The Plaza District, Film Row, Western Avenue, and H&8th. Each of these Oklahoma City districts may have a unique history and aesthetic, but they also have something in common: over the past few years they all have experienced a revival with the creation of regular events that bring businesses, neighbors, and “outsiders” together. This feature-length documentary shares stories and advice on district revitalization throughout Oklahoma City from the people who helped create positive change in their communities and want to inspire others to do the same.

District Up! made its World Premiere at the deadCenter Film Festival! Showtime was Friday, June 10 at 8:00pm at The District House in the Plaza District in connection with their monthly LIVE on the Plaza event.

I had a fantastic and crazy busy week! I’m going to skip the preparation matters and start talking about the Thursday Opening Night Party. I did my 30 Second videos with filmmakers again this year. (For the recap on those, click here.) This was my first year to attend deadCenter as having Uncovering Oklahoma as my main job (instead of my side job) and as a filmmaker. Double Special!

I'm Poppe Approved Now
I also become Poppe Approved!

Friday morning, I attended the filmmakers breakfast, meet with distributors, listened to discussion panels, filmed more 30 second videos, had lunch, and visited the art films at Current Studio before I had to ready for my movie’s premiere.

I was ecstatic with all of the love District Up! was getting on Twitter on Friday:

And the love during the movie as well!

From left to right - Michelle Bui, Rachael Taylor, Dennis Spielman, Cayla Lewis, and Jill DeLozier - photo by Leslie Spielman

Everything went great! We had to keep adding more chairs as the audience grew! There was also a group from the University of Oklahoma with a table setup with my film about urban planning that I wish I had known about in advance so I could’ve promoted them too.

The District Up Cocktail made by Oak and Ore
I want to give special thanks to Oak & Ore for making my wife and I a special “District Up!” cocktail after the film. It was so good! I got to brag to everyone about having a cocktail themed after my movie.

The whole deadCenter weekend has been a rewarding experience. If you’re a festival volunteer reading this, thank you for your help and hard work.

With deadCenter over, what does the future hold? The movie has been only submitted to a few other film festivals, as the submission process is expensive. I have gotten some feedback and some ideas for the final retail cut of the movie, which I’m planning on releasing in October/November in conjunction with a book that goes into more details. I have gotten some ideas for other documentaries so I’ll be exploring those stories. On Sunday night, I did start to write a screenplay.

Whatever happens, I’ll write about it here.