Screenings for the fifth annual Tulsa American Film Festival engage with a wide range of issues.
The Tulsa American Film Festival celebrated its fifth anniversary this year throughout Oct. 9-13. Screenings took place in many locations around Tulsa, including the Woody Guthrie Center, Circle Cinema and the Kendall-Whittier district.
Shows began on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. and continued through Sunday afternoon. Over 40 works were showcased during this event, with a focus on local filmmakers and recent works. There were a variety of films shown this year, including classic, short and feature films, as well as narratives and documentaries.
Some well-known showings included “Where the Red Fern Grows,” which was filmed in Oklahoma, and “Dirt McComber: Last of the Mohicans.” There were many interesting short films shown, often in a series, as many were fewer than 20 minutes in length. This set-up allowed film lovers to watch multiple films in one session, each with a different story and theme.
The Tulsa American Film Festival was free to TU students with the presence of their student ID. Many events were also free to the public as well, such as the opening night showing of Victor/Victoria with a free concert by local band The Golden Ones to follow. TAFF kept their line-up of events fun and available to all throughout their event, keeping community involvement a priority.
Many of the screenings were hosted at Circle Cinema in the Kendall-Whittier district. Circle Cinema is a non-profit, historic theater in Tulsa that features many films that cannot be seen anywhere else in the city, and it hosts events throughout the year such as TAFF. This venue is a great place to view creative and diverse films year-round.
Awards are given each year to the top films and features in each category. In 2018, 20 awards were given, including best actress and actor in a narrative film. Tulsa arts have been expanding in recent years, and hopefully this event will inspire more filmography in Oklahoma.
The themes of the Oklahoma based shorts included education, LGBTQ+ acceptance and the industrial environment of the cities. Friday night’s short film showing was full of diverse topics and a range of emotions for the viewers. The crowd cheered, laughed and cried as short films such as “Albright” and “The Stand In” were enjoyed.
Other events besides screenings included book readings and discussion panels. Clarissa Jacobson presented her book, “I Made a Short Film, Now WTF Do I Do With It,” at Whitty Books. Jacobson’s book describes how to navigate life after creating a short film through the press and even film festivals.
A panel was also held to give information specifically to new or young filmographers on the process of scoring films. Joseph Rivers, a professor of music and film studies at the University of Tulsa, was one-half of this panel, joined by film music composer Paul Cristo. The University of Tulsa’s faculty and students helped bring this film festival to life, and it is great to see TU in the local art scene of Tulsa.