Top Oklahoma Film Festivals

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deadCENTER Film Festival

Established in 2001, the deadCENTER Film Festival takes place in strives to grow the local film community in Oklahoma City. This event is held over a five day period and hosts movie screenings, educational panels and screenwriting competitions. Film submissions are accepted in five different sections including Narrative feature, Documentary feature, Narrative short, Documentary short and Animation. The festival also accepts film submissions from high school and college students.

Several awards are given out in all film competition sections as well as “Best Student Film”, “Best Okie Short” and “Best Okie Feature”. Grand Jury awards are also given out to one narrative feature and one documentary feature. Only film entries that were made in Oklahoma by filmmakers who are Oklahoma residents are eligible to enter into and compete in the Okie film categories. The deadCENTER Film Festival also offers a fiscal sponsorship program for filmmakers who are seeking production funds or distribution funds for non-commercial films. It is among the top Oklahoma film festivals that receive national recognition in the media through publications such as New York Times and The Boston Globe as well as MovieMaker magazine.

Bare Bones International Film Festival

The Muskogee, Oklahoma based Bare Bones International Film Festival has been in operation since 1999 and lasts for around 11 days each year. The event showcased over 150 movies during April 2010 and accepts film submissions in a variety of genres such as comedy, horror, drama, sci-fi and fantasy. Filmmakers accepted have been given two VIP festival passes and those with feature films were given four VIP passes.

The Bare Bones International Film Festival accepts entries in several categories including shorts, feature films, mini-movies, screenplays and micro films. Mini-movies can be narrative works or television pilots with a running time between 31 and 59 minutes. The Micro Films category is dedicated to short films under 10 minutes in length, movie trailers, music videos and commercials. Feature film submissions must have a budget of less than $5 million to eligible for consideration to screen at this festival. However, films produced by a major film studio with budgets less than $1 million are not eligible for competition.

This festival also hosts special events including panel discussions, parties and workshops that filmmakers, travelers and locals can attend. These events usually focus on one specialty such as acting, scriptwriting or movie production topics. The Bare Bones International Film Festival attracts films and filmmakers from the U.S. and abroad including Germany, Canada, India and the United Kingdom. The festival’s red carpet awards ceremony is held at the Roxy theater to present the following prizes: jury awards for the best films in each category, audience awards for films and movie posters, genre awards and a few special awards such as the Indie Auteur Award , Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lois J. Weber Award.

Trail Dance Film Festival

The Duncan, Oklahoma based Trail Dance Film Festival began in 2006 and lasts for three days each year. The event programs around 100 movies, helping filmmakers showcase their work to locals and visitors from around the country. Trail Dance is also one of the top Oklahoma film festivals that attract submissions from other countries. Submissions to this event have come from Australia, Hawaii, Sweden, France, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands.

Some filmmakers who had films screened at Trail Dance went on to receive additional opportunities such as distribution with the Starz cable network, directing opportunities on ABC’s Wife Swap and roles on NBC’s Heroes. Film submissions are reviewed by a judging panel that rates each entry on specific criteria to be eligible for inclusion in the festival. Submissions are judged on production quality, lighting, sound, acting, directing and story. Filmmakers with movies accepted into the festival receive four passes to attend and discounts on additional tickets.

The Trail Dance Film Festival gives out over two dozen “Golden Drover Awards” for short and feature length films in a variety of genres including comedy, thriller and drama. Awards given also include “Best Native American Film”, “Best Experimental Film”, “Best Foreign Film”, “Best Director” and “Best in Festival”. Trail Dance provided a $2,000 scholarship to one winning Oklahoma high school filmmaker in 2010.