On Feb. 19, I attended night two of the Young Professionals event “The Big Dam Film Festival.” The film festival was held at The State Room, and it was fantastic. The selections that evening were a variety of short films. There was a little bit of everything in the featured shorts, from dramatic to comedic, the night was very entertaining. My personal favorite of the evening was called “Afghan,” by Pardis Parker. The quick wit and creativity of the main characters kept the audience laughing but all the while “Afghan,” took an honest look at racism and xenophobia, and the harm it can cause.
In the end the majority of the crowd agreed with my selection because “Afghan,” won the People’s Choice Award. The career of Pardis Parker is moving quickly with many new projects in the works, but the self described performer and creator took some time to answer a few questions about his career thus far.
How would you describe your career?
A series of baby steps.
What kind of background do you have with film-making?
None. Afghan was the first film I ever made and I learned about filmmaking while making the film.
Where do you draw your influences for your work?
I honestly don’t know. I watch everything Hollywood puts out. Certainly there are filmmakers that I admire more than others — Aronofsky, Mendes, Nolan, Boyle. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good Michael Bay film.
What in your life made you want to make films? At what point did you realize performing, writing, and film- making was your calling?
I’ve wanted to make films since probably junior high, but culturally it was something that was discouraged until I dove in and made something on my own that actually found a little success. That sort of opened the door for me to escape the criticism I would have been receiving otherwise.
“Afghan” was recently selected as the People’s Choice at the Big Dam Film Festival, among numerous other awards at different festivals. What do you think makes it so appealing; what do you attribute to its success?
I don’t know. My suspicion is that most people find it appealing simply because it’s an honest film. I don’t know. You tell me.
What projects do you have on the horizon?
I’ve got this Bollywood short that I’m shooting for Bravo and a romantic comedy with no dialogue that I’m shooting for CBC, plus I’ve got an animated TV series that I’m developing with a production company in LA and a feature comedy that I’m pitching around. Busy busy.
Please finish this sentence: If I was not creating and performing I would be-
Depressed and frustrated that I couldn’t find happiness or meaning in whatever else I was doing.
a. Acidic: Lemon
b. Renegade: Lorenzo Lamas
c. Yack: Yak
d. Pious: Priest
e. Scallops: White
f. Minuet: French
What are your five desert island films?
That’s tough. It’s always changing. “Cast Away,” “The Matrix,” “The Assassination of Jesse James” by the Coward Robert Ford, “There Will Be Blood,” and “Michael Clayton.” That’s a good start.
You are handed a phone and get to call your 16-year-old self. You get 15 seconds on the line, what do you say? GO!
Do what you want to do.
To find out more about Pardis, or watch more of his videos visit www.pardisparker.com.