Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Expanding Its Focus: OKC Film Festival Makes Some Changes for Its 11th Year

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Expanding Its Focus: OKC Film Festival Makes Some Changes for Its 11th Year

Article excerpt

For its 11th year, the deadCENTER Film Festival is expanding its screen presence to Bricktown and reaching out to corporate sponsors in ways it hasn't done before.

Lance McDaniel, who is serving his first year as executive director of deadCENTER, said this year's event - June 8-12 - should give independent film aficionados more time and places to see movies. For the first time, two screens at Harkins Theatre in Bricktown will be used, along with traditional venues like the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and Kerr Auditorium at SandRidge. In addition, a full day's worth of films will be offered on the Sunday, the last day of the festival.

"Before, Saturday night was our last deal, and we had a highlight reel on Sunday, but we realized that for most people who work, they can't take off Friday to see films," McDaniel said. "So to address that reality, we've added some of our strongest films all day on Sunday."

DeadCENTER also has reached out to corporate sponsors in a much bigger way this year. McDaniel said they've had a few sponsors in years past, but not many. Such sponsors are an integral part of growing attendance at the festival, he said.

Corporate sponsorship itself is a powerful endorsement of an event like deadCENTER, McDaniel said. But that relationship also gives festival organizers access to thousands of local employees to let them know more about the event. They've not missed that opportunity, leveraging the connection with free movies for employees on their corporate campuses.

"We're constantly looking for ways we can add value to these corporations that want to partner with us, because they believe in the power of film to draw positive attention to Oklahoma," he said. "We have 20 corporate sponsors this year, and I think that will continue to grow."

The festival receives film submissions from around the world, but continues to have a strong Oklahoma representation with about 20 percent of the movies, McDaniel said. That's not surprising, he said, given the quality of local colleges' film programs and even some high schools, including one at Jenks.

Among the Oklahoma films this year are two from the Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby and Mardel. …

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