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From DreamWorks' 'Trolls' to the book of Job, Oklahoma filmmaker Kyle Roberts exploring cinematic possibilities

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LaRonn Marzett will play Eli Foster in Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts' upcoming feature film "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided]
LaRonn Marzett will play Eli Foster in Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts' upcoming feature film "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided]

Whether it’s raising money for a “truth-based” teenage adventure film inspired by a biblical hero or taking DreamWorks’ colorful Trolls into virtual reality, telling Kyle Roberts that something cinematic can’t be done isn’t likely to hold back the Oklahoma City filmmaker.

"I’ve kind of been about ‘let’s show the world what a bunch of Okies are capable of.’ It’s actually a big motivating part for me,” he said.

Before the founder and creative director of Reckless Abandonment Pictures is returning to the deadCenter Film Festival next month with his groundbreaking VR project “Trolls: Stop Motion,” Roberts is launching Tuesday the crowdfunding campaign for “What Rhymes with Reason,” his sophomore feature film, with a benefit event Tuesday at the Tower Theatre.

“Kyle Roberts is one of our most technical and certainly one of our most exciting filmmakers,” said deadCenter Executive Director Lance McDaniel, who is hosting a panel featuring Roberts, two producers and two actors at Tuesday’s “What Rhymes with Reason” kick-off event.

Trailblazing ‘Trolls’

Roberts is returning to deadCenter this year with what’s believed to be the first commercially-made 360-degree stop-motion production. He said DreamWorks, who hired him to create five stop-motion short films featuring Trolls toys, had been told by several companies that mixing VR and stop-motion animation wasn’t possible.

“We did a 10-second test and wrote like our own code,” said Roberts, whose “How Many Poppys Can You Find?” offers a 360-degree view of a child’s bedroom. "We had to come up with our own system."

The Trolls stop-motion VR short will be featured at the 19th annual deadCenter Film Festival, June 6-9 at five locations in downtown Oklahoma City.

“We think it’s important that people here have exposure to the technologies that everyone else is taking about at the Cannes Film Festival and at Sundance,’” McDaniel said. “It’s just great to have some of the most prolific filmmakers working in Oklahoma take a step in that direction.”

‘Truth-based’ film

After five years of focusing on commercial work and short films, Roberts has turned his focus to creating “What Rhymes with Reason,” the follow-up to his superheroic teen drama “The Posthuman Project,” which won Best Oklahoma Film at deadCenter 2014.

“It’s inspired by the book of Job, set in the modern-day high school world. And that’s something that I’ve kind of felt like has been put on my heart since I was about 18,” Roberts said.

He will reunite with “Posthuman Project” actor Collin Place, who will star as a high-schooler mourning a tragedy whose friends convince him to go on an outdoor adventure. Roberts has spent the last three years developing the project, which he considers more a “truth-based” than a traditional faith-based film.

“That means searching for truth by asking difficult questions. ... but we don’t set out to answer any of them or have a message and just grind it down your throat eight times, because I can’t stand that,” he said. “I hate it when filmmakers treat teenagers especially — but really anybody — like they’re stupid. It really drives me crazy. I honestly believe it’s more about the journey more than telling people what to think.”

Oklahoma indie-pop singer-songwriter Brianna Gaither and rapper Jabee are contributing songs to the soundtrack and will perform at Tuesday’s event.

Roberts said he plans to spend the summer raising money to make the film through a combination of investors, grants and crowdfunding efforts, in the hopes of starting production in fall.

“I’m really, really proud of where it’s at,” he said. “It’s going to be special.”

GOING ON

‘What Rhymes with Reason’ benefit show

When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Tower Theatre, 425 NW 23.

Admission: Free but register at www.eventbrite.com.

Information: www.facebook.com/WRWRfilm.

deadCenter Film Festival

When: June 6-9.

Where: Downtown Oklahoma City.

Information: www.deadcenterfilm.org.

