A film festival that started in Oklahoma and expanded to include cities like New York and Los Angeles is returning to its roots in Tulsa next month.
The United Film Festival will be held at Tulsa's Circle Cinema on Dec. 6-8. The festival was started by Oklahoma native Jason Connell in 2002. It soon grew to include five additional cities: San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and London.
The Tulsa festival will feature several locally produced films in a variety of genres and formats.
Friday marks 50 years since President John F. Kennedy died by an assassin’s hand in Dallas. University of Oklahoma political scientist Charles Kenney joins Suzette Grillot to discuss Kennedy’s global legacy, especially in Latin America.
Later, a conversation with Michael Covitt, the founder of the Malian Manuscript Foundation, and the producer of the documentary 333– named after the saints buried in Timbuktu.
Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise talk about the righting of the Costa Concordia cruise liner off the coast of Italy, and the two-hour outage of Iran's internet firewall that allowed citizens access to social media.
Later, a conversation with New Zealand filmmaker Costa Botes. He’s directed documentaries about Canadian sled dogs, a cross-dressing attorney, and the inventor of the Jelly Belly jelly bean.
From the snow-covered tundra to sugar-filled factories, filmmaker Costa Botes built his career telling stories of eclectic outsiders. It’s an archetype he identifies with as an ethnically-Greek Turkish citizen who moved to New Zealand at the age of three.
“I value it now, but at the time it seemed quite traumatic,” Botes says. “I grew up wanting to conform, and that meant my links to my own culture were not severed, but they were stretched to breaking points.”
Amb. Cynthia Schneider's interview with Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis
While serving as the U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands in 2001, Cynthia Schneider used Hollywood to approach sensitive drug issues between American and Dutch officials.
Schneider invited embassy staffers focusing on drugs, and their counterparts in the Dutch Ministry of Justice, to a screening of Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar-winning film Traffic.
“It's a very powerful film that shows the intricacies of drug trafficking, and really shows how complicated it is,” Schneider says. “That was a fantastic experience because it kind of leveled the playing ground, and after seeing that film together we were able to have the most honest, direct conversation that we ever had, and really make progress.”