Scorsese was scheduled to shoot Killers of the Flower Moon, his adaptation of the Osage County-set true crime book by David Grann, in the Sooner State in March 2020, but life had other plans: Productions remain postponed due to coronavirus restrictions.

When the deadCenter Film Festival, one of Oklahoma’s leading film hubs, moved its panels and programming online for the first time, Scorsese helped ring in its 20th annual edition with a warm welcome webcast.

“I haven’t left this room in about 14 weeks,” Scorsese laughed, seated in front of two big, beautiful ’40s film noir posters at his home in Manhattan. “I’m honored to be here, albeit through video… honored because it’s your 20th anniversary, and that this event is actually being held at this time.” 

Check out Scorsese's full address below:

The theme of Scorsese’s address was the invigorating quality that festivals provide their attendees, be they industry or audience members. “Growing up 50, 60 years ago, the New York Film Festival was the first festival that I was able to attend,” he said. “I found that, along with my desire and obsession to make pictures, the extraordinary atmosphere of a film festival was life-giving.”

For Scorsese, film festivals’ “life-giving force” comes from the opportunities they afford to passionately discuss films, eventually make films with newfound friends and colleagues, and truly appreciate “all the possibilities and different forms of the human endeavor.”

“Beyond the nature of filmmaking itself—and how that continually changes [as] a living organism—I began to learn so much about other cultures, other people, other ways of thinking, and breaking through ignorance and prejudice through cinema,” he continued.

Scorsese also praised deadCenter’s decision to open its 11-day run with a discussion on black filmmakers. Sev DeMy, Elegance Bratton, and Ya’Ke—directors of the shorts {Black Title Here}, Buck, and Brother—all shared in the discussion, which was moderated by Oklahoma City Councilwoman Nikki Nice and is now available to passholders through the Virtual Festival.

Martin Scorsese Oklahoma Killers of the Flower MoonMartin Scorsese location scouting for Killers of the Flower Moon in Oklahoma.Credit: Emma Tillinger Koskoff

Killers of the Flower Moon will be Scorsese’s telling of the real-life murders of Osage Native Americans investigated in the early 1920s when the FBI was in its infancy. The director and cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto—who recently earned an Oscar nomination for his work on Scorsese’s The Irishman—were spotted in both Osage County and Bartlesville last winter as reports began to reveal some of their location choices. 

“I would love to be there with you,” Scorsese told deadCenter’s staff and online attendees. “I hope that when we get to shoot Killers of the Flower Moon soon, I might be able to be there at some point.” 

The 2020 deadCenter Film Festival runs June 11-21, 2020. For more information, head on over to the festival's website

Source: deadCenter Film Festival