the camera, sound and lighting equipment. And, the OCU students helmed the camera and boom during the shoot, with special guest boom operator Brenda McDaniel on hand for the final day of filming. This project was one of several education initiatives created this fall by deadCENTER Film to help groom the next generation of Oklahoma filmmakers.
From left to right, Smash His Camera Producer Adam Schlesinger, Director Leon Gast,
subject Ron Galella and Producer Linda Saffire.
The BFI London Film Festival wraps up this week after two weeks of films from all over the world. The BFI Festival is not necessarily a critical stop on the festival circuit like Cannes, Toronto or Sundance. But, the consistent brilliance of the British film industry and London’s role as a world capital ensure that the BFI festival is filled with important films from around the world. Many of the more popular films were bigger budget, English language selections featuring famous actors and directors. The American, Conviction, Black Swan, The King’s Speech, and Blue Valentine all featured Oscar nominees looking for another go this year. The opening night film, Never Let Me Go, starring Kiera Knightly, was directed by Mark Romanoff, who participated in a very candid Screen Talk my first night in town. He explained how he moved from a highly regarded music video career into the feature film world. Other stand outs included the controversial punk Muslim feature, The Taqwacores, based on the novel credited with creating a sub-culture throughout the Middle East; Heartbeats, by 21 year old French Canadian auteur Xavier Dolan; The Tillman Story, a shocking indictment of US war propaganda led by the family of the man being touted as a national hero; and, Revolucion, a collection of short films by famous Mexican directors and actors to commemorate the 100 anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. The range of stories was stunning and actors Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal from Y Tu Mama Tambien proved as effective behind the camera as in front. My wildest experience was at the screening of Smash His Camera which was attended by Oscar and Sundance winning director Leon Cast. As luck would have it, I was sat next to the subject of the film, renowned paparazzi photographer Ron Galella, who provided a running commentary throughout the film. As someone who was punched by Marlon Brando and sued by Jackie Onassis, he had plenty to say. It was like a live version of a DVD commentary track. Otherwise, I spent most of my time at industry screenings watching awesome documentaries and foreign films and meeting foreign distributors and sales people. As deadCENTER Film moves into our second decade, we are committed to seeking out the very best movies from around the globe and luring them back to Oklahoma: the deadCENTER of the universe.
Local filmmakers joined the staff of deadCENTER Film to teach film making to the amazingly adept 5th Graders at Westminster Elementary school in Oklahoma City. deadCENTER COO Kim Haywood and film producer Sarah McCombs taught film production classes, taking students from script to screen, discussing and assigning positions and analyzing and breaking down scripts. Oklahoma City Community College film professor and writer/producer Sean Lynch worked alongside Patricia McDaniel and Production Sound professional Sam Harris to demonstrate the Red Camera, lighting packages and various audio equipment used in film production. deadCENTER Executive Director Lance McDaniel led acting classes with help from OCU student actor Hassan Nazari-Robati. Now, the teachers at Westminster will lead the kids in producing their own scripts. Future filmmakers, arise and fulfill your destiny!
The staff, board and volunteers of deadCENTER Film raised over $1300 dollars for local AIDS/HIV support organizations this past Sunday for the OKC AIDS Walk. 13 official team members and a horde of other supporters marched through downtown OKC to draw attention to those people living with HIV/AIDS in Oklahoma. This year was the largest AIDS Walk in Oklahoma history and was a fantastic celebration.