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Cherokee Nation adds to investment in film industry


OWASSO – The Cherokee Nation broke ground recently on a soundstage and other facilities in Owasso, adding to its already substantial investment in the film industry in Oklahoma.

The planned 10,000-square-foot addition to Cherokee Film Studios, set to be complete in 2024, will be equipped to attract high-end film, television and other commercial productions and will bring jobs and other economic benefits to the tribe. Additionally, projects will allow the Cherokee Nation to advance goals of becoming a recognized entertainment industry production hub and champion of underrepresented voices, officials said.

Owned by Cherokee Nation Businesses, Cherokee Film’s portfolio includes the Cherokee Film Commission, Cherokee Film Institute, Cherokee Film Productions and Cherokee Film Studios, with its Owasso campus already featuring a large production facility with a pro-grade audio booth, control room, edit suites, hair and makeup rooms and more.

The new 10,000-square-foot soundstage will have a 35-foot ceiling, full soundproofing to cinema standards, a modular truss system with chain hoists, a multipurpose “flex” space and more, including 14-foot bay doors for load-ins and hookups for production trailers and recreational vehicles.

“As we increase infrastructure, such as we’re celebrating today, we are fueling the growth and expansion of this exciting industry that will help drive an economic boost for our communities, create new quality jobs and bolster our talented citizens and small Native-owned businesses,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said.

Hoskin described television and film production as a “forever industry” and said the tribe has made purposeful investments to be at its leading edge in northeastern Oklahoma.

CNB CEO Chuck Garrett said the investment has helped the tribe achieve a goal of diversifying its economy while at the same time creating career opportunities for its citizens and other Oklahomans.

“In pursuit of our longtime mission of growing the tribe’s economy, our company invests in the success of Cherokee Nation through new and diverse opportunities across the globe,” Garrett said. “The rapid and continued growth of Cherokee Film is an excellent example of our commitment to continually finding new ways to diversify our efforts so that we can provide even more funding and resources for our fellow Cherokee citizens while remaining a positive community partner for our state.”

Construction of the new studio also will bring changes to the tribe’s current facility, including a new lobby and waiting area for clients, a construction mill space, multipurpose/flex space, production offices and conference rooms, wardrobe and storage rooms and more, including a catering kitchen and an additional greenroom.

“This is an excellent illustration of our commitment to fulfilling the infrastructure needed to help grow the state’s burgeoning film industry,” said Jennifer Loren, senior director of Cherokee Film. “The expansion of Cherokee Film Studios, Owasso Campus will answer the region’s need for purpose-built professional facilities while simultaneously providing an industry-leading space for Cherokee Nation to create our own productions at the highest level possible.”

Loren noted that the Owasso facilities are located less than 20 minutes from Tulsa International Airport.

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