deadCenter Film, Oklahoma’s largest and only Oscar-qualifying film festival in the state, announced last week that its current Features Programmer, Sunrise Tippeconnie (Navajo and Comanche), will take over the role as Director of Programming starting Aug. 1. 

The four-day festival welcomes more than 20,000 attendees every June to view groundbreaking films from across the globe. Additionally, deadCenter hosts a year-round Continuum Programming Series that has brought nearly a dozen free screenings to audiences throughout the Oklahoma City area.

Tippeconnie is a Navajo and Comanche filmmaker with an extensive career in the movie industry. He has collaborated with some of the most prominent names in Native American film, including FX’s Reservation Dogs’ Sterlin Harjo, Erica Tremblay, and A-list director Martin Scorsese. The list of projects he has worked on includes American Gods, Rudderless, Barking Water, Four Sheets to the Wind, My Blind Brother, Reservation Dogs, and the upcoming highly-anticipated film Killers of the Flower Moon. 

Some of Tippeconnie’s works, including Leave Durov to the Dogs and Anticipation for Land in 2089, have been shown worldwide at museums and festivals, such as the Heard Museum, imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival, and the National Museum of the American Indian. 

As well, Tippeconnie's illustrious career includes 20+ years of lecturing and instructing over a dozen film and production courses at the University of Oklahoma. 

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Tippeconnie said he is looking forward to leading the festival in growing the festival's influence. 

“I have been privileged to experience deadCenter from viewership to programming and have seen not only its importance in supporting artistic perspectives but its potential to unite communities,” Tippeconnie said in a statement. “I am honored to be asked to join the story of deadCenter leadership as Director of Programming to nurture, strengthen, and expand these contributions of the festival, and I hope I can live up to those who come before and the needs of our expanding film communities.”

Current program director Sara Thompson brought Tippeconnie onto the deadCenter team five years ago. 

“I’ve been in awe of Sunrise’s film knowledge since first meeting him on the set of Pearl in 2008,” Thompson said. “I asked him to join the team in 2018, knowing he would elevate the program and take us to new heights. I’m thrilled to see where he takes deadCenter in this next chapter and can’t wait to follow his journey.”  

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About The Author
Neely Bardwell
Author: Neely BardwellEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Neely Bardwell (descendant of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indian) is a staff reporter for Native News Online. Bardwell is also a student at Michigan State University where she is majoring in policy and minoring in Native American studies.