deadCenter Film Announces Films for 21st Annual Festival

deadCenter Film has selected a record-breaking slate of more than 175 films to screen during the 21st annual deadCenter Film Festival, June 10-20. This year’s celebration will be a hybrid attraction, with movies available online for the duration of the festival and will offer limited outdoor screenings and events for passholders, sponsors, and the public over the first weekend, June 10-13. 


Following a quick pivot due to COVID-19 and the international success of its first online festival format, deadCenter Film received more than 800 submissions from around the world. Of the all-time high selection rate, the 21st annual event boasts twenty-eight feature films which will join 150 short films grouped into various programs by theme (like a mixtape!). This year’s slate spotlights a diverse range of perspectives for a wide variety of ages, from stories set during the pandemic to documentaries revisiting the past. Also returning this year are deadCenter’s Community Showcase, featuring short films that are free and available to the public online, family-favorite kidsFest, and techCenter, bringing film technologies and virtual reality films to Tower Theatre on June 11-12.



Starting things off as dCFF’s Opening Night film, How It Ends features familiar faces Zoe Lister-Jones, Fred Armisen, Olivia Wilde, Helen Hunt, and Lamorne Morris as Liza (Lister-Jones) decides to go to one last party in the face of the apocalypse. Inbetween Girl marks Mei Makino’s directorial debut with a story about a teen artist struggling with her identity following her parents’ sudden divorce. And, Moving in 2008 explores a family’s personal tragedies compounded by the 2008 financial recession through writer/director/producer Calogero Carucci’s narrative lens.



Captured by female directors Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer, Alien on Stage follows a group of bus drivers as they adapt Ridley Scott’s epic sci-fi film for the local stage. Iranian-American filmmaker Ashkan Soltani turns up the volume on Indigenous heavy metal music with Rez Metal, exploring the universal culture of metal, its creation, and its value as a source of inspiration, happiness, and belonging. And, No Ordinary Man chronicles the talent and impact of 1930’s jazz pianist and transmasculine pioneer Billy Tipton, a tender topic deftly documented by directors Aisling Chin-Yee and Chase Joynt.



There are twenty-eight films by Oklahomans included in this year’s festival. The documentary Holy Frit from Justin Monroe (The Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams of Duncan Christopher) explores the high stakes of stained-glass. Feel So Good marks Ben Tefera’s return to deadCenter with the feature film version of his 2020 short narrative film of the same name. Zoe Sherinian’s Sakthi Vibrations documents two radical Catholic nuns in India as they use the Tamil folk arts to improve the lives of women through music. And, Skating Polly: Ugly Pop peeks into the early years of multi-instrumentalist step-siblings Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse AKA Skating Polly and is directed by Henry Mortensen.


Short films will be presented as part of the beloved “Okie Shorts'' program and include Totsu (Redbird), Sardis, Turtles, Hope, Roots of Lacrosse, Snow Day, Yarn, The Writers Room, Phantom Power, Black Owned, OK/LA, You’re Not Safe in Your Own Bed, and Stick Up.


Oklahoma musicians will be showcased as part of the Music Video short film program, with singles from Greyson Chance, Samantha Crain, Jabee, The Imaginaries, Mothica, Onyx Lane, Jessica Ray, Roberto, and Salem Blue. 


“We couldn’t be more thrilled about this year’s slate! While submissions were understandably down, the overall quality of storytelling was truly awe-inspiring, making the selection process very difficult. This is reflected in the record-breaking amount of films selected this year,” said Sara Thompson, Director of Programming for deadCenter Film. “I’m incredibly proud of our programming team and feel we were able to program a slate reflective of the team’s talent and thoughtfulness, and one that will be thoroughly enjoyed by our amazing audiences.”


This year also marks the first year for the Best Indigenous Short Film Award, complete with a cash prize of $1000 sponsored by the Cherokee Nation Film Office. Films in competition for the inaugural award are: Blackwater, San Diego, The Writers Room, Roots of Lacrosse, Totsu (Redbird), Sardis, and Inage’i (In the Woods). The winner of the Best Indigenous Short Film Award, along with all of the 2021 Festival winners, will be announced live from Social Capital and via Festival live stream on Sunday, June 13, at 1 p.m.


For the full list of films and information on passes and event sponsorships, please visit