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deadCenter Film Festival returns to in-person events this year.

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deadCenter Film Festival!

With a familiar face at the helm, deadCenter Film Festival makes a splash in Oklahoma City

Article by Krystal Yosef

Photography by Provided

Originally published in OKC City Lifestyle

deadCenter Film, organizer of Oklahoma’s largest film festival, announced the annual deadCenter Film Festival has received designation by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualifying festival in the categories of Animated Short Film/Live Action Short Film for the concurrent season.

Beginning with the 2022 deadCenter Film Festival, award winners in these two categories will now be eligible to enter the Short Films competition. Which means this year is not the year to miss!

But that's not the only big news this year. A familiar face has returned to head up Oklahoma City's popular film festival. Cacky Poarch returns as the interim executive director as the festival and staff prepares for a return to in-person festival events.

Poarch was among the original organizers who developed the festival into what it is today during its early years. Under her leadership, the festival was named “Top 20 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine.

deadCenter 2022

The 22nd annual deadCenter Film Festival on June 9-12 kicks off with Opening Night and headlining films, as well as public outdoor screenings, Oklahoma features, special partnerships - featuring the fifth production by OKC Thunder Films - and the inaugural presentation of undeadCenter.

The event returns entirely in-person, offering the usual festival-happenings, such as feature panel discussions, film industry networking events, expansion to new venues… and parties!

deadCenter Film programmers watched nearly 2,000 films during the first open call for programming since the pandemic. In addition, more than 1,000 films entered the Short film category in the first year after the festival was named an OSCAR ® qualifying film festival for live action and animated shorts. 

“Working to bring independent film back to the big screen in Oklahoma City has been a dream come true," said Sara Thompson, director of programming. “I’m so proud of the lineup we have put together and can’t wait to share it with our audiences.” 

The Opening Night Film on Thursday, June 9, is the documentary MAMA BEARS, an exploration of the journeys taken by Sara Cunningham and Kimberly Shappley, and their journeys as conservative, Christian mothers whose profound love for their children has turned them into fierce advocates for an entire community.

The Closing Night Film on Sunday, June 12, is Butterfly in the Sky, a documentary on Reading Rainbow, the beloved classic children’s literary television show that introduced kids of the 1980s and 90s to the wonder and importance of books, thanks in large part to one of the most adored television hosts of all time, LeVar Burton.

Friday night, at the family-friendly Friday Night Frolic during Scissortail Park’s Night Market, OKC Thunder Films will debut their latest storytelling short film yet again at deadCenter, Seeds of Greenwood: A century after the Tulsa Race Massacre, the fertile soil of the historic Greenwood District is being nurtured. 

Presenting the inaugural undeadCenter slate, Oklahoma filmmaker and festival alum Mickey Reece will curate a “Midnight Movie” genre of selections for the first time.

For tickets or information, visit

  • deadCenter Film Festival returns to in-person events this year.

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