From New York to Tulsa

Ben Arredondo and Abby Kurin, director of film, music, arts and culture for VisitTulsa, at the 2016 Tulsa American Film Festival


There’s one thing most attending the third annual Tulsa American Film Festival this month don’t know: The festival isn’t run by a Tulsan. Founder and Executive Director Ben Arredondo is a native Texan living in New York City.

He’s a producer, director and writer in that metropolis, where he also directs the NYC PictureStart Film Festival. Under his leadership over the past seven years, that festival has grown from a local one-night-only event to an internationally recognized festival in NYC and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Arredondo was visiting a friend in Tulsa and fell in love with Circle Cinema when he got the idea to organize a similar event here. Seeing Tulsa’s booming art scene, he says it was a shame the city did not have a traditional film festival. "There is a pretty vibrant, active film community here," he says. The first TAFFest was in 2015.

The 2017 festival will include screenings of 50-60 new independent films at various Tulsa locations. Featured guests will include Tricia Wood, the casting director for "La La Land," and film producer and former Tulsan Doug Claybourne. Claybourne produced the 1983 film "Rumblefish," adapted from the novel by Tulsan S.E. Hinton, which will be screened Oct. 12 at Guthrie Green.


Oct. 11-15

Tulsa American Film Festival

Various locations. $10, tickets to individual showings; $60, all-access pass; $90, VIP pass; free, students with a valid ID. Visit


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