Producer & Co-Founder Filmmakers Ranch
In Oklahoma's cinematic tapestry, Melodie (Mel) stands as a dynamic force, far exceeding the role of an ordinary film industry supporter. Her backstory reads like a screenplay itself—daring rescues, leaping from helicopters to save downed pilots during her USAF tenure (honestly, her escapades could fill a whole movie!). But armed with degrees in biology and business, her transformation from civil engineer and medic into a champion of cinematic dreams is the stuff legends are made of.
Mel's film story starts with the historic Paramount Pictures Building on Film Row—a relic once a Midwest corner stone as the bustling distribution hub for Paramount Pictures, radiating with stories from the 1920s to the mid-1950s. Long overlooked, Mel set about returning the iconic build to is former hayday with the goal of providing a sanctuary for budding filmmakers to weave their low-budget masterpieces.
Mel didn’t limit herself to renovating a building. She had her sights set on the future, playing a pivotal role as one of the original visionaries propelling Oklahoma's burgeoning film industry forward. She went beyond opening doors; she curated whirlwind tours for the Lt. Governor and Oklahoma legislators in other film-friendly states. Her aim? Showcasing the immense potential to diversify Oklahoma's revenue streams, generate employment, and quite literally put Oklahoma on the map (for those struggling to pinpoint us—we're right above Texas, by the way).
Partnering with Richard and Amy Janes she was instrumental in the birthing of Filmmakers Ranch and the Film Crew Institute (FCI), where over 500 aspiring minds were sculpted into 'Set Ready' experts, mastering the nuances of set etiquette and paperwork.
Amidst this cinematic whirlwind, Mel's heart beats for causes beyond the silver screen. A relentless advocate for prison reform, equity, and child advocacy, she deeply engages in local charities and leads vital fundraising efforts. Despite officially retiring in 2023, her schedule doesn’t reflect it. You'll still find her wandering the halls of Filmmakers Ranch, rallying donors for crucial community work, and delving into the production of her own film on the Tulsa Race Massacre—a story long overlooked in American history. Driven by a profound calling, she teamed up with Nate Parker, the writer, director, and star of "Birth of a Nation," to ensure this pivotal tale reaches the screen. Her legacy extends far beyond films; she's crafting narratives that echo through history, illuminating forgotten chapters for generations to come.
That's Melodie—she's not just saving history; she's etching her mark, crafting a vibrant Oklahoma tapestry where filmmakers of all stripes find their voice and dreams come alive.
AT WORK AND PLAY
(These images maybe used for editorial purposes with credit to the appropriate photographer)