Abby Kurin coffee

Abby Kurin

It’s an unseasonably warm morning in December, but that doesn’t stop Abby Kurin from enjoying her steaming oatmilk latte with cinnamon. She’s poured it into her insulated pink cup as she sits inside Topeca Coffee, 100 E. Second St. 

Kurin is executive director of the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Art and Culture, which means she’s been busy despite the ongoing pandemic.  

On Tulsa FMAC’s growing production schedule ... 

It has been a wild year. We worked with 11 productions in 2017. In 2018 it jumped to 20, and then in 2019 it went up to 32.  

Then when the pandemic hit, first everyone was like, “What are we going to do?” Like taking care of everyone, making sure we can get back to work safely. Throughout the pandemic, paired with state legislatures supporting the growth of the film rebate, the County supporting the Tulsa County Film Recovery Program through CARES Act funding resulted in us working with 41 productions. So that absolutely shows the impact of people coming and making projects. That number just is going to continue to rise.  

“Reservation Dogs” was one of the biggest hits of 2021, and it was filmed here. On what its success means for the future ... 

Following Sterlin Harjo on Instagram, it’s so funny because you see him resharing all the “Reservation Dogs” promos, the taxi cabs, the billboards from all around the country. People around the world fell in love with “Reservation Dogs,” and they’re like, “Where was this?” It was right here in Oklahoma. 

When we’re promoting filming to happen in the state and specifically in our region, the first thing we do now is tell the story how Sterlin Harjo’s “Reservation Dogs” was based and filmed here. And then the response is often like, “Oh, that’s incredible!” That’s such a great story to tell and such an incredible example to give that you can make your projects here. 

When she embarked on this career, she fully believed she’d someday be helping filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, and she is ... 

We just have such an incredible statewide passionate group of individuals. No one person is responsible for the trajectory of this. It’s everyone involved, and it’s everyone continuing to get involved and advocating and wanting to be a part of the industry. So yeah, my bright-eyed, 23-year-old self that was like, “I want to work in film” … I always knew this was only going to get better and better, and it just keeps getting better and better. 

Besides “Reservation Dogs,” she’s also obsessed with another big television show ... 

“Succession” is so good. Chuck (Foxen) and I celebrated our anniversary by cooking dinner and watching it. We’re really enjoying it. Oh, and “Ted Lasso.” I think every human should watch it.  

When it comes to movies ... 

I loved “Spencer,” but I’m a huge Princess Diana fan. And “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” Loved it. So great. I also watched “Sound of Identity” for the second time. It’s a Kirkpatrick and Kinslow Production and such an incredible story. I’m a huge fan of Lucia Lucas.  

FMAC helped support more than 600 local live performances through the Play Tulsa Music program this year. Speaking of music, Abby’s most-played music last year ... 

If I’m being fully transparent, I got three Taylor Swift albums, and I’m feeling pretty damn good about that. I really am. Oh, my gosh, it was the best. I love them all. I feel like at some point I need to be honest about my love for her. 

A woman’s got to eat. On her favorite meal in Tulsa ... 

My absolute new fave I can’t get enough of is Que Gusto. I am there once a week. They make a gluten-free empanada, and then their yucca fries ... holy moly! Sign me up. One day I danced out of there, oh, so happy, and I’m pretty sure the chef was like, “I don’t know about her, but OK.”  tp

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