Francis Ford Coppola Coming to OCCC

Academy Award Winning Director Headlines First Signature Series

    (Published: 09-25-14)

Francis Ford Coppola

One of the greatest filmmakers Hollywood has ever fostered will make a rare public appearance as Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) will host its annual Signature Series: An Evening with Francis Ford Coppola to be held October 20 at 7 p.m. in the OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center Theater.

Coppola, whose association with OCCC Artist-in-Residence Gray Frederickson goes back to the early 70s and "The Godfather," will join his friend onstage for a behind-the-scenes discussion about life, careers and the future of the film industry.

“We are extremely grateful that Mr. Coppola has agreed to help us showcase our Film and Video Production program, our facility, our faculty and our students,” said Dr. Paul Sechrist, president of OCCC. “When OCCC opened the Visual and Performing Arts Center and Theater, we knew that our first Signature Series event needed to feature someone whose quality and reputation matched that of our programs.”

Sechrist said that Coppola will be discussing his seminal films, such as the “Godfather” trilogy and “Apocalypse Now,” as well as other award-winning blockbusters.

This event will mark Mr. Coppola’s first return to Oklahoma since filming both ‘The Outsiders” and “Rumble Fish” in Tulsa. Surviving polio, Francis Coppola turned to film after a brief turn in theater. He landed, after a stint at Hofstra University, in the graduate film program at UCLA, where he and his classmates, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and John Milius swore to change the way Hollywood movies were made.

Coppola rose through the ranks of Hollywood, working for legendary low budget producer Roger Corman before his master’s thesis, a film called “You’re a Big Boy Now” was released by Warner Brothers. After winning an Academy Award for the script of “Patton,” Coppola was given the reins to what should have been a routine gangster film.

“The Godfather” is consistently listed by film critics as perhaps the greatest American film of all time.

Coppola has also developed a strong family name in Hollywood; his daughter Sophia won her own Academy Award for writing “Lost in Translation,” son Roman was recently nominated for writing “Moonrise Kingdom,” nephew Nicolas Cage won the Best Actor Academy Award for the movie “Leaving Las Vegas,” and sister Talia Shire and nephew Jason Schwartzman have made their mark in movies and television as well.

Tax-deductible funds raised from the event will help benefit OCCC’s Film and Video Production program.

“Our film and video program has about 300 students per semester and has placed hundreds in the production industry,” said Film and Video Department Chair, Greg Mellott. “However, for us to be able to compete, we need the newest, most modern equipment and also be able to provide maintenance for the state-of-the-art equipment we already have.”

Prior to the evening event, Coppola and Frederickson will hold a master’s seminar for OCCC and Oklahoma City Public School students.

Premium tickets for “An Evening with Francis Ford Coppola” are priced at $75, with lower orchestra at $45 and $35 for upper orchestra seats.  For tickets, call 405-682-7576 or online at