Around this time last year, God and the Devil decided to have a cinematic battle for my soul, as I lay in a hospital bed, near to death and clinging to life. The worst part of it all, however, is that as I was struggling to gasp for air, the 18th deadCenter Film Festival was going on mere miles from me, and I was completely missing out on all the filmic frivolity for the first time since I moved back to Oklahoma City.
This year however, when it comes to sitting down in a comfy chair and watching films, possibly for hours on end, I’m ready for my press pass, Mr. DeMille. Having looked over their extensive guide, located here, to the 19th cinematic celebration of celluloid, I found seven films that—come Hell or high water—I am most eager to be first in line for, ticket in one hand and Diet Coke in the other.
(Civilian viewers, on the other hand, should probably know that All Access passes are on sale for $200, and individual tickets are available starting 20 minutes before each screening (subject to seating availability) for $12. Click here for more details.)
Covered here a couple of weeks ago, Red Dog is definitely one of the biggest tickets this fest, a documentary about Grammy-winning local musician Luke Dick going back to Oklahoma in the 70s and, with the help of some of the dancers, waitresses, owners and patrons, revisiting not only the rowdy atmosphere of the infamous strip club but his unpredictable life as a child of it and around it.
FRIDAY, 6/7, 8 p.m. @ OKC Museum of Art
SUNDAY, 6/9, 7:15 p.m. @ Harkins Bricktown
Oklahoma’s favorite bastard son, Nick Offerman, narrates the darkly comical tale of a woman on the brink—and then some—of massively devastating her life in Frances Ferguson, directed by two-time deadCenter award-winner Bob Byington. Sporadically teaching at the local high school, when a dalliance with a student earns her jail time, we follow Frances (Kaley Wheless) as she destroys her old life in order to create a new one, for better or worse.
FRIDAY, 6/7, 6:30 p.m. @ Harkins Bricktown
SATURDAY, 6/8, 6:45 p.m. @ Harkins Bricktown
As perfect as most of us think our mothers are, there are always tiny cracks that are growing and showing, with each new day of whatever trials and tribulations they maneuver through with what seems like graceful ease. The short film Peggy, directed by Oklahoma native Justin O’Neal Miller, shows what happens when that veneer finally breaks down. Peggy is part of the Okie Expats shorts program, featuring films from Oklahoma filmmakers living outside the state.
SATURDAY, 6/8, 1:30 p.m. @ Harkins Bricktown
SUNDAY, 6/9, 1:30 p.m. @ Harkins Bricktown
The Art of Self-Defense
Scheduled for only one screening on opening night, the long-awaited absurdist satire from deadCenter alum Riley Stearns stars Oscar nominee Jesse Eisenberg as a picked-on and put-upon guy who—after a rather brutal beating by a motorcycle gang—signs up for a self-defense class that takes a dark turn when he discovers his sensei’s diabolical night classes and, with it, a whole new world of hurt.
THURSDAY, 6/6, 8 p.m. @ OKC Museum of Art
Who Let the Dogs Out
Even when saying the title of this surprising documentary, you kind of want to sing it with a few added “ruffs” tagged on the end, don’t you? At the turn of the millennium, “Who Let the Dogs Out” reached a pop cultural zeitgeist that continues to be remembered today most heartily, but few people truly know about the true story of this catchphrase that “launched a thousand lawsuits” in this hilarious throwback from filmmaker Brent Hodge.
SATURDAY, 6/8, 11 a.m. @ Harkins Bricktown
SUNDAY, 6/9, 2:30 p.m. @ Harkins Bricktown
Come As You Are
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably tired of sex comedies that feature the same stereotypical trio of white teenagers looking to get laid. I was about to write the genre off until I heard about Come As You Are, a raunchy flick about three virgins with special needs who head to a brothel in Montreal to get some of that sexual healing that’s damn near impossible here in the states, possibly finding themselves and their independence along the way. We’ll have to see.
FRIDAY, 6/7, 9:15 p.m. @ Harkins Bricktown
SATURDAY, 6/8, 12 noon @ Harkins Bricktown
Narrated by Colin Farrell, this animated zombie short from Argentina recalls the better works of Tim Burton and Henry Selick while managing to create an otherworldly identity all for itself. Directed by Jorge Tereso and Fernando Maldonado, this VR experience features Gloomy, a lovelorn creature of the undead that is looking for love—joins the club, bub—and searches through a dark land for it. It’s featured as a part of deadCenter’s Virtual Cinema, open all weekend at 21c Museum Hotel.
FRIDAY, 6/7, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. @ 21c Museum Hotel
SATURDAY, 6/8, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. @ 21c Museum Hotel
SUNDAY 6/9, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. @ 21c Museum Hotel