Closing Thoughts: Russ Kirkpatrick


As one half of Abby The Pug Pictures, Russ Kirkpatrick has worked with his partner, Andy Kinslow, on documentaries with topics ranging from the history of Tulsa to the lives of at-risk women. The two recently received a Heartland Emmy for Boomtown: An American Journey, a documentary produced in conjunction with the Tulsa Historical Society, and are currently working on Susan’s Story, which documents the life of a woman diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal degeneration. As Oklahoma’s film scene continues to expand and grow, we sat down with Russ Kirkpatrick and got his thoughts on …

… how Kirkpatrick & Kinslow Films started making documentaries.

We started making nonprofit short films for organizations in need of direct/specific messaging to increase awareness for their organization, ultimately leading to better fundraising. A natural fit was providing corporate training videos. One of our first short projects, turned into the feature length documentary Boomtown: An American Journey.

… his favorite projects.

Boomtown: An American Journey was an incredible journey into Tulsa’s past. It was a unique filming experience not only because of the content but because of what the Oklahoma-based film crew brought creatively to the project. The nonprofit project My Best Friend Julie was insightful into the challenges many women face in Oklahoma and the corporate film for Rustic Cuff/KKT Architects provides a view into how amazing spaces are designed.

… how Kirkpatrick & Kinslow became involved with Boomtown.

Boomtown: An American Journey started as a small promotional film called Voices of History designed to showcase a third-grade curriculum from Tulsa Historical Society & Museum. Once filming started, we realized pretty quickly it could be much more, and the idea of Boomtown was born.

… Tulsa’s recent interest in filmmaking.

Thanks to help from Abby Kurin at the Tulsa Office of Film, Music, Arts & Culture, Tava Sofsky at the Oklahoma Film Commission, Tulsa’s Circle Cinema and film festivals like deadCenter and Tulsa Overground, the film business is seeing a dramatic resurgence in the state.

… future projects for the production company.

We are headed to post-production with a documentary featuring the humor and advocacy of a woman diagnosed before age 50 with younger onset Alzheimer’s, and later with FTD (frontotemporal degeneration.) The film looks at how the diseases impact relationships, finances and end-of-life conversations. We are collaborating with Tulsa Historical Society & Museum on a follow-up to Boomtown; we are in development on a documentary focused on the impact of the stunning female incarceration rate in Oklahoma, and we are working with a screenwriter on script rewrites for a feature length horror film.