• Tue. Jan 31st, 2023

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Oklahoma becomes prime destination for TV and movie productions:

Oklahoma becomes prime destination for TV and movie productions:
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Oklahoma — 1,300 miles from Hollywood — is becoming a go-to destination for movie and television productions. It is one of the fastest-growing places to shoot a movie, and is being called “Hollywood on the prairie.”

Multiple productions have been filmed there, including Sylvester Stallone’s “Tulsa King,” Matt Damon’s “Stillwater” and Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Cinelease, one of the largest equipment rental companies in Hollywood, recently set up shop in Oklahoma City.

One reason Tinseltown is drawn to the middle of the country is money. Oklahoma lawmakers are luring production studios and creating local jobs with a $30 million rebate program to shoot in the state. $240 million has been pumped into the state’s economy in the last year and a half.

Municipalities are also dangling dollars, with places like Oklahoma City starting to offer rebates to film in town.

Oklahoma City Community College’s film school is working to not send graduates to Hollywood and instead get them ready for when Hollywood comes to shoot movies and TV shows in their state.

“I want to be near my family, I want to … make movies with people that I enjoy, and if I left the state, I wouldn’t be able to do that as much,” said D.J. Zachary, a camera operator who recently graduated from film school at Oklahoma City Community College.

But to get ready for when Hollywood comes to shoot movies and TV shows, it takes a cast of film veterans training a small army of crew members, so Hollywood can hire locally — and at an advantage.

In the last year and a half, Oklahoma’s film industry created 10,000 jobs.

Costume designer Valerie Parker went from working on prom dresses and theater outfits to creating wardrobes for more than 20 movie productions shot in the state.

“I just started getting more and more recommendations,” she said. “So, one led to another to another to another, where I was on a production nearly every month.”

New businesses are also taking center-stage, like the tenants at what used to be Oklahoma City’s convention center. The arena hosted big names like Elvis Presley, Tina Turner and Garth Brooks, but is now part of a 1.3 million-square-foot-studio hosting big Hollywood productions.

Rachel Cannon paired up with filmmaker and writer Matt Payne to open Prairie Surf Studios, which is one-stop shop for the motion picture industry, with five soundstages, electrical grids and on-site audio recording.

“I think that we are growing our crew base rapidly and I think we are growing it in a way that we’re really putting qualified people to work,” said Cannon, co-founder of Prairie Surf Studios. 



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