POSTED ON JULY 28, 2010:
Annual film festival shows Oklahomans on the big screen
Seven years ago, after his second short film was passed over for exhibition at the Tulsa Overground Film Festival, Jason Connell, under the banner of his production company Connell Creations, founded the Tulsa United Film Festival.
Connell has since relocated to Hollywood and has expanded the United Film Festival brand to major markets from San Francisco to London. But this weekend, the festival returns home for its eighth year, along with its creator, to showcase a slew of eclectic films.
It kicks off Thursday, July 29 with a pre-festival, free screening of the Connell-produced documentary The Rock-Afire-Explosion at Joe Momma's Pizza. For hungry film-goers, there will be a pizza party to accompany the event.
The festival proper begins Friday, July 30, 7pm at the Circle Cinema with the comedy Jeffie Was Here, starring Tulsa native Peter Bedgood, who wrote the script with director Todd Edwards, co-director of the animated hit Hoodwinked!
Jeffie tells the story of a couple who finance an emergency road trip by putting out an Internet ad to find someone to carpool with and cut the cost of the journey. Presumably, they get more than they bargained for.
That will be followed up by Biker Fox, the documentary of the enigma that is Frank DeLazarele, the eccentric Tulsa fitness/muscle car/spandex guru. If you know even a little bit about Biker Fox than the film likely needs no explanation (and might defy it, anyway).
The night wraps up with a midnight screening of the Tulsa-shot, "Weird Al" Yankovic-starring, cult classic comedy, UHF.
The Saturday lineup -- dubbed "Environmental Day" -- begins at 2pm with the documentary Tapped, which examines the bottled water industry and the toll it takes on the environment and human health.
That is followed by Dive!, a look at dumpster diving and what it reveals about America's culture of waste.
Next, the Tulsa premiere of The Rock and Roll Dreams of Duncan Christopher, the locally shot and produced odd-ball comedy starring and written by Okie native Jack Roberts and directed by the equally local Justin Monroe (the film also features Jeffie's Peter Bedgood and Tulsa native Marshall Bell, known from such films as Total Recall and Capote).
The movie follows the son of a rock star dealing with the shock of his father's sudden demise by plunging headlong into the surprisingly cutthroat underground karaoke scene -- and if you are wondering how the film fits into the environmental theme, Duncan Christopher was produced using carbon neutral methods.
The film will receive two screenings to be followed by a midnight showing of John Carpenter's horror classic, The Thing.
On Sunday, the festival closes out beginning at noon with Race Team, a look at a cash-strapped car racing team looking to break into the big leagues; The Wayman Tisdale Story, which chronicles the life of the late Tulsa basketball and bass playing legend; Divorcing God, the story of a couple whose faith is tested against the realities of modern life; and Beyond the Pole, a comedy which tells the tale of "the first carbon neutral, organic, vegetarian expedition ever to attempt the North Pole."
The festivities close with Special When Lit, a documentary exploring pinball enthusiasts. The theme for the final night is "The Quest," and it's easy to see how these selections fit in.
Award-winning short films will precede the main features along with Q&A sessions with the filmmakers.
All the films mentioned -- sans the free show at Joe Momma's -- are $10. All access passes can be had for $75, while mini-passes go for $35.
For a list of all the films and show times visit the festival's website: theunitedfest.com/tulsa.
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