Oklahoma’s burgeoning film and television industry continues to be recognized among the nation’s top destinations for production in North America with MovieMaker Magazine ranking both Oklahoma City and Tulsa among its Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2021.
Dedicated to the art and craft of making movies, MovieMaker determined the winners using surveys, research on tax incentives and recent productions, and personal visits to most of the locations on the list, as well as the best available information on how the cities are coping with the pandemic. The annual list, which considers markets in both the United States and Canada, is divided into two categories, big cities and small cities/towns, with Oklahoma City ranking #15 out of 25 big cities, and Tulsa ranking #7 out of 10 small cities/towns.
“Oklahoma is known for its legendary heartland hospitality, and we’re incredibly honored that MovieMaker Magazine and filmmakers alike have chosen Oklahoma City and Tulsa as top places to live and work,” said Oklahoma Film + Music Office (OF+MO) Director Tava Maloy Sofsky. “Our local crews exude a work ethic that is bar none and truly elevate our city’s standards, and we couldn’t be prouder of their dedication as our state grows.”
Oklahoma’s film and television industry has annually made strides facilitating hundreds of productions of all sizes and connecting filmmakers to our film-friendly community liaisons around the state. In the past five years,140 productions utilized the film rebate program, 39 of which filmed during our record-high year in 2019. Last year, despite the pandemic, 33 film and television projects were made in Oklahoma utilizing the program employing 4,700 Oklahomans and contributing a direct fiscal impact of more than $45 million to the state’s economy. In 2021, Oklahoma’s borders and businesses remain open with over a dozen productions slated to film and two new sound stages opening among many camera-ready training academies and educational institutions, which are working hard to train more crew in the development skilled workforce.
Recent production highlights include the City of Tulsa serving as the production hub for the FX television pilot “Reservation Dogs” as well as the forthcoming theatrical film “Minari”, which recently received six Film Independent Spirit Award nominations and was named one of the top ten movies in 2020 by the American Film Institute; while Oklahoma City supported among others the biopic “Reagan” and “Wild Indian”, which will premiere this week at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.
“We are ecstatic about this news!” said Abby Kurin, Executive Director of the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts and Culture (Tulsa FMAC). “Tulsa FMAC is dedicated to making Tulsa known as a film destination, so being included on this MovieMaker list broadly cements that status. We are grateful to all the talented filmmakers and film crew that call Tulsa home, and we look forward to continuing to assist all the producers that choose Tulsa for their next project.”
“Oklahoma City’s film industry has been growing so rapidly the last few years we can hardly keep track of all the productions in town at any given time,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt. “This recognition as a top U.S. city for filmmakers reflects that. None of this success would be possible without the hard work of our talented local crews, as well as visionary investments that local entrepreneurs are making in production facilities. Our community is innovative and welcoming to the film industry, and I think that word is getting out.”
The 2021 list of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker appears in the Winter 2020 issue, with a cover story on Regina King and her feature directorial debut, One Night in Miami. The issue is available on newsstands on February 2, and the complete 2021 list of Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker is available at MovieMaker.com.
For more information on Oklahoma’s film and television industry, please visit okfilmmusic.org.
About Oklahoma Film + Music Office
Created in 1979, the Oklahoma Film + Music Office (OF+MO) strives to share all that Oklahoma has to offer by welcoming filmmakers and music professionals to the state and by creating a network of support to develop Oklahoma’s film and music industries. For more information about the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program or the Oklahoma Film + Music Office, visit okfilmmusic.org.