John Parr

Grammy nominated singer songwriter John Parr has had two U.S. number one hits "Naughty Naughty" and "St Elmo's Fire ( Man in Motion)". He has written and performed title tracks and music for 15 Hollywood movies including "Three Men and a Baby", Schwarzenegger’s "The Running Man" , “Near Dark". The Oscar winning “Spider-Man into the Spiderverse” and “Deadpool” and has sold over 10,000,000 albums worldwide. John's recent album "The Mission" is inspired by the sacrifices of our service men and women and their families with proceeds going to military charities to aid their rehabilitation as they make the difficult transition back into civilian life.

John is an Ambassador for the USO of America, USA Cares and Military Families and has worked extensively with Help For Heroes and UNICEF. On the campaign to raise awareness for the military cause,, John and his production manager Hedley Taylor travelled 35,000 miles by road in the first 7 weeks of an 18 month tour of America. “St Elmo's Fire ( Man in Motion)" was written by John and David Foster as an anthem for wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen. Rick had been recently disabled and during his recovery dreamed of wheeling his chair around the globe to raise funds and awareness for spinal research. His incredible journey began in May 1985, wheeling 50 miles a day for two years two months and two days…. 25,000 miles circumnavigating the globe, Well…the rest is history…. Rick’s dream finally became a reality and his epic journey had raised $275,000,000 for spinal research and built I cord, the world’s leading spinal research facility, where a few people with the same injuries suffered by Rick were able to walk again.

Director Statement
From the moment we decided to make “Unconquered” I was on my honor Not just to Dot and Dave, but to those whose every day is a battle to shed the chains of impediment

The face off before the brutal rugby game.

It has been the driving force for half my life. I cannot count the blessings I have received whilst striving to bring light to those less fortunate. Telling the truth of Dot and Dave’s story haunted me. These were elite, battle hardened soldiers, part of a brotherhood that few may enter. They honoured me with their stories and from then I had to weave a concise memoir that captured the whole 360 in just twenty four minutes. Even as shooting began I felt I was not getting to the heart of their story. It was early days but I was still an outsider walking on eggshells. As the shoot progressed they began to trust me, at least a little. It was the second day, we were sharing a soup in that freezing hanger and I went for it….. “How deep can I go?” Dot and Dave were puzzled…”How much of the dark stuff can I tell?” They just gave me the thousand yard stare . . . and said “ Go for it!”

unnamed 1png
Dave “A man prepares scene”

unnamed 2png
Dot “laying down the law”

Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
Unconquered is the true story of two elite soldiers who were severely injured, both mentally and
physically in the line of duty and how they findtheir way out of the darkness, battling their demons to rise again through the love of family and their passion . . . Sport.

What are your ambitions with your project?

There are really two answers . . To raise funds and bring light to disablement in all its forms through these two men’s inspiring story. Secondly, to see our film really succeed as an entertainment and as a vision of hope and direction. A nice sentence I agree but I mean it!

Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?

Using the actual soldiers to play themselves was immensely challenging for us all. Asking them to relive their darkest moments whilst always keeping that special kind of locker room banter seemed an impossible task. I had a clear vision of how the scenes would play but when the two soldiers delivered - it threw me. The authenticity they brought far outweighed their complete innocence of acting. My reward was a realism that was not by design.

unnamed 6png
The toughest scene to capture . . . Dialogue heavy and our two soldiers were far from their comfort zone.

For what group of spectators is your film targeted?
The banter of soldiers is usually pretty fruity so we kept the language believable but kid friendly. I
wanted to make it accessible for all. As dark as it is at times our film is uplifting and inspiring and vitally truthful. . I believe our film watched with an open mind and all bias left at the door, Unconquered will touch the hardest heart.

unnamed 7png
3am in the North Sea in March

Why should distributors buy your film?
Shorts are a tough sell, not just business wise but also from an audience perspective. That being
said, with 24/7 Accessibility to content and the ways in which the audience now views it, I believe the short just might have a brighter future. Clearly it has to make money, but I think the really successful folk in the movie business long to be around shows that give people something that will live on long after the final credits. Or am I just a hopeful romantic . .

How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
My aim in film and music has always been to entertain - to do. a bit of good and to inspire. I want
folks to look beyond their own lot and not be limited by their circumstance.

unnamed 8png
Dave on the Battle Ropes

unnamed 9png
Dot . . “HIGHER!!!”

Why did you decided to become a filmmaker?
As a little kid I always saw things cinematically, I was writing and producing plays in primary school and trying to bring filmic qualities to them, as childish as they were. In my music I always saw the visual in my minds eye. I wanted to deliver truth and goodness and all the dark stuff that the hero must overcome. Through film we can capture the entire human experience and cause people to change and inspire them to keep on keeping on.

