Made In Oklahoma
Edmond graduates, Richard Ford and Scott Bridges, have come full circle since performing in the Edmond Community Theatre in 1987. Although rooted deep in the red dirt of Oklahoma, the two have branched out to places such as New York City, Los Angeles and Austin and have learned that all roads lead back to Edmond.
Ford and Bridges recently embarked on the journey of beginning Sure Crossing Films (SCF), an Oklahoma based film-production company, which produces films shot substantially in Oklahoma while providing opportunities for Oklahoma investors, businesses, and artists.
"The very idea of coming back to Oklahoma to begin such a project was something that we didn't have to think much about. We bolted to the idea," said Ford, SCF managing partner. "The things we gained here in Edmond, whether it be friends or family, have always remained very important to us."
Both Ford and Bridges agreed that having ties to Edmond and the idea of a film company in Oklahoma played a vital role in believing that SCF could be a realistic project. Also, about three years ago, major film producers began coming to Oklahoma for a variety of film sequences.
"We thought, ‘Wait a minute. We're Oklahoma. We need to find out what's going on here,'" said Bridges, also a SCF managing partner. "But really, one of the great things about Oklahomans is that they tend to really like other Oklahomans and that is special."
In the short term, SCF plans feature films primarily shot in Oklahoma, and in the long term plans for a full studio, complete with offices, interior studios and a full-time staff. A short time ago, SCF finished work on the film titled, "Over The Wall," a comedic short film based on the old adage, "the grass is always greener." The film was written and produced by Bridges and premiers at the Dead Center Film Festival in downtown Oklahoma City, June 8 at the Skirvin.
And what about the portrayed image that comes with mentioning Oklahoma on a national spectrum?
"It's changing. The idea that we still get our mail by Pony Express or that OU football and tornados are our only forms of entertainment is really beginning to change," said Bridges. "However, there is an identity there that we don't want to run from. We would like to embrace it. There is a real romance here, the idea of vistas and wide open spaces is very much alive."
In addition, the two agreed that there is a difference in personalities and lifestyles in New York and Los Angeles that doesn't exist here.
"The difference is [in New York or L.A], people tend to live to work. If you go to a party, it's for work. If you go to a dinner, it's for work. Here, people tend to go to work to live. Oklahomans will…come home and spend time with families. To me, that is unique and special," Bridges said.
Sure Crossing Films is projecting late fall or early 2008 for shooting its first film in Oklahoma. This is directly related to the comfort level of the projects and the ability to have local funding. Oklahoma legislation has been doing its part to help ensure the future of SCF as well as keeping similar companies here long term.
"One of the nice things about how the direction of legislation is going is that companies like ours will get benefits for hiring Oklahomans," Ford said. "We will have people who live and work here as the core of our business."
While Oklahoma may never get confused with Hollywood or Broadway, the idea that a viable film production company exists here is not just a vision, it is a reality.
"It is very real to think of Oklahoma as a regional film hub, just as the ones in North Carolina and in Texas," Ford said.
For more information about Sure Film Crossing, visit the website at www.surefilmcrossing.com. For a complete listing of times and locations to the Dead Center Film Festival in Oklahoma City, please go to www.deadcenterfilm.org.