The Oklahoma Film & TV Academy (OFTA) is a newly formed organization with a mission to develop a production ready workforce for the Oklahoma film and television industry.
On May 7th, 2019, Governor Kevin Stitt signed new legislation to attract film and television productions to the state of Oklahoma. The bipartisan bill, SB200, was overwhelmingly supported by representatives with 92 Ayes and 5 Nays in the house and 37 Ayes and 8 Nays in the Senate. The bill offers film and television productions a 35 to 37% cash rebate on qualifying labor, goods, and services, with a fiscal year cap of $8 million. The goal of the bill is to act as a catalyst for the recruitment and retention of Oklahoma jobs together with setting the stage for immediate, as well as long-term, economic investment in the state.
With this new bill signed by Governor Stitt, Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell convened an advisory board to determine the feasibility of building film studios in Oklahoma and the need for a designated training program to service the growing demand of set-ready Oklahoma crew members similar to Georgia’s highly successful Georgia Film Academy.
Georgia is a shining example of a state that has actively embraced film production and benefited from a huge amount of investment and jobs in their state. In FY2018, Georgia benefited from 455 qualified TV and film productions with $2.7 billion in direct spending. Using a “multiplier” impact of 3.57, the state claims an astounding $9.5 billion in total economic impact.
Back in Oklahoma, the advisory board determined that there was an immediate need for a film training academy that focused on training support based crew including electricians, gaffers, grips, transportation, bookkeepers, set construction, props, costume makers, etc. But the State had to move quickly to capitalize on what many are calling the golden age of content demand.
As big studios and networks begin to launch their own streaming services and pull content from the likes of Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and Hulu, all distributors are being forced to create even more content to fuel the appetite of consumers who have become accustomed to paying for online access to deep libraries of content.
Taking Showtime as an example, they have commited to produce 30% more hours of content for the network than they did last year. And this is happening across the industry. On October 21st 2019, Netflix announced that it was offering $2 billion in debt to fund more original content due to the intense competition around the launch of new streaming services. In August 2019, Apple announced that it was set to spend over $6 billion on new TV shows and movies for its forthcoming service, TV+.
With this need for more content comes opportunity. The industry needs more set-ready crew, they need more sound stages to shoot on, and they need more locations. The Oklahoma Film And Television Academy is positioning itself as the leading supplier of production ready crew to meet this demand.
Management & Teaching
Our senior teaching staff – including Heads of Department and Course Leaders – are distinguished professionals with a host of credits and awards to their names.
They include Steve Mathis (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Moulin Rouge!, Thor: Ragnarok), Dean Georgopoulos (Birdman, Gravity, The Tree of Life), and Alisha East (The Mandalorian, Big Little Lies, Modern Family).
They are supplemented by dozens of visiting tutors from across the creative industries, as well as a program of masterclasses from leading names from across film, television and games.