By Andrew J Parker
If you were to ask me three years ago whether I could see myself and Anthony as independent filmmakers with more than 100 selections and numerous awards, I would probably have said there was no chance in hell, but here we are and it’s been an interesting experience so far
It was March 2019 when we decided to take a step into the acting industry, it was something I personally had thought about before but had never made that decision in taking the next step as the idea of a different career choice was still a top priority, and just like twins, we had the same dreams. However, as time went on and that dream started to become harder and harder to turn into reality, it was time to take into consideration whether to just accept our place as members of the lowest class in the British social hierarchy, blue-collar workers, working-class joes, good-for-nothings with no chance in hell, and just give up pursuing something better. We had that option or we could re-think and make another choice, a new path so to speak, and that is when taking a look into acting came rising to the surface once again and it really just went from there.
It’s not like I was expecting everything to really come of it but decided to look at several agencies including Universal Extra as well a website known as STARNOW to see what possibilities there were out there for someone who hasn’t exactly dedicated his life to this profession by learning the craft at an acting academy or theatre school. I hadn’t looked into taking any acting classes and wasn’t really interested in seeking out the skills needed to potentially become a proper actor in a tv series or main star in a movie, I was just interested in maybe doing some extra work, walk-on spots, maybe a small time role or two, nothing big.
Over the next few months, I landed small parts in some independent short films and a couple of TV/Netflix shows, and besides filming in the Manchester area or heading to cities such as Leeds, Liverpool, London, I also went places I wouldn’t otherwise have considered; places such as Chester, Dordon, Middleton Mine, Rotherham, Polesworth, and Yoxall. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though as there were several productions that unfortunately I failed to get to because of various problems so I could have been in more than I was, but that’s how it goes sometimes. Now I’m not going to name what it is I have been lucky to be in or those I was not lucky enough to get to but what I will say is this, seeing first-hand how camera crews work and directors go around doing their thing, how actors behave on and offset, and how makeup and costume departments function. it really was an eye-opener in many ways and is probably the thing which got myself and Anthony (who had also taken up acting) to think that maybe we too could put together a short film, maybe we could venture into that side and see if it would be a good road to take as a long-term option.
Comical Death (2019)
During the autumn of 2019, we began putting together an idea to produce our first short film; a silent comedy style zombie short from St Joseph Cemetery in Moston, Manchester. As I have said during a review in a prior edition, this film saw several cast and crew problems but we still managed to put it together on a low budget and with a small cast of Natalija Chavina, Mo Sofian, Laura Knight, Fern Tolley, Ben Clarke, and Daniel Maude. The short was completed just after Halloween and has since gone on to gain selection at festivals in the UK, USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, Russia, Portugal, Singapore, and India; winning several awards including the Smartphone Short at the Chhatrapti Shivaji international film festival, Best Editing and Mobile Film Silver Awards at Virgin Spring Cinefest, Critics Choice at Tagore International Film Festival, Mobile Film Award at World Film Carnival – Singapore, and Best Script at Vesuvius International Monthly Film Fest.
As a first time filmmaker at the time, I have to say that Comical Death really did prove a useful learning curb and its success since is definitely something we are proud of.
It wasn’t the only thing we were focusing on however as we began working on a story idea and casting for another short film that would be filmed in Blackley Forest, Manchester whilst also wrapping up another that had been done for the purpose of talking about the industry.
An experimental four-minute non-vocal short not of the usual styling, with thunderous music, action, and a tale to tell; Tribulatio (2020) was filmed in January just days into the New Year and was shot entirely in Blackley Forest with Holly Rowlinson, Chelsey Emery, Stacey McGuire, and Connor Hanley. Tribulatio and its secret message has since featured in a couple of festivals and picked up an Outstanding Achievement Award at the Tagore International Film Festival.
The Inside Talk (2020)
A 70 minutes film in which experienced actors talk about their careers and their experiences in the industry, and offers some quality advice to anyone who is interested in becoming an actor. Inside Talk was done mainly through the advantages of self-video and collaboration in that the people involved took time out of their schedules to answer various questions for the purpose of this film, which at the time was going straight onto social media platforms in three parts.
The casting and receiving of footage actually took place during the fall of 2019 and the piecing together of everything was completed in January 2020 and soon made its way onto YouTube and other social media platforms to a highly positive response and healthy viewership.
Cast: David Nash, Kat Leroy, Chris Sivewright, Will Bergman, Katherine Harold, Mugzy, Kenny Svensson, Angelica Roseabell.
In March 2021, it was decided that we would modify and piece the film together as one and remove it from social media in order to move in the direction of international film festivals. A decision that has proved a good decision as at the time of writing, Inside Talk (2021) has gained 19 official selections in twelve countries including USA, UK, Czech Republic, Sweden, Italy, Canada, India, and Singapore; and picked up the Best Doc Silver Award at Virgin Spring Cinefest, Critics Choice & Outstanding Achievement at Tagore International, Special Jury Award at Indo French International, Honorable Mention at Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival, and Outstanding Achievement Award at Druk International Film Festival.
And whilst it may now be July 2021, meaning this film is now eighteen months old, something’s telling me that The Inside Talk’s international tour isn’t over just yet ….
