Thursday, April 28, 2022
The Chamber forum in March focused on the fast-growing film industry in Oklahoma. Panelists Co-CEO of Prairie Surf Media, Rachel Cannon; EVB and Head of Finance at Prairie Surf Media, Tanya Ruby; and President of Region Track Inc. and economist, Mark Snead, PH.D. each added detail to the discussion.
Cannon – a University of Oklahoma film graduate – started off the conversation, providing a little information on her background for perspective, before getting into why she, and Co-CEO Matt Payne, decided to take on the challenge of building their business in Oklahoma City. She credited wanting to raise a family back at home for her return to the state, rather than some grand idea of a studio. After making the move, and planning to live here and travel for work, the “Fresh Off the Boat” actress met with Matt Payne to discuss the idea of making a movie in Oklahoma. The talk over coffee quickly redirected, as the two came up with the idea of bringing an entire ecosystem to OKC. The team initially failed to find an adequate warehouse facility for their plan; then, an attractive opportunity came to them in form of the overlooked former convention center downtown. The team met with the city and finalized a deal in 2020 to convert the convention center into their studio concept. Next up was supplying a workforce to sustain the anticipated film productions – and that would take more money.