Oklahoma Film + Music Office to Sponsor 2021 Sundance Film Festival at Tulsa’s Circle Cinema


The Oklahoma Film and Music Office (OF+MO) is proud to sponsor the 2021 Sundance Film Festival at Tulsa’s Circle Cinema to be held Thursday, January 28 – February 2, 2021. In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and for the first time ever, the Sundance Film Festival is offering both an online platform featuring premieres, events, artist talks and cutting-edge XR exhibitions, along with socially distanced physical screenings at official satellite venues. Tulsa’s Circle Cinema was chosen as one of 20 cinemas selected for the prestigious honor and the only official satellite venue in Oklahoma and many surrounding states.

In addition to hosting physical screenings at both its location in the Kendall-Whittier District and the Admiral-Twin Drive-In, Circle Cinema will also supplement festival programming with its “Beyond Film” offerings, which will be uniquely Oklahoma and feature local filmmakers, artists and musicians participating in short film screenings, music performances and panel discussions. These events will showcase incredible works with a focus on providing a platform for black, indigenous, people of color and LGBTQ+ creatives.

“It is exciting for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival to come to Tulsa,” said Circle Cinema Programmer Chuck Foxen. “This is America’s largest independent film festival. It’s a big deal for Circle Cinema and for Oklahoma. I have attended the festival in Utah for the last ten years, and most of the major films that play at Circle Cinema are first seen at the festival. This will be an opportunity for Oklahoma to see award-winning movies before anyone else, with added enrichment of filmmaker Q&As, panel discussions and more.” He continues, “We are grateful for the support from the Oklahoma Film + Music Office. The community support has been overwhelming, and we are excited to showcase the diversity of Oklahoma’s storytellers.”

As part of its festival sponsorship at Circle Cinema, OF+MO will host a panel “The Making of ‘Wild Indian’ in Oklahoma”, which will stream on Saturday, January 30, at 5:30 p.m. CST as part of the Beyond Film series. This free presentation will invite audiences to take a deeper dive into the production of “Wild Indian” in Oklahoma with the film’s producer Thomas Mahoney and local unit production manager Randy Wayne of Thunderbird Films, moderated by Yousef Kazemi, Outreach and Production Manager at OF+MO. Celebrating its world premiere at Sundance Film Festival where it will screen in the U.S. Dramatic Category, “Wild Indian” marks the fourth consecutive year for an Oklahoma-produced movie to be featured at Sundance, following last year’s acclaimed debut for “Minari”, which took home two of the festival’s top honors.

Oklahoma’s burgeoning film and television industry will further be highlighted through Circle Cinema’s “Beyond Film” programming as OF+MO Director Tava Maloy Sofsky will be a featured guest on the panel “Oklahoma: The Film Industry’s New ‘It’ State”. This presentation will be hosted by the Cherokee Nation Film Office (CNFO) on Tuesday, February 2, at 4:00 p.m. CST, and feature additional guests, including Bryan Warner, Deputy Chief of the Cherokee Nation; Abby Kurin, Executive Director of the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts and Culture; Richard Janes, Partner and Co-Founder of the Oklahoma Film & Television Academy; Cassidy Lunnen, Producer; Blake Pickens, comedian, filmmaker and co-producer of “Wild Indian”; and Dylan Brodie, Producer/Production Manager; moderated by Jennifer Loren, Director of CNFO & Original Content.

“Oklahoma’s impact at the Sundance Film Festival continues to grow each year, and Circle Cinema’s designation as an official satellite venue is an amazing honor and a testament to the state’s innovation and commitment to the film industry,” said Sofsky. “We’re incredibly grateful to Circle Cinema and their partners for their dedication in bringing these events to audiences like never before with this unique platform, which further showcases Oklahoma’s film, television, music and creative sectors as well as our local workforce and talent.”

All “Beyond Film” events will be free to watch or attend at the designated showtime either on Circle Cinema’s YouTube or Facebook pages, as well as showing physically at Circle Cinema. Following the premieres, each event will remain free to watch on-demand for the duration of the Festival.

In addition to the “Beyond Film” programming at Circle Cinema, Sofsky will also participate on the panel “Innovative Film Production Incentives”, hosted by official Sundance partner FilmNorth on Friday, January 29, at 3:00 p.m. CST. This free event will be broadcast on the Sundance live platform website as part of FilmNorth’s “Beyond Film” offerings, and feature Sofsky touting Oklahoma’s film incentive program and camera-ready workforce alongside many special guests, including moderator Joe Chianese, Senior VP & Practice Leader of Production Incentives for Entertainment Partners, and representatives from film commissions around the country.

For more information on local programming for the Sundance Film Festival, visit circlecinema.com.

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