A recent partnership among several Oklahoma film offices aimed to promote the state as a filmmaking destination among scores of industry professionals gathered in Southern California has gotten rave reviews. State film officials say this collaborative effort could lead to even more films and TV series being shot in Oklahoma City and other locales across the state.
Representatives from the Oklahoma City Film and Creative Industries Office (operated by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber), the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, and Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts and Culture, as well as the Cherokee Film Commission, traveled to Los Angeles for the 2023 American Film Market (AFM). Upwards of 7,000 industry professionals, including film producers and distributors, attend AFM annually.
Jill Simpson, executive director for the OKC Film Office, said the partnership made Oklahoma unique.
“I think it struck people that [the four Oklahoma film offices] were in the same space even though three of us have separate incentives,” Simpson said. “It was nice to see people recognize that spirit of collaboration andteamwork that, okay, we want to get you to Oklahoma and then we'll figure out the best spot for your project based on the locations you need. That’s unique.”
Simpson reeled off some of the top-notch facilities and equipment filmmakers have access to in Oklahoma City that resonated with many of the industry officials. For example, OKC currently has multiple soundstages,including five stages that cover 1.3 million square feet of space at Prairie Surf Studio. Filmmakers Ranch (formerly Green Pastures) sports what its website refers to as a “treasure trove” of support spaces, including its soon-to-open Apex Post OKC, a full Dolby Atmos mixing room which will be the first of its kind in the region, Simpson said.
Since AFM concluded, Simpson has spoken with Jon Vogl, owner, sound supervisor and re-recording mixer at Apex Post, who told her he had a great meeting with an LA studio interested in utilizing Apex’s services and was able to connect that studio with Boiling Point, another local company that offers high-quality postproduction, VFX (visual effects) and animation services for films here and abroad.
“The LA studio in question has now reached out to both entities to ask for complementary bids, one for Boiling Point’s visual effects services, and the other for Apex Post’s Dolby mixing stage for sound re-recording and mixing,” Simpson said. “If we can grow and layer these capacities of local companies in the postproduction and tech arenas, it will really help us round out the industry here.”
Oklahoma hosted a Hollywood reception for approximately 150 producers, directors and industry executives, which Simpson described as an “incredibly good turnout.” Guests included executives from NBC/ Universal, Disney, Netflix, Paramount and more. Afterwards, Oklahoma hosted a VIP dinner for about 15 people, including studio executives from Amazon, NBC/Universal and Paramount.
“The VIP dinner was an intimate setting where we were able to have some not only great social interactions but talk a little business, too,” Simpson said. “The dinners are a good way to get to know people, and in our industry, that’s important. They’re spending a lot of money, so establishing personal connections makes a difference in building relationships and trust.”