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Lissa Blaschke: Directing deadCENTER

The new face finding funding for the festival and more



 


 

The deadCENTER Film Festival turns 16 this June. And like any proud parent, Artistic Director Lance McDaniel is turning over the keys, anxious to see what’s down the road.

“After five years of explosive growth, we need an executive director to secure our long-term financial stability and further develop our relationship with the statewide business community,” McDaniel says.

Lissa Blaschke is that person.

The Casady School and University of Oklahoma alum was hired in early September – not to replace McDaniel, but free him to grow the festival artistically. Making sure it grows financially is now Blaschke’s job.

Having served as director of development for the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics Foundation, she knows the landscape. Most recently, she was the director of development for the Albuquerque Community Foundation, St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, Escuela del Sol Montessori and the Harwood Art Center.

In its 15th iteration this past June, the festival showcased approximately 100 comedies, dramas, documentaries and short films. Those brought more than 30,000 attendees to downtown Oklahoma City and rang up more than $2 million in economic impact.

In 2014, McDaniel and Kim Haywood, deadCENTER’s director of programming and education, wrapped up a barnstorming tour of the state. Visiting 30 high schools from August through October, the pair helped promote filmmaking to students and helped towns and organizations move toward developing their own events.

In short, deadCENTER is now year-round.

Now, it’s Blaschke’s turn to not only follow up, but strengthen and create new ties in the fundraising and development world to highlight that.


So how does it feel to be the lady who replaces Lance McDaniel? “I think it’s interesting because I don’t feel like I’m following in his footsteps,” says Blaschke. “He has a totally different set of skills than I have. He was excited for me to come on. He gets to focus on what he loves to do and what he does best. I’m just there to help.

“I don’t think I would have taken the job if Lance was leaving.”
 
The festival has exploded with growth the last few years without a dedicated development role. What does that say to you? “I think it says a lot. I’m really surprised they’ve done as well as they have with only the few staff they have. I came in and found people loved deadCENTER. They have a lot of volunteers and it shows the tremendous growth, and a lot of financial support from the community.”
 
How do you measure success in your first year? “A successful year to me would be getting the word out that we are a year-round organization. We’re not just a festival. I would like to get more national sponsorship or donors granting to us and granting to our education and our institution.

“People go to a lot of the same people for financial support. I think I learned (in Albuquerque) there are people everywhere. Someone may give you $10 or $10,000 or $10 million – you need to value them all.

“I think there are a lot of people out there that aren’t really into film, and they want to support things that are great for the city.”
 
What do you really like about the work deadCENTER does? “I like that they get out to so many kids that otherwise wouldn’t have that. They travel all over the state. It’s not necessarily about making films but [that] they’re teaching kids how to tell stories. Filmmaking is doing that in film, whereas other people may do it in storytelling or writing. It’s great because they are giving kids something they can actually take and use. They don’t need a lot of equipment and money to get on their iPhone and make a film and tell a story.”

 



 

When the 2016 deadCENTER Film Festival hits downtown OKC this summer (June 8-12), you’ll hear more buzz for the films themselves and their directors and actors than for the locals who helped bring them all together – but an undertaking this huge, especially with deadCENTER’s focus continuing to expand beyond this signature event, requires a number of dedicated contributors.

That means special kudos are due the nonprofit’s executive board, which includes Art Cotton, John Kennedy, Carol Johnson, Ashley Byrnes – and the 2016 chair, Julie Hall. She’s already worked with previous chair Cotton to restructure the organization and bump its full-time staff to four, and led the search that resulted in Blaschke’s hire.

“Julie has proven to be a tremendous asset for deadCENTER,” Blaschke said in December. “We’re extremely excited about the future of the independent film arts in Oklahoma with her continued support in this new role.”

 

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Calendar

April 2019

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
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Celebrate Easter with a trip to Andy Alligator’s Fun Park! On Saturday and Sunday, get $5 off an All-Day Pass with our Eggcellent Easter Special. All-Day Passes include Go-Karts,...

Cost: $23.95

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Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
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Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The OSU Symphony Orchestra will conclude the 2018-19 season with Schubert's monumental and majestic Symphony No. 9 in C ("The Great"). The concert opens with The European Anthem,...

Cost: General Admission: $10; Students & Seniors: $7

Where:
Oklahoma State University Department of Music
132 Seretean Ctr
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Sponsor: Oklahoma State University Department of Music
Telephone: 405.744.6133
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

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Cost: Free

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Potbelly Sandwich Shop
8500 N Rockwell Ave
OKC, OK  73132
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Sponsor: Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Telephone: 405-792-5112
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
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RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Individual Artists of Oklahoma
706 W. Sheridan Ave.
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Sponsor: Individual Artists of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.412.2541
Contact Name: David Smith

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Cost: $5 at the door, 13 and under free

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Heritage Place
2829 S. MacArthur
Oklahoma City, OK  73128
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Sponsor: Junk Hippy
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Where:
Branson Junior High
263 Buccaneer Boulevard
Branson, MO  65616
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Sponsor: A Sporting Chance
Telephone: 404-314-2188
Contact Name: Hannah Schachinger

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RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
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Sponsor: Delta Dental

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Cost: Free

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Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
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Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Contact Name: Evan
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Andy Alligator's is celebrating teachers! On Saturday and Sunday, teachers with a valid ID will receive a FREE All-Day Pass and $5 off for each family member! An All-Day Pass includes...

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Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
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America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

Where:
The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
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Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
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Get a sample of the nightlife of Spain at Tulsa Botanic Garden's "Viva La Vida." The Garden is bringing star chef Jamie Bissonnette (Toro restaurants in Boston, NYC, Bangkok and...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Dr
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
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Cost: Free, contests have entry fee

Where:
Fassler Hall
421 NW 10th
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: Revolve Productions
Telephone: 405.810.6977
Contact Name: Tobi Coleman
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