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Nathan Gunter, Managing Editor
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Nate's 2017 deadCENTER Film Festival Preview
By Nathan Gunter
June 8, 2017
It’s here! It’s here!
Tonight’s the night, folks: the seventeenth annual deadCENTER Film Festival launches tonight with a party on the rooftop of the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, followed by a long weekend of films, parties, panels, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
What is there to say about deadCENTER except every year, it seems to get better every year. I picked up my pass on Tuesday, and while there, I asked Kim Haywood, deadCENTER director of programming and education, what films I must see. As always, she provided great guidance, so without further ado, here are some of the films I’m looking forward to seeing this year:
The story of Richard Turner, who is known as one of the greatest card magicians in the world—and who is completely blind, Dealt traces its subject’s life from troubled childhood to lost vision to the struggle for success and what it means to master an art form. 6 p.m. Thursday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and 1 p.m. Saturday at Harkins Bricktown Cinemas.
For those of us who came of age in the early 1990s, the sound of grunge was the sound of self-discovery, of the adolescent quest to separate ourselves from our parents, from their music, from everything that had seemed wrong with the world as the 1980s closed. In this documentary from 1997, filmmaker Doug Pray traces the roots of the Seattle grunge sound from the Pacific Northwest. deadCENTER is showing this film to celebrate its twentieth anniversary, and with the recent passing of Chris Cornell, I’m more amped to see it than ever before. Free screening 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket.
The story of a musician stranded at an airport during 9/11, American Folk looks to be the surprise sleeper hit of the festival according to Kim Haywood. I’m not big on musicals, but in this case, I’m excited to give it a try, as the songs come organically from the story. Singer-songwriter Joe Purdy stars as Elliott. 6:30 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Harkins Bricktown Cinemas.
Dave Made a Maze
One of my favorite ongoing storylines of one of my favorite television shows, Community, involved the construction of elaborate pillow forts that stretched for square kilometers. Dave Made a Maze looks to exploit a similar conceit, and director Bill Watterson’s opus seems whimsical and exciting. (For a hot minute, I thought it was the same Bill Watterson who created Calvin and Hobbes. It’s not, but it looks exciting all the same). 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and 6 p.m. Sunday at Harkins Bricktown Cinemas.
I’m a sucker for a good celebrity documentary. I loved Joan Rivers: Piece of Work, Crumb, Amy, and Exit Through the Gift Shop. So when I saw that Moore native Neal Berkeley would be showing his documentary Gilbert—about the legendary comedian and actor Gilbert Gottfried—at deadCENTER, I knew I wanted to see it. Documentaries like these have a way of making me appreciate artists to whom I’d previously never given much consideration. 8 p.m. Friday at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and 9 p.m. Sunday at Harkins Bricktown Cinemas.
If you can make it out to any deadCENTER screenings—remember the showing of Hype! at the Myriad Gardens is free—you must. And in particular, try to see one of deadCENTER’s many shorts packages. They’re great—so many movies for the price and time of one!
The 2017 deadCENTER Film Festival is June 8-11 in downtown Oklahoma City. All Access Passes are $150, and tickets to individual screenings are available for $10 beginning twenty minutes before each film (but we say an All-Access Pass is the way to go). Get yours today at deadcenterfilm.org.