deadCENTER Film Festival: Okie Shorts Review

Okie Shorts
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One of the best things about the deadCENTER Film Festival each year is their short film programming. Short films is a form of filmmaking that may not get a lot of publicity but produces some of the best films you will see each year at the festival. 2014 was no different.

Here are the highlights from this year’s Okie shorts – films made here in Oklahoma by Oklahoma filmmakers.

Hana – Bunee Tomlinson has become one of the most promising and talented young filmmakers in Oklahoma. He has been making short films in Oklahoma since he was in high school and every time I see one of his new films, I am just blown away. He is getting better and better, and the best is still yet to come. This year’s film was an amazing story of an old man on his death bed who remembers one last moment of past happiness before he passes on. The themes, the acting and the direction was as great as expected from Tomlinson as he is making films that eclipse his age.

The Adventures of Banzai Bill – If you want to know how talented Tomlinson is, here he is again as the Director of Photography for a film made in last year’s 24 Hour film competition. The movie is about a young boy who believes himself a superhero and the lawn man who believes himself a villain. It is charming and very fun.

The Messenger – Based on an old urban legend about a military messenger who arrives at a hospital to deliver the news that a young soldier died on the field, but is then mistaken as that same young man’s father, who is also on his death bed. The film is well shot, and while the twist is easy to see coming, it is moving nonetheless and is another quality short.

Landmarks – Arguably, the most impressive visual treat of the shorts, Landmarks takes place in a land where people go hiking, only to suffer hallucinations and then never leave, dying on the trail. The story is of a man setting out to find the body of his brother and bring him home. Between the visuals of the beautiful landscape and the effects, this is a beautiful movie.

The Lightning Round – This movie reminds me a bit of Kevin Smith, as it is a movie that really isn’t about much but the dialogue and humor is what carries it to prominence. The entire short takes place in one apartment with a man and woman talking while on a date night. The unexpected occurs and the conversation goes to places you might never expect.

Other shorts that screened include Nacirematsitra, A Shot in the Dark, Nobody: A Journey Through Homelessness, The Merchandise, A Day at the Office, The Runner, and The Grocery Store.

Overall, this series of Okie shorts is worth seeing as all the movies are fun and entertaining. These films will re-screen on Sunday at 5 p.m. CST at the deadCENTER Film Festival.

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About the Author

Shawn S. Lealos
Shawn is a film critic with over 25 years of experience in print and online media. He is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle and loves everything from critically acclaimed movies to B-level action flicks.
  • Philip Paz

    Thanks for the kind words about our film “The Messenger” Had a blast at this years Deadcenter. I am currently shooting a short film I hope is accepted to next years festival.

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