After successfully completing principal photography on the pilot episode in Oklahoma earlier this year, FX has announced a full series order of the half-hour comedy “Reservation Dogs”. The Oklahoma Film + Music Office (OF+MO), alongside our state and city leadership, was incredibly proud to welcome the on-location filming of “Reservation Dogs” earlier last year with the production marking the first foray into scripted television from renowned filmmaker Oklahoma Native Sterlin Harjo (“Barking Water”).
OF+MO estimates that the filming of pilot episode for “Reservation Dogs” generated $3.2 million in direct in-state spending on crew, lodging, supplies, rentals and more throughout the production’s primary hubs in Okmulgee and Tulsa County. The production is estimated to have hired over 100 local crew members for the six-day shoot which ran from September 6-11, 2020, with key filming sites including the picturesque town of Okmulgee, which provided authentic historical buildings that would have been impossible to recreate anywhere else, and locations in Tulsa and Beggs.
“We are thrilled to have been a part of this pilot alongside like-minded community partners, such as the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture, Tulsa-based MCI Labs and leadership in Okmulgee and Beggs, to effectively support this high-caliber production,” said OF+MO Director Tava Maloy Sofsky. “It has always been a goal of our office to attract a multi-season television series to our state because of the longevity of the economic benefits. We hope Oklahoma will continue to play a part in the series as it moves forward into production after the pilot episode’s filming in our state.”
Oklahoma was one of the first states to reopen its economy in May 2020 amid the current COVID-19 climate with Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt deeming the motion picture and recording industry an essential business, helping avert potential shutdowns in this sector. The pilot for “Reservation Dogs” was one of 30 film and television productions to be made in Oklahoma since that time, creating over 900 local jobs during a critical time for many whose jobs were impacted by COVID-19. To keep safe during the pandemic, the pilot production instilled a variety of studio-approved protocols to ensure all cast and crew members remained healthy. The production upheld a strict testing regiment, mandatory PPE usage and social distancing policies for cast and crew, which were enforced at all times.
“Oklahoma crews are the most sincere and hard-working people I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a set with,” said Line Producer Kate Dean. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time in both Tulsa and Okmulgee, and am looking forward to the next project in Oklahoma.”
Directed by Harjo and written by Harjo and Taika Waititi (“What We Do in the Shadows”, “Thor: Ragnarok”), “Reservation Dogs” follows four Native teenagers in rural Oklahoma who spend their days committing crime… and fighting it. Harjo and Waititi will serve as executive producers of the FX Productions series alongside Garrett Basch (“What We Do in the Shadows”, “The Night Of”).
“I’ve shot most of my projects in Oklahoma,” said Harjo. “I believe that stories are baked into the red dirt here. Magic, darkness and light. I just want to be an extension of storytellers from this place. Like Joy Harjo, Will Sampson, Woody Guthrie, Wanda Jackson and all the other great storytellers that lived, bled and danced on this land.”
For more information on Oklahoma’s film infrastructure, workforce and other resources, visit okfilmmusic.org.