Exclusive Interview: Stephen King Simmons (The Parker Sessions)
THE PARKER SESSIONS (2021) has recently been released by BayView Entertainment and is now available on Blu-ray (Region FREE). What can viewers expect from seeing the film?
I can’t tell you how excited we are about the release. Finally, our dysfunctional Parker has found a home.
This film is a wild and bloody ride with twists and haunting u-turns. For some viewers, this film might be considered too disturbing or triggering.
The subject matter has to deal with trauma, panic attacks, night terrors and a downward spiral of depression. All fun things in life that hit close to home. The Parker Sessions is a reflection of that high anxiety….it’s a waking nightmare.
You will never guess the ending. If you do, I’ll buy you a shot and a beer.
THE PARKER SESSIONS (2021) has achieved great success on the film festival circuit. Which of the awards are you most proud of and which festivals do you have fond memories of?
Our first acceptance letter from FrightFest gave me tears of joy. That was my “Harvard” submission. They are top tier, top notch.
Rachell Sean receiving best actress award at FilmQuest was a proud moment. Much deserved. She put a lot into that character and killed it. Pun intended. FilmQuest is very pro.
The Macabre Faire Film Festival was a huge surprise. We won best screenplay, best sound design and best feature. It was completely unexpected. I met some kool kats along the way and the CBD edibles out there are wild.
The Portland Film Festival was in this beautiful historic theater. They really take the time to make you feel comfortable. The Q&A was full house and it’s Portland. So, party hardy Marty.
HorrorHound takes their time with each artist and they really care about indie horror. We were the only film in HorrorHound history to have 4 x screenings within a year. We love HorrorHound.
The Arizona Underground Film Festival was a lot of fun…..so much fun….I don’t remember much. The craft beer on tap is fantastic at that theater. And free.
How do you tackle projects with very tight timelines or challenging locations?
I buy a pack of yellow American Spirits. When those are gone, I buy another pack…
Keeping a cool head under stressful times is a must. Time really is money. On tight timelines, you can’t move shoots or deadlines. Or those deadlines will eat you and your wallet alive. Same with the crew. They will straight up turn cannibalistic on your ass.
What would you say is your dream project that you have created or perhaps is still waiting to happen?
My third horror project is called “Teddy, the Devil and I”. It’s set in Hell. That would need a bigger budget.
In the near future, it’s my lifelong goal to make a rom-com. Something very witty, romantic and tugs on the heart strings.
How do you work with actors to create the best performances?
Rehearse. Rehearse. Rehearse.
Acting out the scenes with the actors.
Filming 1 to 30 takes until it feels believable. If we think it doesn’t feel believable then the audience isn’t gonna buy it.
What does a typical day look like for a film director?
On set- 12-16 hour production days. First one to arrive, last one to leave. 24/7 controlled chaos, risk of having a stroke at any minute and running on little or no sleep. When you aren’t on set, you still get bombarded with calls and texts until wrap.
Off set- Spicy thai and authentic mexican food for days. Sleeping in. Quality time with my lovebug and my furry son. My favorite thing to do is have a good old fashioned board game night with friends. My favorite board game right now is Camp Grizzly with the Campgrounds expansion sets. Wine, lots of red wine, quality food and edibles.
Did you use any special effects in the film and if so, how did you create them (eg physical effects, CGI, a combination)?
CGI makes my eyes bleed so I try to avoid it at all costs.
Practical effects all the way baby. Real sets, props and monsters.
What would you do differently if you could go back and do it again?
Have better catering.
Made sure the A/C was working during the office scenes.
Didn’t film a bloodbath in my house…..three separate times.
Physical media will still be around for a long time and for quite a few people this is their preferred medium to watch content. Of course now with the ever growing amount of streaming platforms there is now even more content for people to watch, so much choice and so little time. How do you as a filmmaker make it so your project stands out from the rest?
Trust your audience with the material. If you speak from a sincere place, you will find other people who can relate.
Marketing materials should match the content. Always try to strive for originality.
Finally, what projects do you have coming up?
Lead Belly is my sophomore horror feature. It’s a film dedicated to my late brother Justin Simmons. The synopsis is a coming of age horror film about two younger brothers who visit their recently divorced dad on a summer vacation. It’s in the same universe as The Parker Sessions. A new nightmare set in 1994.
We just wrapped two weeks ago and I’m in the middle of editing and sound design. It will be about a 6-8 month process.
It’s gonna be a very dark film with lots of heart. Can’t wait to tour with it through the festival circuit and share it with you all in 2024-2025.
Interview by Peter ‘Witchfinder‘ Hopkins
The Parker Sessions is out now on Blu-ray (Region Free) in the USA from BayView Entertainment.
Available to order on Blu-ray (Region FREE) now at:
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