Who is your role model?

Mohammad Ali, Red Rum, Churchill, Einstein, Stevie Wonder, Secretariat, Aretha, Lennon and Mc-
Cartney, Hendrix. Need I go on!

Which movies are your favorites? Why?

Wonderful Life…its perfect. “Braveheart” . . still leaves me unable to speak.

Where do you look for inspiration for your films?

In life the extraordinary things a human being or nature is capable of never ceases to amaze me.
Heroism is on every street if you really look. I can never understand writers block. I live my life without my armour on. It’s painful at times but I highly recommend it.

Which topics interest you the most?

I want to be entertained. I want to have an involuntary reaction that I can’t control, no intellect involved ,just raw power. In the right hands any topic can deliver this. We need more of this please. Don’t keep going back to the well. Dont keep milking the tired old cow. Break out and be bold . Be innovative., if you build it , they will come.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?

unnamed 10png
David Foster, Rick Hansen. . . .and me

In music it would have to be St Elmo’s fire (Man in Motion).David Foster and I wrote the song for the movie but the lyric was entirely about Rick Hansen, a relatively unknown guy with a dream. He was just setting out to try and circumnavigate the globe in his wheelchair. This was the “Man in Motion” campaign to raise funds and awareness of spinal chord injury.. .

As film makers we all believe in our scripts and films , those little acorns that are often crushed underfoot 
along with our impossible dreams. To date the “ Man in Motion” campaign has raised over $275,000,000 and built Icord, the world’s leading spinal research facility. So…I have lived to see our little acorn became a mighty oak . . .and so I begin again with my new little acorn and recognise the same hurdles and challenges we overcame back then, only the names change. . .
I see “Unconquered” carrying the baton and continuing the dream to, bring focus and hope to all who are challenged with disablement both mentally and physically and similarly any income generated by “Unconquered” will go directly to the Hoplite Fund. They say God loves a tryer . . .

What do you consider most important about filming?

Planning is everything. Developing the script as much as possible before shooting begins ( it only
costs your time.) Although we didn’t story board Unconquered, every scene was written in the smallest detail from blocking to the envisaged final colour and mood. But sometimes nature plays a hand…in the huge Hanger we shooting in, a panel fell from the doors and a shaft of sunlight seared through the darkness. Luke Wade ,our cinematographer, grabbed a camera and snapped these amazing shots…sometimes you do get lucky. . .

unnamed 11png
Dave lit by an accidental shaft of sunlight

unnamed 12png
The last 30 seconds of that magical sunbeam.

unnamed 13png
PREPARATION. The Battlefield scene prep took 6 weeks. It was shot in 90 minutes.

Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?
I don’t believe there is just one way to go. Capturing the moment, . . .the magic is what we were always trying to achieve. Working with non actors was very challenging at times, but when we captured that moment, be it dramatic or action it was an instant yes!. Shoot from the gut.

How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?

There are some incredible technical movies out there, revolutionary techniques and styles but ultimately content is all. I am trying to create something that will touch people, getting that involuntary physical and emotional reaction that Intellect cannot control. A great crane shot can be a wow but I never saw one that gave me goosebumps.

What can disappoint you in a movie?

I can be loving a film and then a few bad lines or a brief weak performances just switches me off.
Extra’s often ruin it for me when they are just too over the top and no matter how well structured a big action scene, one or two Ham extras can kill the moment.

Who supports you in your film career?

It has been a very lonely path both in music and film. In my life I have been blessed by a handful of memorable moments …. That moment when someone who I greatly admire has said something to me that has sustained me for a lifetime. It could be just a sentence or sometimes just a brief acknowledgement but in the dark times those words have enabled me to put one foot in front of the other and enable me continue the endless battle.

What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film critics, friends and family).
I always remember Mel Gibson saying he wanted people to be unable to talk at end of Braveheart.
Hand on heart I have had a lot of that with Unconquered. At first the uneasy silence worried me but when emotions had subsided and they either wiped their eyes or just poured out all the good stuff I was able to breath again. You always have to entertain, even when you are trying to deliver a heavy message, it opens those vital places you are aiming for . . . the head, heart and groin.

Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
I am in virgin territory here. This is all brand new to me, and what an education it is.

What are your future plans in filmmaking career.

unnamed 4png

I want to be a film director. I want to see the images I’ve lived with so long up on screen and hear the 
words delivered truthfully. As a songwriter and recording artiste I have continually tried to reach the bar set by my heroes. Likewise I have loved films boy to man and been moved beyond words by those rare diamonds that have shaped the thinking of generations and live forever in the hearts and minds of us all. It’s is a blessing.. the one complete art. I believe cinema is the last cathedral.