Related Photos
<strong>Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts is working on his sophomore feature film, "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided]</strong>

Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts is working on his sophomore feature film, "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-da79183fa724e7e8e6161b8e518f356a.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts is working on his sophomore feature film, "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided] " title=" Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts is working on his sophomore feature film, "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided] "><figcaption> Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts is working on his sophomore feature film, "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-378ccdf77559266b67a988ba74114a5c.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City indie pop singer-songwriter Brianna Gaither is performing at a kick-off event for filmmaker Kyle Roberts' new feature film, "What Rhymes with Reason." She also is providing the emotional ode "Where Were You" to the film's soundtrack [Photo provided] " title=" Oklahoma City indie pop singer-songwriter Brianna Gaither is performing at a kick-off event for filmmaker Kyle Roberts' new feature film, "What Rhymes with Reason." She also is providing the emotional ode "Where Were You" to the film's soundtrack [Photo provided] "><figcaption> Oklahoma City indie pop singer-songwriter Brianna Gaither is performing at a kick-off event for filmmaker Kyle Roberts' new feature film, "What Rhymes with Reason." She also is providing the emotional ode "Where Were You" to the film's soundtrack [Photo provided] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-095c43912ffaa974ceff43b5ed30bd10.jpg" alt="Photo - Collin Place will star as Jesse Brandt in Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts' upcoming feature film "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided] " title=" Collin Place will star as Jesse Brandt in Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts' upcoming feature film "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided] "><figcaption> Collin Place will star as Jesse Brandt in Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts' upcoming feature film "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-7e3f06e0faf7f2e637d2bd681bb04e19.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City rapper Jabee is performing at a kick-off event for filmmaker Kyle Roberts' new feature film, "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided] " title=" Oklahoma City rapper Jabee is performing at a kick-off event for filmmaker Kyle Roberts' new feature film, "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided] "><figcaption> Oklahoma City rapper Jabee is performing at a kick-off event for filmmaker Kyle Roberts' new feature film, "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-61343065e78d10d86f4f990761a13b8d.jpg" alt="Photo - Kyle Roberts attends the at opening night reception of the 2018 deadCenter Film festival at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman Archives] " title=" Kyle Roberts attends the at opening night reception of the 2018 deadCenter Film festival at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman Archives] "><figcaption> Kyle Roberts attends the at opening night reception of the 2018 deadCenter Film festival at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. [Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman Archives] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d529ae26521c852cfa9ae459cab456d3.jpg" alt="Photo - Director Kyle Roberts, right, talks with actor Stephen Goodman in 2017 during filming of Roberts' short film "The Grave" at PhotoArt Studios in Oklahoma City. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman Archives] " title=" Director Kyle Roberts, right, talks with actor Stephen Goodman in 2017 during filming of Roberts' short film "The Grave" at PhotoArt Studios in Oklahoma City. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman Archives] "><figcaption> Director Kyle Roberts, right, talks with actor Stephen Goodman in 2017 during filming of Roberts' short film "The Grave" at PhotoArt Studios in Oklahoma City. [Nate Billings/The Oklahoman Archives] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d104657837aa12fd66bbafc61d27c0e0.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts' virtual reality short film “Trolls: Stop Motion” has been selected for the 2019 deadCenter Film Festival. [Image provided] " title=" Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts' virtual reality short film “Trolls: Stop Motion” has been selected for the 2019 deadCenter Film Festival. [Image provided] "><figcaption> Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts' virtual reality short film “Trolls: Stop Motion” has been selected for the 2019 deadCenter Film Festival. [Image provided] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-19a770cf90ff39b5d4b41bd0cba600d9.jpg" alt="Photo - LaRonn Marzett will play Eli Foster in Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts' upcoming feature film "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided] " title=" LaRonn Marzett will play Eli Foster in Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts' upcoming feature film "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided] "><figcaption> LaRonn Marzett will play Eli Foster in Oklahoma City filmmaker Kyle Roberts' upcoming feature film "What Rhymes with Reason." [Photo provided] </figcaption></figure>
Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1... Read more ›

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