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By Pete Vonder Haar | June 15, 2007

Sunday – A Fond Farewell
The Sunday brunch was supposed to take place at the Museum, but that fell through and everyone came over to the Colcord Hotel’s Soleil restaurant. I was glad to be going home, but bummed that everything was over. My sentiments were shared by the organizers (some of whom even shed tears, not that I’m naming names), who – while looking forward to resuming their normal lives – understand that they’ve got something special going here.

deadCENTER 2007 was, hands-down, the most fun I’ve had a film festival. There have been great (well, good) Sundances, and some truly memorable SXSW experiences, but deadCENTER is the whole package: it’s well-organized, features a diverse and interesting array of films, easy access to everything, and everyone involved that I met was helpful and passionate about what they were doing. Further, they were all a hell of a lot of fun.

Were there glitches? Of course. For starters, I think they may have underestimated how hungry people get at these parties, and screenings at the Harkins Cinema in Bricktown always seemed to suffer some kind of technical glitch, but overall Cacky, Melissa, and Kim et. al. have put together something special, and deadCENTER is a festival that deserves much more attention and much bigger audience.

At the same time, I almost dread that happening. deadCENTER right now feels like a wonderful secret, like a favorite band nobody else knows about; I want it to succeed, because that means success for the people behind it, but I don’t want it to lose the unique atmosphere that comes from things like being able to drink in a parking lot in the middle of downtown until you do ill-advised things like accept rides home from strange directors.

I guess what I’m saying is…tell your friends about deadCENTER…just don’t tell all of them.

2007 deadCENTER Film Festival Award Winners
Best Animation: “Everything Will Be OK” (California)
Best Narrative Short: “Outside” (France)
Best Documentary Short: “Gimme Green” (Florida)
Best Student Film: “Bitch” (New York)
Best Oklahoma Film: “Widowbago” (Oklahoma)
Best Documentary Feature: “Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legend” (Texas)
Best Narrative Feature: “Big Story in a Small City” (Armenia/Los Angeles)
Founders Award: “The Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice” (New York/Los Angeles)
Grand Jury Award-Documentary: “Shut Up and Ride” (Arkansas/Oregon)
Grand Jury Award-Narrative: “5 Up 2 Down” (New York)

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