Wandering through the CBC TV building on Bell Road, one wonders how the staff find their way to and from their desks. The place is a rough approximation of an MC Escher illustration, staircases going off in different directions, split levels and corridors.
Somewhere in there, last week, writer/director/actor/comedian Pardis Parker shot his most recent short film, The Dancer, a silent film---no dialogue is spoken---about an awkward office romance, starring Parker as the love-lorn lead and Evany Rosen as his object of desire.
Parker is working with some of the best crew to be found in Halifax, including renowned director of photography Chris Porter and camera operator Alastair Meux, as well as costume designer Anna Gilkerson of DeuxFM and MakeNew fame.
Parker is a busy guy behind the camera. His award-magnet short Afghan is still garnering attention on the US film festival circuit---“It keeps on going,” he says. “People really connect with it.”---and a video he shot for Halifax band MIR, What Goes Around Comes Around took home the jury award for Best Music Video at the recent Rincon International Film Festival in Puerto Rico.
That would be a full-enough slate for some, but the Lower Sackville native also has a burgeoning career as a performer. He splits his time between Toronto and Los Angeles---though, interestingly, keeps a New York cell number---and his agent is trying to get him work on American TV.
“It’s what people are pushing the most,” he says. “My management down in LA represents me across the board. Their biggest push is to get me down there, acting. I just tested for a CBS pilot, the Michael Chiklis one. This is produced by Conan O’Brien and Warner. I didn’t get it, but they brought me down. I tested for the studio, I tested for the network.
“The reason I bring this up is because that’s what they want me to be doing.”
And how does Parker feel about that?
“I only agree to go down whenever I can pitch as well," he says. "If I go down to audition for something, I set up meetings with production companies and studios to pitch a film, to pitch a series.”
Doing work in hometown Halifax still fuels Parker’s creative mojo. “This was something that as soon as the CBC said they wanted to be involved that opened the door to everything else. I enjoy shooting here, I have relationships. It’s awesome to work with these people....and the work I do up here helps me elsewhere.”
Evany Rosen has appeared in one of Parker’s shorts before, Scott Vrooman was in the MIR music video and Mark Little was in Afghan. The fact Parker is also a stand-up comic is less the reason he uses Picnicface members in his work, but it’s more to do with the fact they all get along.“We’re all friends,” says Parker. “If they’re available, great, come on down. They’re a talented group of people.”
Another short is on deck, inspired by Bollywood musicals, which Bravo is helping to fund. “We need to shoot it in Toronto because the number of people we need, Halifax cannot provide. But it’s not as easy to shoot there, I don’t know people there. It’s much more expensive to shoot there. We’re trying to see what we can do with it.”