In its 23rd year, the deadCENTER film festival is Oklahoma's largest and most celebrated film festival. The fest has been named one of the "20 Coolest Film Festivals" and “Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” by MovieMaker Magazine. In 2020, deadCENTER was celebrated by Smithsonian Magazine as “One of Eight Festivals Worth Attending (Virtually).”

Designated as an Academy Award®-Qualifying Festival for animated and live action shorts, the deadCenter Film Festival boasts an impressive slate of over 150 films during the 4-day event in June. Founded by independent filmmakers, the festival focuses on providing engaging experiences for filmmakers, distributors, industry professionals, and film audiences.

Pre-pandemic, we hosted sold-out screenings and were notorious for legendary special events. In 2020, we pivoted from creating the biggest and rowdiest film festival to planning an 11-day, completely virtual festival that was experienced in 42 states, 24 countries, and home to over 140 films securely protected on our platform. In 2021, we took that experience further to create a hybrid festival that focused on bringing audiences back to the theater by highlighting our Oklahoma films.

In 2022, we returned in full force to theaters and expanded our footprint into neighboring communities to highlight a more inclusive and diverse slate of films. We brought filmmakers and audiences together with vibrant special events, connected filmmakers to industry professionals at our Annual Distribution Forum, and highlighted visiting filmmakers in the Oklahoma Film + Music Office Panel Series.

As we move toward the 23rd Annual deadCenter Film Festival, we are excited to plan our best fest to date and serve our mission of inspiring, promoting, and celebrating creativity and community through film.

Best Narrative Feature

Best Documentary Feature

Best Live Action Short
Academy Award®-qualified category

Best Short Animation
Academy Award®-qualified category

Best Short Documentary

Best Episodic

Best Music Video

Best Indigenous Feature

Best Indigenous Short

Best Oklahoma Feature

Best Oklahoma Short

Best High School Short

Special Jury Narrative Feature

Special Jury Documentary

Special Jury Short

Audience Award Best Feature

Audience Award Best Short

Please read the following carefully. By submitting your project, you are agreeing that you have read and acknowledged the following rules and terms. All films that adhere to the following terms and are submitted by the final deadline will be considered for the 2023 deadCenter Film Festival.

SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: Each film must be submitted with a working screener and be paid in full to be considered. Once a film is received with a screener the status will be changed to “In Consideration.” If your film’s status has not changed to “In Consideration” within 7 days of submission please contact us at to inquire as to why. Each film must also be submitted by either the director or producer.

FEE WAIVERS: deadCenter Film Festival is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit and therefore we are unable to offer fee waivers under any circumstance.

SCREENING PROCESS: All deadCenter submissions will be reviewed by at least three members of our screening committee before making their way to our programmers. No decisions will be made until the end of our screening cycle in April 2023.

SUBMISSION CATEGORIES: Please read the submission categories carefully to determine where your submission belongs. If you feel you’ve entered incorrectly, please contact us at Films will be considered for awards based on categories entered. dCFF reserves the right to determine the eligibility of submissions in each category.

OKLAHOMA FILM: Oklahoma Film exists as its own category at dCFF. To enter as an Oklahoma film, you must meet BOTH of the following criteria:

-Project was partially shot in Oklahoma.
-Director or Producer currently resides in Oklahoma.

Films submitted in the Oklahoma category will only be considered for an award in that category. If the filmmaker wishes to have the film considered in an additional category, the film should also be submitted in the desired category. Please note that given the volume of Oklahoma Indigenous works there is an Oklahoma Indigenous category. Films accepted in this category will be eligible for both the Best Okie Short and Best Indigenous Short awards.

PREMIERE STATUS: While deadCenter does not require specific premiere status, we do prioritize Oklahoma, US, and World premieres in all categories EXCEPT, Music Videos, Episodes, Oklahoma Student Films, and Virtual Reality.

Films must not have screened publicly in the Oklahoma City area before the 2023 deadCenter Film Festival, and we strongly prefer films that have not yet screened in the state of Oklahoma. Cast and crew screenings are acceptable as long as they are not open to or advertised to the public.

OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Films that have been previously screened publicly in theaters in the US, aired on US television, or are available online for viewing in their entirety (as part of a distribution plan, including publicly accessible YouTube and Vimeo links and all streaming platforms) prior to or during the festival June 8-11, 2023 are NOT eligible to screen. Exceptions to this rule are Music Videos, Episodics, Oklahoma Student Films, and Virtual Reality. THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE SCREENINGS AT FILM FESTIVALS (virtual or physical) PRIOR TO deadCenter.

COMPLETION DATE: Any project that was completed on or after January 1, 2022 will be eligible for consideration at the 2023 deadCenter Film Festival.

