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Press Release

February 10, 2014

Contact: Kim Moyer
Office: 405-605-2003
Cell: 405-249-6070

OKPOP Museum Begins Production on a New Documentary Series

First OKPOP+Films documentary will focus on the life and legacy of Bob Wills

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The Oklahoma Historical Society's Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture (OKPOP) announces its upcoming OKPOP+Films documentary series, which will examine Oklahoma stories from the world of popular culture and the influence of those stories on today's entertainers. The series will begin by exploring the life and legacy of the King of Western Swing, Bob Wills, with the documentary "Still the King: Bob Wills. The Man. The Music."

The project will showcase hundreds of photographs, artifacts, audio recordings and film clips from the Bob Wills Estate that were presented to the Oklahoma Historical Society to be part of the permanent collections at the OKPOP.

The OKPOP staff will be working with documentarians Kevin Meyer and Chris Turner to create a film that tells the story of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys with interviews from people influenced by his music. "The Historical Society is already creating the content for the OKPOP Museum. Beyond collecting and preserving the photographs, documents and artifacts, we need to share these stories with the world," said Jeff Moore, project director for the OKPOP Museum. "A first-rate documentary allows us to share these stories with new audiences."

To jumpstart the fundraising for the project, Meyer and Turner have launched a crowdfunding page on the popular A&E-sponsored site RocketHub. This gives Oklahomans and music lovers around the world the opportunity to help and participate in the documentary. Over the next three months, the duo hopes to raise $250,000 to cover the expenses. The RocketHub page, which launched on Feb. 9 with a May 6 end date, can be found at www.okpop.org. The documentaries and footage will be housed in the OKPOP museum and incorporated into the final interactive exhibits.

"We are using the same business plan that we used when the Oklahoma Historical Society created the Oklahoma History Center in 2005," added Moore. "State funding paid for the construction of the building and the OHS has been able to successfully fund all of the exhibits, collections care, and educational programming through private fundraising efforts. A crowdsourcing campaign allows us to involve a broader base of supporters for the project and the OKPOP."

"'Still the King’ will explore Bob Wills' influence in music today," Meyer said. "And because this film will ultimately be housed in a museum setting, it will be available for countless generations to view. It's an important musical legacy and we need to carry that forward."

Meyer lists such artists as Carrie Underwood, Merle Haggard and Toby Keith as those inspired by Wills' music.

Moore said the team chose Wills as the first subject of the OKPOP+Film series not only because of his strong influence on today’s music but also because of his compelling background and history. 2014 marks the 80th anniversary of Bob Wills’ move to Tulsa. "He overcame amazing odds to become one of the most popular fiddle players in the world," Meyer said. "He played by ear and didn't stop until he knew the music was right. His music flourished during the Great Depression and World War II, giving hope to millions of people who found refuge in the music."

Production is just beginning on "Still the King," with plans for a Leon Russell documentary already in the works.

Pending approval from the Oklahoma Legislature, the OKPOP Museum could open as early as 2018. When constructed, the OKPOP will be a 75,000-square-foot, four-story building dedicated to the creative spirit of Oklahoma's people and the influence of Oklahoma artists on popular culture around the world.

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