If you missed any Okie Shorts Friday you can catch them again on Sunday June 12th at 5:00 p.m. in IAO Gallery.
A few selections that stand out are â€œCatoosa Blue,â€ â€œBlack,â€ and â€œAll That Remains.â€
This documentary features a unique town mascot and the history of the community that rallies behind it. Director Alexander Knight visited the blue whale several times during his family’s wanderings along Route 66. Last summer he met Blaine Davis, the son of The Hugh Davis.
Hugh Davis is the man who built the whale. After realizing there were many stories about the whale, Knight decided to return that summer to film a documentary about the whaleâ€™s 40-year history. Knight credits Blaine Davis for generously sharing his familyâ€™s photographs to help tell the story of â€œCatoosa Blue.â€
Knight feels the blue whale is special to Catoosa. It has not only become the townâ€™s mascot, but he said Time Magazine named the whale as one of Americaâ€™s top 50 roadside attractions. A segment of â€œCatoosa Blueâ€ even includes snippets of Youtube tributes made from people across the world.
â€œThe best thing about making films is being able to find interesting people and to help them to tell their story to a large audience.â€ Knight says. â€œThe world has so many interesting characters. You’d have a hard time making this stuff up!â€
Jack is preparing for a speech contest. At a critical moment when Jack contemplates dropping out of the competition, a chance meeting with a mysterious janitor changes Jackâ€™s outlook.
â€œBlackâ€ is a group effort that came about from a 24-hour film blitz. The makers, Alex Greenlee, Todd Greenlee, Tyler Anderson, Zachary Wolff, and Adam Greenlee, had no idea what the prompt would be. And the entire film, from script, props, shooting and editing, took place within the allotted 24 hours.
Todd Greenlee says they were given a set of guidelines. The plot had to revolve around a simple misunderstanding. The props they had to work with were: flashcards, chewy candy, a vacuum cleaner, and a fan. And lastly, they were told to use this line: â€œFasten your seatbelts because you are in for a bumpy ride.â€
They wrote two scripts and quickly decided â€œBlackâ€ was the script they would shoot, because their friend and actor, Dylan Shelby, resembles Jack Black. As a result of their collective efforts, â€œBlackâ€ won the University of Oklahomaâ€™s 24 Hour Film Blitz competition. This is the groupâ€™s first time to be featured in the deadCenter Film Festival.
â€œAll That Remainsâ€
Crystal Kayiza says her short documentary is about perception. In Boley, Oklahoma it is about the â€œoldâ€ squaring off against the â€œnew.â€ The decline of the population is evidence that those who are unhappy with â€œwhat isâ€ and want â€œwhat should beâ€ are moving away from Boley in search of opportunity.
Originally looking for a story to submit for the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts YoungArts competition, Kayiza said she hadnâ€™t really stumbled onto the story as much as researched it for weeks before filming any interviews.
Urged by film instructor Clifton Raphael to make the most honest documentary possible, Kayiza spoke with many of Boleyâ€™s residents, especially Mrs. Henrietta Hicks. Kayiza found it difficult to start the project. But once she created the opening sequences, the purpose of the story became apparent in the faces and voices of the townspeople she interviewed.
â€œTheir connection to Boley isnâ€™t something that stops at property, but their residence there is a part of who they are regardless if they stay,â€ says Kayiza. â€œItâ€™s a part of American culture that can be lost with urbanization and the push to move for opportunity. Itâ€™s not just a tragedy about the decline of this town; itâ€™s the story about the character of its residents and the importance of community.â€