Interview with

Ronnel Ricardo Parham

Director/Writer/Producer/Star of

Ronnel Ricardo Parham

What was the inspiration behind making this short film?

I immediately drew inspiration to make this film for 2 distinct reasons. Reason 1 being epidemic we’re facing in regards to police using excessive violence and killing unarmed black males at a rate far higher than any other ethnic group. Reason 2 being that this story is based on a true story. All of the characters and their story lines are true and I believed this would add another level of realism to this film by creating characters and storylines that are true to their actual lives. The main character Samuel Taft, played by Troy Parham, is based essentially from Troy’s life. Troy is a Septa Police Officer in Philadelphia who’s had first hand accounts of the many things spoken about in the film. Howard Taft, played by Trevor Parham, Troy’s twin brother, is also an ex-cop who’s witnessed excessive force among his fellow colleagues. Smith Taft, played by Ronnel Ricardo Parham, is the nephew of the two and is very progressive and wants to see real change in police departments. All of the characters are related in real life and we tried to create very similar storylines to what is happening in our own lives.

Was there any particular challenges you had to go through to make the short film happen?

The main challenge was shooting during COVID-19. We shot this film last winter before any of the vaccines were available. We took standard precautions and welcomed any and all cast and crew to get tested before shooting, but it was still a struggle shooting with the pandemic still raging on through the country. Another challenge we faced making this film was deciding how “real” we wanted to be with this film. At the beginning of the film, we show actual footage of a fatal encounter of a black man and two police officers. We made sure not to choose any clips that were too graphic, but then again, we wanted to show the audience from the beginning of the film just how serious this issue is. Everyone is aware of this issue, whether they agree if it’s excessive force or not, they’re still aware of these events. We didn’t want to be over aggressive with showing these instances but wanted to definitely include something. Which is why we decided to give a standard warning at the beginning of the film about the content in which they were about to see.

How has the short film been received?

The film has been received well overall. It took a little while at first, but now the film is consistently picking up official selections/nominations and wins. The subject matter is very touchy. Not everyone wants to address and talk about this issue. Some people don’t understand this issue as it doesn’t relate to them or anyone they know. But I believe it’s a film in which everyone should take the time to watch. I believe in this film we tried to show the two sides of the coin. The perspective from an actual police officer and the perspective of 2 civilians, one who used to be a cop as well. This film certainly isn’t for everyone, but for those that relate or are empathetic to this issue, I believe they’ll receive this film very well.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

We are developing our first feature film and are also redeveloping a short form series to submit to the Daytime Emmy’s next year. That show is called ‘Odd Man Out: The Series’, which has currently won 20 Awards with 16 Nominations and is on a number of streaming platforms!

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their first short film?

Preparation and Execute. Come up with an idea, flush out the character’s storylines, flush out the overall story, and then shoot! Don’t be overly concerned with making “the perfect film.” Just make a film that’s truest to you and/or the other creators/producers/writers. Making short films and getting better at them is a process. The more you do it, the more you’ll learn and the better you’ll become at it. Always try and offer all of your crew and actors some kind of paid compensation. From experience, people bring a different level of intensity and commitment when they know they’re getting paid to do what they love doing. But overall, just keep shooting. You’ll continuously get better and better and things will begin to come second nature to you. Now go get em!

Recently Featured

Interview with

Ronnel Ricardo Parham

Director/Writer/Producer/Star of

Ronnel Ricardo Parham

What was the inspiration behind making this short film?

I immediately drew inspiration to make this film for 2 distinct reasons. Reason 1 being epidemic we’re facing in regards to police using excessive violence and killing unarmed black males at a rate far higher than any other ethnic group. Reason 2 being that this story is based on a true story. All of the characters and their story lines are true and I believed this would add another level of realism to this film by creating characters and storylines that are true to their actual lives. The main character Samuel Taft, played by Troy Parham, is based essentially from Troy’s life. Troy is a Septa Police Officer in Philadelphia who’s had first hand accounts of the many things spoken about in the film. Howard Taft, played by Trevor Parham, Troy’s twin brother, is also an ex-cop who’s witnessed excessive force among his fellow colleagues. Smith Taft, played by Ronnel Ricardo Parham, is the nephew of the two and is very progressive and wants to see real change in police departments. All of the characters are related in real life and we tried to create very similar storylines to what is happening in our own lives.

Was there any particular challenges you had to go through to make the short film happen?

The main challenge was shooting during COVID-19. We shot this film last winter before any of the vaccines were available. We took standard precautions and welcomed any and all cast and crew to get tested before shooting, but it was still a struggle shooting with the pandemic still raging on through the country. Another challenge we faced making this film was deciding how “real” we wanted to be with this film. At the beginning of the film, we show actual footage of a fatal encounter of a black man and two police officers. We made sure not to choose any clips that were too graphic, but then again, we wanted to show the audience from the beginning of the film just how serious this issue is. Everyone is aware of this issue, whether they agree if it’s excessive force or not, they’re still aware of these events. We didn’t want to be over aggressive with showing these instances but wanted to definitely include something. Which is why we decided to give a standard warning at the beginning of the film about the content in which they were about to see.

How has the short film been received?

The film has been received well overall. It took a little while at first, but now the film is consistently picking up official selections/nominations and wins. The subject matter is very touchy. Not everyone wants to address and talk about this issue. Some people don’t understand this issue as it doesn’t relate to them or anyone they know. But I believe it’s a film in which everyone should take the time to watch. I believe in this film we tried to show the two sides of the coin. The perspective from an actual police officer and the perspective of 2 civilians, one who used to be a cop as well. This film certainly isn’t for everyone, but for those that relate or are empathetic to this issue, I believe they’ll receive this film very well.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

We are developing our first feature film and are also redeveloping a short form series to submit to the Daytime Emmy’s next year. That show is called ‘Odd Man Out: The Series’, which has currently won 20 Awards with 16 Nominations and is on a number of streaming platforms!

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their first short film?

Preparation and Execute. Come up with an idea, flush out the character’s storylines, flush out the overall story, and then shoot! Don’t be overly concerned with making “the perfect film.” Just make a film that’s truest to you and/or the other creators/producers/writers. Making short films and getting better at them is a process. The more you do it, the more you’ll learn and the better you’ll become at it. Always try and offer all of your crew and actors some kind of paid compensation. From experience, people bring a different level of intensity and commitment when they know they’re getting paid to do what they love doing. But overall, just keep shooting. You’ll continuously get better and better and things will begin to come second nature to you. Now go get em!

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