Music festival stages have been dark for over a year, but the 21st annual deadCenter Film Festival is pleased to bring director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s music documentary Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) to Booker T. Washington Park in Northeast Oklahoma City for a free outdoor screening Saturday evening, June 12. Opening for Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), which brings to light never-before-seen footage of the 1969 festival presented at what is now Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park, is the documentary short Pause the Game, marking the fourth OKC Thunder Film to premiere at deadCenter. On Friday night, June 11, deadCenter will rock Wheeler District with an outdoor screening of We Are The Thousand, a one-of-kind music doc about the global formation of a 1000+ member band who all happen to love the Foo Fighters.
Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary—part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten–until now. SUMMER OF SOUL shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, The 5th Dimension and more.
SUMMER OF SOUL premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. It will stream on Hulu in conjunction with the Onyx Collective; Searchlight Pictures will release it theatrically.
“deadCenter is where creativity, community, and celebration intersect to create one of the most anticipated events of the year and we are so excited to curate unique experiences that celebrate the magic of independent film,” said Alyx Picard Davis, executive director of deadCenter Film. “Both Summer of Soul and We Are The Thousand tap into that creative energy and drive. Showing them outdoors is the perfect way to experience not only phenomenal filmmaking but also enjoy a sample of the outstanding outdoor venues Oklahoma City has to offer.”
We Are The Thousand
We Are The Thousand, directed by Anita Rivaroli, follows Fabio, a huge fan of the Foo Fighters, as he sets out to convince Dave Grohl and the band to come to Italy and perform in his small village. To do that, he gathers 1,000 musicians together to play “Learn to Fly” and ultimately creates the biggest rock band on Earth. Spoiler alert for the parents out there: Dave Grohl has a potty mouth.
“I have never been more excited for our outdoor screenings than I am this year,” said Sara Thompson, director of programming for deadCenter Film. “We have three highly inspirational films that champion the human spirit, unite us all through common themes of music, art, and community, and promise to be two memorable nights celebrating the power of storytelling through film - all free and open to the public.”
Pause The Game
March 11, 2020 has been called the day that changed everything. COVID-19 was officially declared a global pandemic, the world was in the early stages of trying to understand what was upon us, and in Oklahoma City, the Thunder was about to play a basketball game. This short documentary revisits the historic moments prior to tipoff against the Utah Jazz, complete with interviews from key players that night, including up to the moment when Oklahoma City and the United States were told to “Pause the Game.”
The newest documentary from OKCThunder Films includes interviews with Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett, Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti and members of his staff, Thunder players Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort, and Tony Bradley, Thunder broadcasters, fans and others who were engulfed in this night of tension, emotion and quick-thinking. The film includes the first interview about the night from Thunder Vice President of Human and Player Performance, Dr. Donnie Strack, the “guy in the suit” who sprinted to the floor minutes before tipoff to inform the referees that the game had to be paused due to the positive test.
“We are thrilled to partner with deadCenter for a fourth straight year to premiere the latest of our OKCThunder Films projects,” said Dan Mahoney, OKC Thunder VP of Broadcasting and Co-Executive producer of OKCThunder Films. “Pause the Game chronicles the unforgettable night of March 11, 2020 when Oklahoma City set the stage for a global shutdown of sports and entertainment due to the pandemic. It’s a story told through the eyes of those who were there watching, learning, worrying, planning and making the decisions. We are honored that the deadCenter audience will be the first to see it.”
Following its world premiere, Pause the Game will be available for free to stream online as part of dCFF’s Community Showcase through June 20.
Outdoor films will begin after dark and are free and open to the public. Food trucks will be available.
deadCenter Film Festival begins Thursday, June 10, and runs through Sunday, June 20. For its 21st outing, deadCenter boasts a record-number 175+ films, screening primarily online with several opportunities to catch unique and Oklahoma-made films in person at venues throughout Oklahoma City. Like last year, dCFF’s filmmaker Q&As, interviews, and panels will be available online at www.deadcenterfilm.org.