Oklahoma Metropolis and Tulsa make MovieMakers 2021 listing of the very best locations to dwell and work as a filmmaker.

From left Paulina Alexis plays Willie Jack, Devery Jacobs Elora Danan Postoak, D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai as bear and Lane Factor as cheese in the new Indian comedy series “Reservation Dogs”. The pilot was filming in Okmulgee. and Tulsa County [Shane Brown/FX]

Tulsa ranks 7th on the Movie Maker Top 10 Small Towns ranking ahead of Richmond, Virginia. Wilmington, North Carolina; and Ashland, Oregon. The list is headed by New Orleans, Santa Fe, and Pittsburgh.

SMALL TOWNS AND TOWNS

1. New Orleans

2. Santa Fe, New Mexico

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3. Pittsburgh

4. Savannah

5. Victoria, British Columbia

6. Providence

7. Tulsa

8. Richmond

9. Wilmington, North Carolina

10. Ashland, Oregon

“We’re thrilled with this news,” said Abby Kurin, executive director of Tulsa’s film, music, arts and culture office, in a statement. “We are grateful to all of the talented filmmakers and film crews who call Tulsa home and look forward to continuing to support all producers who select Tulsa for their next project.”

Kurin spoke to Moviemaker about Tulsa’s “melting pot of culture,” Art Deco architecture and a strong art community as key factors in the city’s growing film business.

In its Tulsa ranking, Moviemaker selected Circle Cinema as the satellite screen for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, which begins Thursday, as well as the filming of the Okmulgee and Tulsa County pilot, Reservation Dogs, the expected addition to the Oscar series. Winner of New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi, who is from Maori, and Tulsa filmmaker, Sterlin Harjo, who is a member of Seminole and Creek.

The magazine also features Lee Isaac Chung’s acclaimed drama “Minari,” which was filmed in Tulsa in 2019 and premiered at Sundance in 2020, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the US Dramatic Competition.

Steven Yeun and Alan Kim play the lead roles
Steven Yeun and Alan Kim star in “Minari,” an Oklahoma-filmed drama that received huge acclaim at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. [Sundance Institute photo]

The pre-Oscar craze for the Tulsa-produced film grew louder as the moviemaker list fell: “Minari” was nominated for six Film Independent Spirit Awards in 2021 today, including “Best Picture,” “Best Director,” and “Best Screenplay for Chung, “Best Male Lead Actor” for Steven Yeun and two Best Supporting Female Nods, for Yuh-jung Youn and Yeri Han.

Tim Molloy, editor-in-chief of MovieMaker, noted that the COVID-19 pandemic made the magazine’s annual list look different.

“This was obviously a very different year for our annual ‘Best Places to Live and Work as a Filmmaker’ list – it is a time of incredible upheaval, but also an opportunity. Many in the film and television industries are trying to change the path of many cities and communities across the country greet these storytellers with open arms, “Molloy said in a statement.” Last year we moved Los Angeles and New York City to our Hall of Fame believing they have their place in filmmaking sure we should make room for emerging communities. Little did we know how much LA and New York were going to suffer in the months to come. But their discipline and resilience will make them stronger in 2021 and beyond than they films in an era of innovation and invention. “

MovieMaker used surveys, research into tax incentives and recent productions, and in-person visits to most of the locations on the list, as well as the best information available on how they are dealing with the pandemic, to determine the rankings, according to a press release.

“Oklahoma’s commitment to the entertainment industry, coupled with the state’s low cost of living and doing business, is a win-win opportunity for film and music professionals and our state,” said Tava Maloy Sofsky, director of the Oklahoma Film + Music Office, in an email to The Oklahoman. “Not only are filmmakers and music makers ready for creativity, innovation and the opportunity to tell their stories in Oklahoma, but our nationwide industry members, businesses and communities are positively impacted by new sources of income for a more sustainable quality of life.”

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