Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has signed House Bill No. 3473 into law, declaring MercyMe’s multi-platinum hit “I Can Only Imagine” the official state inspirational song of Oklahoma. The declaration comes during the theatrical release of the locally-filmed blockbuster of the same title in recognition and support of the film’s continued success.
After sowing roots in Oklahoma in the 1990’s, MercyMe frontman Bart Millard wrote the hit single “I Can Only Imagine”, drawing inspiration from his own life and relationships. The song gained mainstream recognition in 2003 and has since remained the best-selling Christian song of all time. The inspiring true story behind the crossover hit later became the concept for the film, allowing Oklahoma to serve as the primary location for the production.
Directed by Jon and Andrew Erwin, the film boasts an all-star cast including Academy Award-winner Cloris Leachman (“The Last Picture Show”), Dennis Quaid (“The Rookie”), country singer/actor Trace Adkins and Broadway’s J. Michael Finley (“Les Miserables”). Principal photography took place for “I Can Only Imagine” in Oklahoma and wrapped in January 2017. The film was distributed nationwide by Roadside Attractions, shattering expectations to become #3 at the box office on opening weekend and the #1 faith-based movie of 2018. The Warren Theatre (Regal Cinemas) in Moore, Oklahoma, was host to a red-carpet premiere, inviting local crew and guests to witness the inspiring story firsthand.
“When I saw the movie, I was moved by the powerful message of hope and forgiveness,” declared State Representative Randy McDaniel. “Seeing the film inspired me to take action to give this extraordinary song official state recognition and a permanent home in Oklahoma’s musical landscape. It is truly uplifting to see everyone come together in support of this special honor.”
State Representative John Paul Jordan, the House author of the bill, added, “This song has its roots in Oklahoma and in the midst of these troubling times, what better time to focus on a song so full of hope? It represents our faith, our hope, and where our peace can be found.”
The film utilized the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program administered by the Oklahoma Film + Music Office, and created more than 340 local jobs throughout the production’s nearly 270-day stint in Oklahoma, which included pre-production, production and post-production. “I Can Only Imagine” was filmed throughout the communities of Oklahoma City, Jones, El Reno, Yukon, Del City and Bethany with a direct in-state spend totaling over $4 million dollars.
An official presentation of the signed legislation will be presented to MercyMe in front of a live audience during their concert at Oklahoma City’s Frontier City amusement park, which has been rescheduled to June 9.
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 please visit okfilmmusic.org.