Next week, thousands of people will head downtown to participate in the deadCenter Film Festival. The event is Oklahoma’s largest film festival and listed as one of the 20 Coolest Film Festivals in the World, according to MovieMaker magazine.
During the three-day event, more than 30,000 people will attend film screenings at different venues in and surrounding the Film Exchange District, also known as Film Row. Many of those will spend their dollars eating at nearby restaurants, staying overnight in hotels and enjoying other activities on Film Row, generating more than $4 million for our city.
This is quite a transformation from the area 30 years ago. After Film Row’s star role as a film distribution office for Hollywood’s major studios, such as Paramount Pictures and MGM, it was abandoned for new distribution technologies and changes in the economy. By the 1980s, the area was devoid of economic activity and buildings were boarded up. It wasn’t until 20 years later, when developer Chip Fudge, designer David Wanzer and city leaders began to reinvest in the area that Film Row began its second act.
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