It wasn’t the only one though to hit the festival market in 2021 despite the ongoing China Coronavirus pandemic that struck the world in 2020 and shut down the filming industry. For the fun of it more than anything remotely serious and as a way to past time, we put together a short still picture film in January, called Weetabix (2021), starring three cats by the names of Weetabix, Snarly, Greedy, and playing to experimental music as still pictures ran across the screen. Since then, Weetabix has gone and won Special Jury Awards at both Port Blair International and Uruvatti International Film Festivals
On a more serious note, however, we started the year by working on two twenty-minute short films; the first one being 2OLEGEND.
A documentary short on the football career of Manchester United legend and current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and details his time at the football club including his best goals, his most important moments and of course, his unforgettable winner in the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
This film doesn’t go into his managerial career or his return to the Theatre of Dreams as a manager in 2018, that is a working project that will be coming out at a later date. What this does however is demonstrate the impact and legacy of one of football’s most deadliest strikers and explain as to why the ‘Baby-faced Assassin’ is a true legend with a place cemented in history. If you pay attention, you will also notice short cameo appearances by us truly, sorry but we just couldn’t resist.
The film was recently written about by Anthony in a review for a Cut Frame Magazine and has enjoyed an awful lot of success on the festival scene since its release in early March; being selected by 37 festivals in 14 countries including the UK, USA, Japan, Sweden, India, Singapore, Germany, Canada, and Greece. Such is the success, 2OLEGEND is currently out in front among our projects, picking up 19 awards/achievements among which includes the Best Documentary Silver Award at Virgin Spring Cinefest, Critics Choice at World Film Carnival – Singapore, Outstanding Achievement for Best Editing and Documentary at Tagore International, Best Doc at Golden Sparrow International, 3rd Best Short Doc at 1st Monthly Film Festival, Best Director at Toronto Monthly Awards, Best Doc at Black Swan International and was featuring on the Direct Monthly Online website throughout April – winning best documentary of the month.
Britain Injustice (2021)
The second serious short we completed this year is probably more on the controversial side as Britain Injustice takes on a bit of a political issue with it involving footage of Floyd, BLM movement, and scenes that might be distressing to others. There is also mention of social injustice incidences of the past, anti-lockdown and environmental protests, and cancel culture attacks on British history. We also decided that it could achieve a well-rounded effect if there were to be an inclusion of some people talking about their own experiences of injustice and voicing their opinion on the current movement and the idea of celebrity involvement.
Cast: John A. Jones (narration), Robbie Stedman, Dochas Madojutimi, Eric Ebirim, Sarah Zannath
Released at the end of March on filmfreeway.com (same with our other films), Britain Injustice has since landed 30 official selections from festivals around the world including the USA, UK, India, Canada, Singapore, Japan and Germany. Not only that, it has collected nine awards so far, including but not limited to Best Experimental International at AltFF Alternative Film Festival, Outstanding Achievement Awards at World Film Carnival – Singapore and Tagore International, Audience Choice and Honorable Mention at Mokkho, and Critics Choice at Golden Leaf International. Not only that but it was aired on Direct Monthly Online during June, and is set to be on FlickFair this summer.
Now one must ask, who would have guessed that an experimental, slightly controversial, the short film would result in a not too shabby number of selections and awards?. Well, I was hoping as the lead man behind this project but that’s neither here nor there.
As we look back at the past two years, one can say that it has been an interesting journey into filmmaking and although the past year and a half has been tough due to the Coronavirus, we have managed to keep ourselves busy like so many others in the industry by choosing to do what some might consider to be flash-by films considering the contents involved.
However, there is no regret as the success we currently enjoyed cannot truly be described for it has been of a height which we never expected, even for its level, as we achieved triple digits in official selections and an impressive amount of awards despite being limited by a low budget and small to no cast.
Now though with everything returning to some form of normal, it is safe to say that we can begin looking forward to getting back out there and seeing what the future might bring
And what does the future hold for the Parker Brothers?.
Right now we are working on documentary-style films which may be viewed as slightly controversial when considering the contents which they contain. The first (working title; MAGA 45) will feature the four-year reign of America’s 45th President, Donald Trump, from the very moment he declared he was running for office, right through to his farewell speech, and everything in between from the border wall construction, his “America First” policies, record employment and flourishing economy, Democrats response, impeachment hoax, Russia collusion scam, 2016 presidential election, Inauguration day protests. it will miss absolutely nothing and is filled with footage from American news networks, Trump speeches, the House, Senators going to war, the riots of 2020, and America’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak. The latter (title; America 46) will focus on the controversial opening six months of Joe Biden and include opinions from several individuals on topics including but not limited to the 2020 election, Biden Border Crisis, attacks on the Constitution and voting rights, immigration, rising inflation, his coronavirus response, and the ultimate question of what is to come under this President.
After that, we are planning an educational film on aspects of American history and another short film in Manchester before going over to Mexico to produce a feature-length film, which I first wrote back during the summer of 2019 (working title; Dark Days) and which I am still immensely proud of right now and have no doubt in its potential to be a success.
After that, one can’t say but sure can dream of even brighter days ahead