WOODWARD, Okla. — Filmmakers Chris Cartor and Nathan Holliday can both still remember the early drones they saw for sale at kiosks in the mall—hard to fly, easy to crash.

Chris recalls, “I go to grab one to try to fly and immediately crash it.”

They came first to video and film, and later added drone piloting to their storytelling toolboxes.

“It was really just that I thought drones would be a cool addition to what I do,” he continues.

Holliday adds, “To see the world from all these unique perspectives is pretty incredible.”

But even they found it hard to keep up with the often-dizzying array of applications and exploding level of technology.

Carter laughs, “It really did kind of fly right over the top of us.”

“We’re still finding uses for drones that you never really think of,” says Nathan.

It’s been a couple of years since they both got the idea for a meeting of minds and aircraft in Woodward, a drone film and photography festival with a gathering of different drone pilots and businesses who could all ‘fly’ in.

Carter points out, “There aren’t a lot of festivals that incorporate drone technology and the creative side as well.”

One weekend in late summer the Woodward Conference Center is truly abuzz with imagery, races, light shows and experts.

“It’s every day that we’re finding something new,” states Holliday.

It’s often windy in this part of northwest Oklahoma, but not on the day we’re there.

The skies remain clear and calm, the weather perfect for taking to the air like a bird, and viewing this little part of the world in a way people only used to dream about.


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Now that it’s possible, we can only imagine where drones are going to take us.

The 3rd annual Thunderbird Drone Festival is scheduled for August 25th and 26th, 2023.

For more information go to the festival website here.