- Associated Press - Saturday, April 12, 2014

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) - As the April 18 national theatrical and on-demand debut of his movie “Proxy” approaches Richmond filmmaker Zack Parker is thankful for the hometown support he receives.

“I really appreciate how over the years the community has come to support the movies,” Parker told the Palladium-Item (https://pinews.co/1lTQ4lX ). “With (films) ‘Scalene’ and ‘Proxy,’ we felt embraced by the community.”

Businesses, individuals and the city of Richmond made locations available and offered assistance during the 2012 summer filming of “Proxy.” Parker said it is that cooperation that makes it possible for an independent filmmaker like him to bring his ideas to life.

“The Internet has made the world smaller and technology has made making movies that much easier,” Parker said. “But what’s even more difficult is letting people know your film even exists.”

Throughout the years, Parker has used Richmond as the backdrop for his increasingly bigger and better films and his movies have gained more notice. Last September, “Proxy” made its premiere in the Vangard section of the Toronto International Film Festival.

That exposure led IFC Midnight to purchase the film’s distribution rights. IFC Midnight is a sister label to IFC Films and Sundance Selects. It is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.

“Toronto gave it value and legitimacy that you can’t just buy,” Parker said.

Since then, “Proxy,” often accompanied by Parker, has appeared at film festivals across America and in France, Spain, Scotland, Denmark and Argentina.

Parker said film-goers seem to either love or hate “Proxy.” The film focuses on a pregnant woman, who loses her child during a vicious attack by a hooded assailant, and a friend she makes at a support group for grieving mothers.

“Each city and each culture gets something different out of it. The reactions are slightly or dramatically different. It’s always the same movie but the perception of it changes by audience,” he said.

“Something I really like to do is experiment with story structure … going against audience expectations and some people don’t like that,” Parker said. “I like when a movie surprises me. I want to see things that are new to me and I want to make things people have never seen before.”

On April 18, “Proxy” opens in U.S. theaters and through on-demand companies. Parker plans to attend the April 18 film opening in New York City, where he and cast members will appear at a question-and-answer session at the IFC Center. Then, Parker and the group will travel to Los Angeles for another showing and question-and-answer session in Hollywood.

Parker is using the successful momentum of “Proxy” to arrange business meetings in Los Angeles to get his next movie off the ground. “This is the time to be raising the money and putting the next one together,” he said. “This is what I’ve been working for nearly 20 years now.

“I kept thinking if I continued to make the films I wanted to make the way I wanted to make them, then one day someone would take notice.”

Parker and Kevin Donner of Richmond, who co-wrote “Proxy,” have another script ready for film. Parker wants to see it made before he directs a film written by someone else.

He returns to Indiana for the April 25 debut of “Proxy” at the IMAX Theater at the Indiana State Museum. “Proxy” is slated to play there April 25-26 and May 2-3. Its run at the IMAX will be extended if there is good attendance. At this time, Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio, are the closest locations to Richmond where the film is scheduled to appear.

“I’m excited for my friends and family and colleagues and peers to see the movie and see it in the movie theater the way it should be,” Parker said.

As he promotes the film nationally and around the world, Parker said he is most often asked, “What is life like in Richmond, Ind.?” There is great interest in the fact that he lives in Indiana and makes movies here, he said, citing a recent interview with the New York Times. The Times’ “Proxy” review is slated to print April 18 and the feature article on Parker to print April 20.

“The business of film will always be firmly based in L.A.,” he said, “But you can make them anywhere.”

Being a Hoosier filmmaker has helped Parker stand out, he said. “They say, ‘You’re that guy that makes movies in Indiana.’”

The work-and-stay-at-home dad said his daughter - the oldest of his three children ages 8, 5 and 4 - asked why he was traveling so much while “Proxy” was on the film festival circuit. “So you can go to college one day,” he replied.

Parker said the logistics of caring for young children has meant that he has had to skip some of the “Proxy” events. He also acknowledges that he couldn’t be the father and filmmaker that he is without his wife, Laura.

“My wife has just been unbelievably supportive and patient,” Parker said.



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