OCCC’s Artist-in-Residence Gray Frederickson left our world for his “next great adventure” as he put it, early in the morning of November 20, 2022.
Gray Frederickson began his career by producing a film when he didn’t know a thing about making movies. He just figured things out along the way. He was fearless. That give birth to a career producing some of America’s great films, including all three Godfather films, Apocalypse Now and The Outsiders.
Gray helped create Oklahoma’s first film commission – brought the governor and other officials out to California, introduced them around to underscore the importance of a commission.
When Gray came back to Oklahoma to raise his family, he went door-to-door with legislators helping the film commission that now existed, create Oklahoma’s first film rebate.
Gray went around to every 4-year college pitching a film production program and got turned down by all of them. His Oscar and movies made no difference. “Who need’s production courses?” they told him. “We have film studies programs.”
A community college, OCCC, created to fill gaps in access to higher education in South Oklahoma City – was the only college to say yes. It was here at OCCC that Gray created from scratch the first film program in all of Oklahoma that was dedicated to producing graduates who were filmmakers with command of movie equipment and technology.
This allowed films to come into the state and crew up locally from his students and graduates and allowed the film industry to blossom into the production center it is today. The first studio television series in our history, Tulsa King, shot season one at Prairie Surf Studios here in OKC. Prairie Surf’s Co-CEOs are Rachel Cannon and Matt Payne, both former of interns of Gray.
Gray also got into documentaries. His first one won him an Emmy. His others helped transform Oklahoma’s prison system and spread awareness of the heartbreaking issues children of the incarcerated face. Others advanced the cause of animal welfare across the state.
His documentaries brought in over $540,000 of grant funds to OCCC to help build excellence in technology and familiarize students with the various workflows needed to help them advance in the professional world.
Gray hosted Francis Ford Coppola at OCCC for a Live Cinema Workshop, whose final project was streamed from coast to coast and as far away as Paris, France. Every student who worked on this received an iMDB credit on a Francis Ford Coppola production which helped them get jobs all across this country, as well as here in Oklahoma.
MovieMaker Magazine has named Gray’s Digital Cinema Program at OCCC as one of the top 40 film schools in America and Canada. Gray turned Oklahoma into a Land of Opportunity for filmmakers and was recognized for this by his induction into Oklahoma’s Hall of Fame.
As one speaker as his funeral services put it, Gray was “roots and wings.”
He gave the film industry roots here as never before and then filmmakers just took the opportunities he helped give them and that became the wind beneath their wings in whatever form that took — features, documentaries, television, commercials.
The service ended with 3 Scottish bagpipe players echoing “Highland Cathedral” off the walls of a packed church and packed with many young folks, our next generation of filmmakers.
Gray was the Johnny Appleseed of film in Oklahoma and we are all part of his extended family.
Detailed Past Accomplishments
Just recently, Academy Award-winning producer Gray Frederickson, who won an Oscar as Co-Producer of The Godfather Part II and received an Academy Award nomination for his work as Co-Producer of Apocalypse Now, has won an Emmy for producing "Dream No Little Dream, The Life and Times of Robert S. Kerr". Mr. Frederickson had been working as president of a motion picture production company, Graymark Productions Inc. (GRMK), publicly traded on NASDAQ, until it merged with a health care company, Graymark Healthcare (GRMH), in the spring of 2008.
The first five projects of Graymark Productions, produced by Frederickson were Cloud 9 starring Burt Reynolds, The Hunt, a sci-fi horror film, Surveillance, a thriller starring Armand Assante, Soul's Midnight, a vampire tale, and Fingerprints, a supernatural thriller which was based on a well known urban legend. Gray and Graymark also produced the Oklahoma Centennial Documentary, Dream No Little Dream, The Legend of Robert S. Kerr. Gray also recently produced the drama, Ivory, about life in a music conservatory, starring Martin Landau.
Prior to forming Graymark, Frederickson produced My Five Wives starring Rodney Dangerfield and Andrew Dice Clay and also South of Heaven, West of Hell starring Dwight Yoakam, Vince Vaughn, Billy Bob Thornton, and Bridget Fonda. Frederickson also was Executive Producer of Heaven's Prisoners, starring Alec Baldwin, which was released by a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Frederickson later attended the University of Lausanne in Switzerland before moving to Rome, Italy. There he served as Production Manager and Producer on a variety of Italian films such as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly starring Clint Eastwood, and Candy, starring Marlon Brando and Richard Burton. Frederickson then moved to Hollywood where he was Associate Producer on Little Fauss and Big Halsy starring Robert Redford, and Twentieth Century Fox's Making It. He was also the Executive Producer of the Paramount Film Hit, directed by Sidney Furie.
Frederickson began a 20-year association with Francis Ford Coppola as the Associate Producer on the Academy Award-winning The Godfather. He also Produced One From the Heart and The Outsiders while a part of Coppola's famed Zoetrope Studios. He was Co-Producer on the Academy Award-nominated The Godfather Part III. He also was Executive Producer of Orion's UHF starring Weird Al Yankovic, and was Executive Producer of Ladybugs for Paramount, starring Rodney Dangerfield.
Frederickson has been Vice President in Charge of Feature Film Production at Lorimar. He also wrote the original story for the Twentieth Century Fox film Bad Girls, directed by Jonathan Kaplan and starring Andie MacDowell, Drew Barrymore, and Madeline Stowe. For television, Frederickson has produced the ABC television pilot Thunder Guys; Mickey Spillane's The Return of Mike Hammer, and the Columbia Television Series Houston Knights. He also developed and Executive Produced Staying Afloat, starring Larry Hagman, for Tri-Star Television and NBC.
Frederickson has the honor of having three of his films listed on The American Film Institute's top 100 films.
Gray Frederickson is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Academy of Television Art and Sciences, The Directors Guild of America, and the Screen Actors Guild.