SCREENING FEES: deadCenter Film Festival does not pay screening fees for submitted films. By submitting your project, you acknowledge that dCFF will not pay to present your work.

EXHIBITION FORMATS: All films must be available for the festival exhibition on DCP. VR films will be asked to upload files to our secure site.

LANGUAGE: Films produced in languages other than English must have English subtitles. Films with no subtitles will not be considered for dCFF. No refunds will be given to films submitted and not considered due to lack of subtitles.

CLOSED CAPTIONING: deadCenter requires all films to be screened with closed captioning at the festival. If accepted, please have the appropriate cc files available to accompany your film.

STUDENT FILMS: Students MUST provide proof of student status (copy of student ID) at the time of production. A photo of the ID is to be uploaded with production stills to FilmFreeway. Films submitted within the student category but without ID will not be considered for dCFF 2023.

WORKS IN PROGRESS: Works-in-progress are accepted and should be noted as such. All incomplete materials or changes should be clearly marked in a cover letter and preferably in the film cut. The submitter may update until the final submission deadline as long as the link and password remain the same.

*dCFF is only responsible for considering the project as it exists at the time of review. We are under no obligation to revisit updated cuts once a screener has been seen. Therefore, you should not submit your project if it is not complete enough to adequately represent the final product.

MARKETING: Upon acceptance, your entry authorizes deadCenter Film Festival to use clips of your film for marketing and promotional purposes on television, online, in advertising, news and/or other media. Short films may be included on a compilation program screened as part of our statewide education and promotion program around Oklahoma.

ADDITIONAL TERMS OF ENTRY: Entry confirms and warrants required legal authority to submit the entry into the festival and to use ALL music, images, and content in the entry. This means that when you submit your film, you are guaranteeing that you have the permission to submit. And, by submitting, you guarantee that all of the music and image rights have been secured.

LOSS AND DAMAGES: The deadCenter Film Festival will take all possible care in the handling of entries. The Festival cannot be responsible for damage or loss to films or files while in our possession or in transit.

THE FINE PRINT: By submitting this film, I understand that I am agreeing to the following:

I own or control the copyright in and to, and am duly authorized to submit this film to the deadCenter Film Festival and to the best of my knowledge, all statements on this document are true.

This film contains no material which could result in tort claims, royalty claims, claims for breach of contract, or claims of any sort whatsoever.

I fully indemnify and hold deadCenter Film Festival and its partners harmless from: a) damage to or loss of the film print or videotapes en route to or from deadCenter Film Festival or during the course of festival possession of the entry; and b) from any claims which may arise in connection with this film.

If a claim arises in connection with this film, I will bear all the costs of defense incurred by deadCenter Film Festival and pay any award of damages that may ensue.

I also agree to reimburse deadCenter Film Festival for any attorney fees incurred in connection with the defense of such a claim.

I understand that deadCenter Film Festival reserves the right to place my film in the appropriate competition category.

By submitting my film, I am indicating that I understand, comply with and agree to the Terms of Entry and the eligibility requirements.

Overall Rating
  • Christopher Fitzpatrick

    LOVED it. I had amazing time screening my music doc Oklahoma Breakdown. This festival truly values the filmmaker. The head programmer, among the 1000x in her repertoire, discussed the time and place for my film with me beforehand to make sure I was getting the most out of my screening, which was perfect sound/screen quality + a great turnout. The distribution forum is a HUGE bonus and there is a media room by the main theatre if you are seeking press. And as a director, they assisted in the costs for hotel and some transportation. There are all kinds of free parties and events day and night. Although the festival and some events are a bit spread out, everything was within 15 minutes max and shuttles are provided for most things. Quality of films exceeded the reputation (one of the biggest stops on the regional circuit). This is a no-brainer to submit to.

    August 2022
  • Ariel Baska

    I could not attend deadCenter in-person for health reasons, but the communication from this festival was great, and I loved what I was able to watch of the line-up remotely. Because of our screening there, I have had other festivals reach out to me about my film, which is an added bonus to all the work they did to make my screening successful. Looking forward to submitting my next film here!

    July 2022
  • Thank you for having our film "Cat and Moth" deadCenter! It was a great festival in 2022 and I wish I could have attended. The communication was great and it was very easy to exchanged information for our entry. I would definitely submit again in the future!

    July 2022
  • Richard Jones

    I had a great time at Deadcenter. It was a thrill to watch my film in front of a packed theater and I made new friends that I hope to collaborate with. Really felt from the team that they were excited to have my film there and I was definitely excited to be there. Definitely recommend this festival!

    June 2022
  • The team from deadCenter were fantastic, everything was organized and simple to follow. They continuously promoted our film throughout the festival and overall was an amazing experience. Would apply again in a second.

    June 2022