The fifth annual Tulsa American Film Festival returns to Circle Cinema, showing more than 50 films over five days this week with a focus on Oklahoma filmmaking, free events and fun get-togethers.
Running Wednesday through Sunday, this event showcases new independent feature films and shorts with a nod toward Native American, Latino, Oklahoma-based and student filmmakers.
That’s in addition to panel discussions that feature industry veterans as well as after-parties each night when the screens fade to black.
Most of the events are at Circle Cinema unless noted, and nearly everything takes place in the Kendall Whittier District, which has embraced the festival since its 2015 debut.
Tickets are $10 for individual film programs, $50 for an all-access pass and $75 for a VIP pass. Some events are free. For more information, go to tulsaamericanfilmfest.com and the Tulsa American Film Festival’s Facebook page.
A note to students: Those in high school and college may attend festival screenings for free if they show their school ID at the door.
Festival sponsors include the Oklahoma Film + Music Office, Mazzio’s, Acrobat Ant, Hardesty Family Foundation and FireThief Productions; festival partners are Circle Cinema, Woody Guthrie Center, and Kendall Whittier Main Street.
Here’s what guests can expect to find Wednesday, Oct. 9, through Sunday, Oct. 13:
The festival’s lightest schedule day is still a lot of fun: There’s a free outdoor screening of the comedy classic “Victor/Victoria” (directed by Tulsa native Blake Edwards, starring Norman native James Garner) at 7:30 p.m. at 473 Bar just west of Circle Cinema, and that’s also the site of the night’s after-party following the movie, with the Golden Ones performing live music beginning at 10 p.m.
Shorts, feature-length films and documentaries fill the first full day’s schedule, which begins and ends with free events: a pair of screenplay readings, one at Whitty Books and one at Circle Cinema, as well as that night’s after-party: “The Ultimate Movie Trivia Game” event at Heirloom Rustic Ales, set for 9 p.m. to midnight.
Okie Short Films at 7:30 p.m. at Circle Cinema, showcasing the works of some of the state’s most inventive indie filmmakers, is one of the festival’s most popular events. The day features multiple movies, a Whittier Bar late-night meet-up, and free events including “Scoring Panel — Unveiling The Mystique Of A Film Score,” which is a discussion of music in film featuring University of Tulsa professor Joseph Rivers and Tulsa-born composer Paul Cristo.
A collection of narrative and documentary films, an “Okie Student Shorts” session that’s an every-year favorite and a showing of the 2003 version of “Where the Red Fern Grows” lead up to the annual awards ceremony and after-party with live music, taking place that night at Studio 75.
The festival concludes with a single event, at 2 p.m. at the Woody Guthrie Center: “TAFF Music Short Films,” of which there are four, ranging from videos with Oklahoma ties (like the “Outsiders”-inspired one from Broncho) to the 70-minute “Alice Cooper: Live from the Astroturf.”