On any day or night at 21c Museum Hotel, impactful and thought-provoking modern art festoons the hotel’s gallery space, but with Filmography, a partnership between the hotel, OKC Film Society and deadCenter Film Festival, the images are truly moving.
The free monthly film series was initiated by 21c Museum manager Michaela Slavid, deadCenter director of programming and education Kim Haywood and OKC Film Society executive director Alex Palmer as a way to provide a film component to 21c’s modern art.
“We said, ‘We’ve got all these amazing art films — documentaries about artists and also films that really fall into the category of art films. What would you think about partnering to do a series?’” said deadCenter executive director Lance McDaniel. “So, we picked half the movies from films that had played at deadCenter, so there was a strong deadCenter tie, and half that had not played at deadCenter but that we felt were some of the strongest artistic movies we’d seen.”
Filmography launched in February with a screening of Beauty Is Embarrassing, the acclaimed 2012 documentary on Wayne White, whose innovative kinetic work was displayed at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA) in 2013.
Subsequent films included the 2013 documentary Trash Dance, Benh Zeitlin’s Oscar-nominated drama Beasts of the Southern Wild and Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace, the screening of which coincided with the opening of the retrospective Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic at OKCMOA.
McDaniel said a key component of Filmography is local content. At 8 p.m. Aug. 18, the series will screen Four Sheets to the Wind, Oklahoma director Sterlin Harjo’s breakthrough film, and concludes 8 p.m. Dec. 15 with Worm, a crime drama directed by Andrew Bowser and filmed in Guthrie utilizing two continuous shots.
“It is absolutely, to me, the most impressive movie we’ve ever played at deadCenter,” McDaniel said.
This month’s entry, The Queen of Versailles, screens 8 p.m. Friday. The 2012 documentary follows resort kingpins Jackie and David Siegel, whose plans to build an ostentatious 90,000 square-foot Florida home were threatened by the 2009 recession.
The film, which began as an exploration of extravagant living, shifted gears as director Lauren Greenfield captured the Siegels’ diminishing fortunes.
“That one did deadCenter, as well,” McDaniel said. “And then I met her — she was at [The Skirvin Hilton Oklahoma City] filming that Wife Swap TV show. I walked up to her and said, ‘Are you the Queen of Versailles?’ She said, ‘How did you know?’ and I said, ‘You won our festival.’”
But in addition to the art documentaries and revolutionary indie films, Filmography also provides historical context for viewers who want to understand where independent cinema began. Just in time for Halloween, the series will feature Eraserhead, David Lynch’s surreal 1977 feature-length debut 8 p.m. Oct. 20.
“That choice right there, well, the OKC Film Society had a really fun idea,” McDaniel said. “Let’s look at these things that, if you didn’t go to film school, you may not know about (Sergei) Eisenstein or Eraserhead and all these amazing things that, as a filmmaker, you might take for granted because you had exposure to them. But for the general audience, I mean, there’s 20-year-olds who weren’t alive when some of these films were made. So Eraserhead was perfect for that part of the mission and is just a great art film in and of itself.”
21c Museum Hotel
900 W. Main St.
The Queen of Versailles
8 p.m. Friday
Four Sheets to the Wind
8 p.m. Aug. 18
Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters
8 p.m. Sept. 15
8 p.m. Oct. 20
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
8 p.m. Nov. 17
8 p.m. Dec. 15
Print headline: Moving cinema, deadCENTER, OKC Film Society and 21c Museum Hotel present a monthly series showcasing local, independent, documentary and art films.