STILLWATER, OK—(Oct. 8, 2015) Red Dirt International Film Festival returns to Stillwater on Thursday with a tree-day event featuring films from around the world, live music, panels, special guests and an award ceremony on Saturday with categories for Oklahoman and international filmmakers.
The festival begins with a free kick-off party at Eskimo Joe’s with live music from red dirt music icons Chuck Dunlap and Scott Carson performing at 6 p.m. followed by screenings of the Oklahoma feature comedy, “Skid,” shown on the inflatable screen along with other Oklahoma comedies, including “Ronnie BoDean” starring Wes Studi. Local artists Dominick McClenny and Tres Dudes will perform and King Okie Brand Music Band will finish the evening playing all original heavy western music.
The festival will take over the Stillwater Community Center all day Saturday and Sunday. With over 50 original films shown back-to-back in four theaters, the screenings are organized by genre, including “6 or 7 hours of non-stop horror in one room with a horror panel featuring renowned Oklahoma personality Count Gregore and directors Josh Miller and Nick Sanford,” said Damon Blalack, the festival’s executive director. Festival-goers can also attend panel discussions, workshops on acting and screenwriting, more parties and an award ceremony on Saturday night.
“I think people think of a film festival as twelve people watching black and white films in a basement,” said Damon Blalack. “It’s really just the chance to see cool films before they are commercially available and mingle with the people who made them.”
Film festivals are also an important part of how independent filmmakers and producers find distribution for their work. These fests are industry events where professionals can network, learn about new tech and generate the press coverage that is crucial to a movie’s success. With the recent adoption of one of the highest film-rebate programs in the country and respected film programs at colleges around the state, Oklahoma’s film industry is growing, creating a new kind of revenue for local communities.
“It’s allowing a greater platform for the arts in central Oklahoma, and we have seen the numbers on how it’s effecting the economy of Stillwater,” said Blalack. “For each new fest we’re doubling the economic imprint of what was made each previous year. In 2015 we will have made a third-of-a-million dollar impact for the city.” Blalack believes that building a successful film festival takes many years of planning and promotion, leaving Red Dirt with lots of opportunity for improvement, saying “the potential is huge as we move towards our goal of being like a Sundance or Cannes of the Midwest.”
Programming Director Marisa Ferrell (405) 708-1818
Executive Director Damon Blalack (405) 880-0276 Prepared by Communitas Productions