Pardis Parker is what we like to refer to around here as a hyphenate. He's not satisfied with any one thing. He's a comedian, writer and film director, and an actor, in his own shorts and in other work. He's a current Toronto resident, with regular visits to Los Angeles (an agent is pushing him toward American TV), but he still returns to his hometown of Halifax on a regular basis, most recently to shoot The Dance, a sweet little film about an awkward office romance that played at the Atlantic Film Festival and at festivals across the country, also featuring Evany Rosen of Picnicface. He's recently had a guest role on Little Mosque on the Prairie and in Rohan Fernando's feature film Snow.
Growing up in Lower Sackville, Parker says he was inspired to comedy and performance by shows such as Just For Laughs, which he'd tape and watch repeatedly. One time he even managed to convince his grade six teacher to show a tape of Jeremy Hotz and Harland Williams JFL performances to the entire class.
"I remember being really excited by the fact that I was sharing something I loved with the entire class, and that, in that moment, we were all brought together, laughing as one big group," explains the Sri Lankan-born Parker in an email. "It sounds simple, but I think it was a formative moment for me---seeing how something as simple as comedy could unite a group that so insisted on being divided."
Parker's multiple award-winning short films include Implants and Two Men, Two Cows, Two Guns, which juggle comic absurdity, while Afghan tells a story of active and ugly racism responded to with thoughtful humour. The diversity in subject matter and approach are intentional: Parker is using the experiences to work up to directing features.
"I feel as if these small little films are the most meaningful training I can receive as both a writer and director."
His next short project is for Bravo and will be in the style of a Bollywood musical. "I have a strong desire to do shorts that give me experience with martial arts, action thrillers and horror," he writes, "but there's a pretty good chance that the Bollywood script will be the last proper short film I do."
And with exposure and success comes change. Parker anticipates a more permanent move is coming soon, though he's been cast in a few Canadian shows of late that have kept him in Toronto.
But given his recent appearances at the Atlantic Film Festival and shooting projects in Halifax, we're sure he'll be back. And while he's away, he provides a great example for what our homeboys and girls can do.