State Resources vital in telling story of Oklahoma aviatrix

By using Oklahoma's abundant resources, the film "Pearl" will look like it was filmed by a major studio. That is the assessment of Amy Briede, Emmy Award winning line producer of the true story of Chickasaw aviatrix Pearl Carter Scott.

Filmed on locations in Oklahoma, the film tells the story of Pearl Carter Scott, a Chickasaw girl from Oklahoma who is well known as the youngest licensed pilot in America. Befriended by famous aviator Wiley Post in the late 1920s, Pearl was performing as a barnstormer and commercial pilot by age 14.

Harn Homestead in Oklahoma City serves as a primary location during the four-week shoot. Located in the shadow of the Oklahoma State Capitol, Harn Homestead is an expansive outdoor museum which includes a farm, one-room school house, and a Victorian home. It serves as a perfect backdrop for the film, which is set in the late 1920 and early 1930s. "Pearl is a slice of Oklahoma history and so is the Harn Homestead," said Briede. While Briede has worked on historic documentaries, she said this was her first opportunity to work on a period feature film. "Oklahoma is really gracious when it comes to shooting historical films," she said. "We get to utilize historic cars, horses, wagons. Oklahoma is just a cool place to film."

Tom Huston Orr said that Oklahoma is beginning to emerge as a prime location for the film industry. He said that about every ten years there is a budding film industry, and now it is Oklahoma, and Oklahoma is entering the arena cautiously and intelligently. "The misconception of Oklahoma is the Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath , dustbowl era," he said. "We have a diverse landscape; we have so many different looks to the state, from prairies to swamps." "The resources are diverse.This is attractive to the industry." The film has a crew of 60, and a more than 40 cast members.

Briede said many of the crew members are products of Oklahoma City Community College's film production program in Oklahoma City. The program at OKCCC includes a state-of-the-art sound stage to help train film professionals for the industry. When films such as Pearl are shot in Oklahoma, it retains these highly trained professionals in the state by creating jobs for every discipline from director to key grip. Huston Orr said there are many underserved genres, such as the Western and the family genre, which Oklahoma could tap into. He said he hopes "Pearl" "starts a slew of other movies produced in Oklahoma." "There are so many great towns in Oklahoma and so many great stories"

The Oklahoma Film Commission is providing assistance in various aspects of the film production.