Film Industry Growing in Oklahoma / over $40 Million in Revenue Generated in Four Years

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Though Oklahoma is not a bustling center for Hollywood filmmaking, film and video professionals in the state are actually mak ing a living in the commercial production industry, according to Mary Nell Clark, coordinator of the Oklahoma Film Industry Task Force.

"We are looking at an alternative to the oil and gas and agriculture industries," Clark said. "It's in its infancy, but people are making a living in the film and video production industry."

"In four years time we have generated over $40 million in revenue in the state of Oklahoma from the film and video industry.

"It's not just in the glamour - motion pictures - it's also commercials, documentaries and movies for the home video market," she added.

Scenes from Oklahoma have been captured on the big screen in several major films shot on location in addition to the much-publicized ABC Movie of the Week, "Surviving."

"The Outsiders" and "Rumblefish," films directed by Francis Ford Coppola and shot in Tulsa, contributed about $10.5 million in the state, Clark said.

"A lot of states have higher numbers. I take money actually spent - what was actually left in Oklahoma," she said.

Other major movies which have been partially or entirely shot in Oklahoma include "Fandango" and Walt Disney's "Tex."

Clark said a couple of movies are lined up to be shot in Oklahoma.

"One I've been working on for almost two years. You have to be very patient in this industry," Clark said. "We may have one-day shoot soon. It's a CBS movie with Robert Mitchum."

Clark said portions of the television miniseries "The Blue and the Gray" were filmed in Oklahoma, but the state did not receive much recognition.

New ventures in the film industry are also being explored within the Sooner state. United Entertainment, a production company in Tulsa, is a pioneer in movie production for the home video cassettemarket. The company, owned by Bill Blair, has already completed three low-budget horror flicks, "Blood Cult," "The Ripper," and "Tenkiller." At least one more will be shot before the end of the year.

When Blair launched his company, there was some speculation in the industry as to whether a market existed for home videos, which are priced at around $60. The first movie, "Blood Cult" was released Sept. 30. Clark said that type of low-budget movie probably could not be made profitably in California.

The film industry task force distributes an annual production manual to large commercial production companies, advertising agencies, and movie studios in major industry centers throughout the country. The manual lists all Oklahoma companies and individuals that provide services to the industry.

This year the Oklahoma Film and Tape Professionals Association (OFTPA) is also distributing a state directory including more descriptive information about each company or individual listed. …