The 13th annual deadCENTER Film Festival kicked off this week, and the event had a lot to live up to. Last year, the festival honored James Marsden and had his X-Men co-star Famke Janseen in attendance as well. The year before saw the highly anticipated Kings of Leon documentary and the year before saw Spike Jonze show up. This year has started out just as big with the opening night premiere of The Rolling Stones: Charlie is My Darling.
The Rolling Stones: Charlie is My Darling was shot during the Stones tour of Ireland in 1965 and takes the viewers inside the lives of one of the world’s biggest rock and roll bands. While the screening was supposed to be outside, under the stars, bad weather forced it inside on two separate screenings.
Thursday night kicked off with a very fun Opening Night Party on the rooftop of the Oklahoma Museum of the Arts. Filmmakers and special guests mingled, and none other than Wes Studi, the star of movies such as Avatar and Last of the Mohicans, was in attendance.
Wes Studi is at deadCENTER this year to present his friend and producer, Hunt Lowry, this year’s Oklahoma ICON award. Lowry produced Last of the Mohicans, A Time to Kill, Donnie Darko and many others.
Following the party, Tony hit up the documentary I AM DIVINE, which you can read his review of here, and I set out to catch some amazing short films.
The shorts I saw were part of a group called “Cutting Edge Shorts,” which pretty much means they are experimental films using some very interesting techniques.
Oh Willy is a strange little stop motion film that uses what looks like fuzzy little dolls. The story has a man return home after his mother falls ill, and when she dies, he seems lost. There is puppet nudity in the film, which makes this French film very awkward, but the story has the man head out into the wilderness to find his place in the world. It was a very strange film, and a great start to the block of shorts.
I’ll be Your Mirror is an experimental short that takes pages from a book and animates them into searching out the insecurities in our lives. It checked in at about two minutes.
Thinking About You is a very interesting sci-fi film about a world inhabited by telepaths. However, in this world the telepathy is enough to drive people insane, so they are forced to wear giant silver helmets. When the young man we follow meets the person who might be “the one” his parents tell him he will have to accept surgery to remove his telepathy.
In a funny statement, director Harrison Atkins was at the screening and said that the helmets were influenced by the fashion models who wore those giant futuristic helmets on the catwalks.
Parasite Choi is musical inspired experimental short, with 15 digital artists from 10 countries working together to create a hypnotic vision of a woman in the desert fighting as something inside her wants out. The music was Trent Reznor-ish and the visuals very disturbing and beautiful.
Coma was shot in Oklahoma City, and director Kyle Edward Van Osdol said at the screening that it was the deadCENTER Film Festival that influenced them to get their movie made. The story shows a man facing writer’s block who learns that he can control his body from his dreams, where he can accomplish anything.
The Darkroom was a three-minute short with photos and animation created by high school students.
Finally, #PostModem concluded the screening, a film that owes a lot to classic B-level ’50s and ’60s sci-fi flicks. The story takes place in a future where people want to find ways to literally connect themselves into the computer world. It is funny, bizarre, and slightly disturbing.
The deadCENTER Film Festival continues on through Sunday in downtown Oklahoma City. For more information about the 13th annual deadCENTER Film Festival, visit their official website.