Nov. 03--When Somerville resident Jeffrey Parker directed his first serious short film in July, he had high hopes.
Parker, 35, said he dreamed of showing the movie at various film festivals around the state and seeing people enjoy his retro-inspired horror flick. But he never dreamed he would get a red carpet premiere, complete with stars of Hollywood horror releases.
"It's just been really cool to see just how much people are embracing this thing," Parker said.
The 20-minute short film debuted at the Fear Fete Film Festival on Oct. 17 at the Mary O'Keefe Cultural Center in Ocean Springs, Miss., just days after Parker finished final edits.
Parker said the cast of his film, "Red Rose," appeared, as well as J. LaRose from "Insidious," Lar Park-Lincoln from "Friday the 13th Part VII" and Robert Haddy from the second season of Syfy's Face Off series.
The film also was a focus of a Shorts HD Direct TV episode that aired Halloween night detailing the Fear Fete festival.
"We've just had a ton of big things happen," he said.
Fear Fete's operations director Thomas Wills said he asked Parker to debut the film at the festival because the premise intrigued him.
"The thing that stood out about it was it was a psycho-thriller," he said. "And you don't see a lot of that. (Parker) was telling me he didn't want to go the route of the slasher or the paranormal. He wanted to make something that was more real. And that's what it is."
Wills said hundreds of people attended the premiere, and the reaction was very positive. "They absolutely loved it," he said.
Parker said the film is available to watch online at redrosefilm.com until Nov. 5 in a virtual theater for $3.50 per viewing and those interested can find a trailer for the movie on its Facebook page, redrosethemovie.
He said he is in talks with Carmike theaters in Huntsville and Decatur for special showings and has accepted invitations to more film festivals, but already has his eyes on bigger things.
"There's definitely a huge back story that people who have seen the film keep asking about, and it definitely sets up for a sequel," Parker said. "This movie is essentially the perfect pitch for a full-length feature. And that's our plan.
"I'd like to build a franchise off of it."
Parker said if he can't find a backer after promoting the film for a while, he intends to try to "crowdfund" a full-length "Red Rose" release through kickstarter.com, a website that allows users to pledge money to fund creative works from independent artists.
"We're really just on the eve of getting this movie out there to the masses," he said.
Wills said Parker's vision of a blockbuster-style "Red Rose" feature could come true. The film "most definitely" has commercial appeal, he said.
"I'd love to see Jeffrey make a full feature out of this," he said. "To see more detail about the background of the villain and a little more detail on the background of the family would be really interesting. There's this whole very Southern, mysterious feel to it ... it has great potential."
And, Wills said, Parker has the means to make it happen.
"He's really passionate about it," he said. "And, ultimately, that's what it takes to make it in the film industry."
Cody Muzio can be reached at 256-340-2443 or email@example.com.
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