Conflicting Ideas: Killers of the Flower Moon in Light of Oklahoma H.B. 1775

Molly Martinez

The purpose of Oklahoma House Bill 1775 is to deter the teaching of Critical Race Theory or other social concepts by regulating what can be discussed in public school classrooms.[1] The Bill frames this regulation by focusing on the possible feelings of guilt and discomfort that are elicited through these teachings.[2] The penalties for violations of the Oklahoma House Bill 1775 include withholding state funding from schools or revoking teaching certificates for educators who engage in prohibited teaching practices.[3] Ultimately, the bill leaves discretion to the Oklahoma State Department of Education to decide how to implement and enforce this policy. Oklahoma House Bill 1775 was not created in a vacuum, but in the context of a greater national debate about diversity, equity, and inclusion teachings.

This bill created a prime example of the tensions of encouraging the production of indigenous stories while also prohibiting them from being shared in school.[4] What adds an extra layer of intrigue to "Killers of the Flower Moon" and its relationship to the Oklahoma House Bill 1775 is the role played by Oklahoma's film rebate programs.[5] Oklahoma has increasingly become a sought-after destination for filmmakers, and its robust incentive programs are a major draw. Through the “Filmed in Oklahoma Act of 2021,” qualifying productions can receive a cash rebate of up to 37% on labor, goods and services related to filming in Oklahoma.[6] “Killers of the Flower Moon” is the largest film production in the state’s history. The film qualified for incentives under a previous iteration of the rebate program called the “Compete with Canada Act.” That program was launched in 2001 as the state’s first film incentive; the program was recently capped at $8 million annually.[7] While this program will end in 2024, the Filmed in Oklahoma Act will continue to provide tax incentives.[8]

This bill is common practice, as almost every state offers some sort of film rebate program: $12 million in Utah, $120 million in New Mexico, and $150 million in Louisiana.[9] Georgia does not have a cap on its rebate film programs at all. Film rebate programs take a number of different forms through various tax credits or grants.[10] There is debate about whether the amount of the programs actually affect whether these filmmakers decide to proceed with production in the state.

As states move forward with programs that encourage the production of the arts, there should be conversations about how these works will be displayed or whether they will be censored by new policies targeted at subjects adjacent to racism or other parts of history.


[1] H.B. 775, 58th Leg., First Sess. (Okla. 2021).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Carmen Forman, 'Killers of the Flower Moon' Has Oklahoma Lawmakers Hoping for Film Incentive Discussion, The Oklahoman (Oct. 18, 2023), [] [].

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Production Incentives for Film & TV: Interactive Map, Media Services (last visited Dec. 29, 2023), [] [].

[10] Id.