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Terlton Streaming Premiere: Q&A Sterlin Harjo


“Terlton” is a story about the power of community. In the summer of 1985, a small town in Oklahoma suffered an unimaginable tragedy; one-fourth of their community was killed in an explosion at Aerlex Corp, a local fireworks factory. After their incredible loss, the small town faced hardships challenging its future. This documentary explores the town's resilience, mingles with unforgettable characters and is an explosive memorial of life and love in the face of adversity.

From the director of “Mekko” and “This May Be the Last Time,” Sundance alum, Sterlin Harjo, teams up with celebrated visual artist Jeremy Charles and storytellers from their home state, Oklahoma, to tell a unique story from small town America. Our very own Bobby Dean Orcutt was a producer on this project and the soundtrack also includes Grammy nominated artist John Fullbright, and Oklahoma’s John Calvin Abney, and Jacob Tovar. All three of which will do a special live stream leading up to the showing of the film. Jacob Tovar will be streaming in HD at the dive bar, courtesy of Jake Flint on June 30 at 7PM CST and John Fullbright on July 2 at 7PM CST. You can catch John Calvin Abney on Wednesday night, July 1 at 7PM. All shows will be streaming on our Facebook and YouTube.


John Calvin Abney

Five Questions and Answers with Director Sterlin Harjo


This Bar Sucks: The film features a soundtrack composed of Oklahoma singer/songwriters. What is it about these artists and how they relate to the subjects explored, that compelled you to feature their music? 


Harjo: Their music is born out of this country and I believe brings something to the story. It fits naturally, and they’re some of my favorite artists. Just made sense.


This Bar Sucks: What are your thoughts on the impact music has on the culture in Oklahoma as it relates to dealing with hardship and adversity?

Harjo: Music is how we deal with tragedy and hardship. I’ve made more than one film about that relationship. You can take everything away from a person, but you can’t take song away

This Bar Sucks: What are some of the themes of the film and how do they relate to what people might be experiencing today?

Harjo: Well, it’s about looking tragedy in the face and coming together as a community to face it. We are stronger together. That’s where we need to be now

This Bar Sucks: What's your favorite firework way to spend the 4th of July holiday? What does the holiday mean to you as an individual?


Harjo: Honestly, I’m the type of person that avoids insane crowds. I usually do something small with family or watch Independence Day with the family. I think the holiday is a little complicated for a Native person. The more you learn about the founding of this country, the less you believe the lies. That said, I do believe in community, and my time spent with the people of Terlton was very memorable. I can get behind their celebration. It’s the best fireworks display I’ve seen. And for half the price. Really great people. I wanted to make the film because of the people. Not necessarily fireworks

This Bar Sucks: From the dust bowl and Woody Guthrie to the events documented in this film, Oklahomans have shown again and again that no matter what happens, there is always a reason to sing and celebrate. Why do you think that is?


Harjo: Because we are a multi-cultural state. And all the cultures that came here struggled to get here. Rich assholes excluded. All those cultures believed in song-- 


Sterlin Harjo | Photo Courtesy of Ryan Redcorn

Learn more about Sterlin Harjo Here.

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