Entertainment

Unusual animal stars in director’s short film

Victoria director Alison Parker will finally get the chance to watch one of her movies on the big screen in Canada as The Magic Ferret showcases at the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival in Nanaimo next month.   - Photo Contributed
Victoria director Alison Parker will finally get the chance to watch one of her movies on the big screen in Canada as The Magic Ferret showcases at the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival in Nanaimo next month.
— image credit: Photo Contributed

Usually magicians pull rabbits out of hats.

However, that’s not the case in Alison Parker’s newest short film The Magic Ferret.

The Magic Ferret is about a young boy named Sam, who finds himself in an orphanage and dreams of being a magician.

“Sam has big dreams and aspirations of being a famous magician one day and the ferret is part of his act,” Parker said. “Basically instead of pulling a rabbit from a hat, Sam pulls a ferret out of a hat and that is his little gimmick and he uses that to impress potential parents at the orphanage that are considering adopting him.”

The Magic Ferret was directed by Parker and will be screened at the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival in Nanaimo next month. The film stars Fred Ewanuick, Jacob Tremblay, Lisa Durupt, Beverley Elliott and Falcor the Ferret, Parker’s personal pet.

The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival will be the first time that the Canadian director has ever been able to see one of her own movies on the big screen in Canada.

“This gives me the opportunity to call up all my friends and family and tell them to come see my film on the big screen in Nanaimo,” Parker said.

Written by Scott and Paula Merrow, The Magic Ferret was originally intended to have a rabbit instead of a ferret.

“The script was written a few years ago and had already won some awards but it had just never been made,” Parker said. “I read it and thought this would be really easy to change the rabbit into a ferret ... I think that makes the kid more endearing because he is in this poor orphanage, he has no parents and he doesn’t even have a rabbit. He has a ferret, which is sort of this unknown animal.”

The Magic Ferret also features music by Selena Gomez and Canadian singer Cat Thomson. Parker said that having music by Gomez is important because it attracts attention.

“Everyone knows who Selena Gomez is,” Parker said. “That’s definitely one of the first things I mention and it gives us a lot of credibility.”

Parker was born in Victoria and wanted to become a music producer, but fell in love with the film industry. Her previous work as a director includes Jake and Jasper: A Ferret Tale, which won Best Short Film at the Nevada Film Festival and the Gold Remi Award at the Houston International Film Festival.

Parker has relied heavily on crowd sourcing and the Internet to raise the money needed to fund her projects.

“I would have no movies under my belt if it wasn’t for crowd funding,” she said. “I am no good at networking and I am not really that great face to face, I’m kind of shy.”

She said being able to take to the Internet has allowed her to reach out to a wide range of people, including loyal ferret owners.

“The films have actually quite a bit of a following because there are no films out there being made that feature a ferret in prominent roles in positive ways, but there are millions of ferret owners around the world,” she said. “So they are just clamouring for the next ferret film, whether it is 10 minutes or 20 minutes, they want it.”

Parker is already working on her next ferret-based film.

“I also have Christmas film I want to do called ‘Santa’s Little Ferret’, which we are going to start fundraising for,” she said.

For more information on the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival, please visit www.visff.com.

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