Summer films with local ties
A vibrant scene brings Oklahoma to the screen.
“The Cherokee Word for Water” Director Charlie Soap with the film’s actors Kimberly Norris Guerrero and Moses Brings Plenty.
Filmmaking isn’t cheap, no matter how lean a film’s budget. So, it’s good for producers and good for the state when it provides some financial incentives.
Enter the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program, which offers a cash rebate on qualifying films and TV productions shot in Oklahoma. To qualify, projects must have a minimum budget of $50,000 — $25,000 of which must be spent in the state.
The incentives create opportunities for out-of-state productions and those with Okie roots, “allowing them to bring productions back to Oklahoma and support the growth of our local industry,” says Tava Maloy Sofsky, director of the Oklahoma Film + Music Office.
Here are some that movie lovers should watch for on-screen or on DVD.
“Let Me Make You a Martyr”
This independent film started production earlier this year, shooting in Tulsa and surrounding areas. Directed by Corey Asraf and Tulsa native John Swab, it tells the story of adopted siblings Drew and June Glass, who devise a plan to end the cycle of abuse they experienced as children.
When Drew and June assume responsibility for a little girl, they must decide whether to execute their plan or protect the child from the same fate they endured. It stars Niko Nicotera, Marilyn Manson, Sam Quartin and Mark Boone Junior.
The film written and directed by Keshav Tyagi tells the tale of a college student who begins selling prescription drugs and falls into a world of crime.
Filmed in Oklahoma this past spring, its producers sought to cast local actors and feature local musicians for the soundtrack. Tyagi and his team plan to enter “Blueberry Hall” into film festivals upon its completion.
The incentive program is not only for small independent filmmakers. It also has attracted big names.
Recently released on DVD, “Rudderless” was the directorial debut of actor William H. Macy and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014.
Filmed in Oklahoma City in 2013, it stars A-list actors Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Felicity Huffman, Selena Gomez, Jamie Chung and Laurence Fishburne.
Oklahomans Casey Twenter and Jeff Robison wrote the script, which tells the story of a father who finds a way to cope with his son’s death after discovering his son’s demo tapes and lyrics.
“The Cherokee Word for Water”
Charlie Soap directed this film shot in Oklahoma. It was inspired by the true story of a rural Cherokee community’s success bringing running water to their area.
It won “Outstanding Theatrical Motion Picture” at the 2014 Western Heritage Awards. The film’s cast also was nominated for “Best Actor,” “Best Actress” and “Best Supporting Actor” at the 2013 American Indian Film Festival.
Toy Gun Films released a teaser clip for its action/adventure/sci-fi film “The Veil,” which tells the story of a warrior who turns against his own empire to defend an oppressed civilization during war. Brent Ryan Green directed the film; Jeff Goldberg provided the story. It stars William Levy, Serinda Swan and William Moseley.
Filming locations included Turner Falls, Red Rock Canyon State Park and the Wichita Buffalo Ranch.
Not filmed here, but about here
Although not filmed in Oklahoma, the upcoming feature film “Black Mass” is one Tulsans will want to see.
Johnny Depp stars in the movie as one of the most feared gangsters in American history. Ruthless Boston criminal Whitey Bulger became a household name in Tulsa when he allegedly ordered the death of Roger Wheeler, chairman of the Tulsa-based Telex Corp. Wheeler was killed in 1981 at an unlikely location, Southern Hills Country Club, following a round of golf.
Scheduled for a theatrical release in September, “Black Mass” also stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton and Dakota Johnson.