Twisters: Melinda Sue Gordon / Universal Pictures

The Oklahoma Film + Music Office and Universal Filmed Entertainment Group Announce Wrap of Below-The-Line Traineeship on Oklahoma Set of Universal Pictures’ “Twisters”  

Unique to the studio, the Traineeship provided on-set training and mentorship to several Oklahomans to enhance their career opportunities behind the camera on the epic summer event movie, in theaters July 19

The Oklahoma Film + Music Office (OF+MO), a business development unit of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, in conjunction with Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG), announced its partnership on the Universal Below-the-Line Traineeship on the new summer event movie from Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, “Twisters,” which recently wrapped.

The film, directed by Oscar nominee Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”) and starring Golden Globe nominee Daisy Edgar-Jones (“Where the Crawdads Sing”) and Glen Powell (“Top Gun: Maverick”), is a current-day chapter of the 1996 blockbuster “Twister.” “Twisters” arrives in theaters July 19. 

As part of Universal’s overall commitment to increasing access and opportunities within all areas of production “Twisters” featured an Oklahoma traineeship providing individuals who are new to the industry, including those from historically underrepresented backgrounds, on-set experience and mentorship. The OF+MO partnership provided a pipeline across VFX, Production Accounting and Sustainability departments, as well as the Art department, Construction, Costume and Production office in partnership with IATSE Local 484.

“Hands-on training is a crucial element to any career, but particularly in the dynamic field of film production,” said Universal’s President of Physical Production, Jeff LaPlante. “As the demand for experienced crew continues to grow, Universal’s Below-the-Line Traineeship opens doors for a new generation of talent including accountants, prop masters, grips and electricians, VFX technicians and the myriad roles critical to any production. Long-term investment is a key part of the process. We ensure that these trainees not only receive their first credits and mentorship from the leading department heads in the industry, but we support them as they build the lasting professional relationships required to achieve real career momentum.” He continues, “We are so grateful to our production partners at Amblin and Kennedy/Marshall, our director, Lee Isaac Chung, all our Heads of Department, and our incredible partners at OF+MO for supporting our efforts to source and train this amazing up-and-coming talent.”   

Principal photography on “Twisters” first began in Oklahoma City on May 8, 2023. Throughout 60 days of principal photography, “Twisters” engaged with multiple communities statewide, including El Reno, Chickasha, Midwest City, Spencer, Kingfisher, Calumet, Hinton, Fairview, Okarche, Kremlin, Burbank and Pawhuska.

“Oklahoma is the most business-friendly state in the nation, and I’m glad to see that reputation lend itself to our expansive footprint in the film industry,” said Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. “It’s exciting to see projects like this come to Oklahoma and recognize everything our state has to offer.”

“I’ve been coming to Oklahoma City for over 16 years with the Mark Harmon Celebrity Baseball Team, so after the incredible experience we had filming ‘Twister’ in 1995, the decision to make Oklahoma the home to ‘Twisters’ was an easy choice,” said producer Frank Marshall. “Amazing local partners like OF+MO have made this state a leading destination for film and TV production, and we’re thrilled to be here to support and champion the many initiatives leading to growth and development here.” 

In addition to the state’s film program, the production also utilized local film incentives administered by the newly launched Oklahoma City Film & Creative Industries Office (OKCFCIO) as well as certified soundstage infrastructure located in the State’s capitol city, which served as the primary basecamp throughout filming across the State.  

“’Twisters’ is uniquely tied to our history, and Oklahoma City is honored to have welcomed the Universal team to our community for this important project,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt. “On the heels of hosting the inaugural season of ‘Tulsa King,’ the filming of ‘Twisters’ continues the momentum of our city’s film industry. I salute the collaboration between the City of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City Film & Creative Industries Office, Prairie Surf Media and the Oklahoma Film + Music Office.  That collaboration is unique, and it’s one of the primary reasons so many studios are choosing Oklahoma City. We are committed to continuing this work and growing this sector of our economy.”  

“Twisters” is an adrenaline-pumping, seat-gripping, big-screen thrill ride that puts audiences in direct contact with one of nature’s most wondrous – and destructive – forces. The film features an all-star cast, including Daisy Edgar-Jones, Glen Powell, Golden Globe nominee Anthony Ramos (“In the Heights”), Brandon Perea (“Nope”), Sasha Lane (“American Honey”), Daryl McCormack (“Peaky Blinders”), Kiernan Shipka (“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”), Nik Dodani (“Atypical”) and Golden Globe winner Maura Tierney (“Beautiful Boy”).

Chung filmed his Academy-Award-nominated film “Minari” in Oklahoma in 2019. “Twisters” will be distributed by Universal Pictures domestically and by Warner Bros. Pictures internationally.

“Twister” was filmed throughout Oklahoma in 1995, and upon its release the following year, became the second highest grossing film of the year, earning almost $500 million during its worldwide theatrical run. The film’s impact in Oklahoma remains to this day as the Twister Museum in Wakita, Okla., welcomes visitors from across the country to see firsthand how their community was transformed for the previous production, boasting a collection of various props, artifacts and much more. 

“One of the most exciting benefits of having ‘Twisters’ in Oklahoma is film tourism, which will bring sales tax revenue to the state long after the production has wrapped,” said Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell. “The original film generated about $52 million in economic impact. We look forward to the spotlight ‘Twisters’ will shine on Oklahoma as both a film tourism destination and center for weather-related studies.” 

For more information on Oklahoma’s film infrastructure, workforce and other resources, visit okfilmmusic.org

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