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Promoting the Maritime Film Industry Takes Drive and Passion – Jordan Parker

2021 could turn out to be very great for the film industry in the Maritimes and perhaps the busiest in years, due to relatively low COVID-19 cases in the region. This will be especially true of Nova Scotia where the screen industry continues to have positive impact on lives - economically, culturally, and socially. According to Screen Nova Scotia, the industry now employs more than 2000, contributes over $180 million to the local economy, and generates economic spin-offs that benefit a diverse group of people and businesses across the province. Central to the growth of this industry is the role of public relations in bringing awareness to productions and creating interest in films by distributors, film festivals, moviegoers, and other social influencers.

Meet Jordan Parker, founder, and CEO of Parker PR, a full-service agency which specializes in bringing the work and talent of film and entertainment industry professionals of the Maritimes provinces to the forefront, offering everything from media relations to press releases, outreach, and publicity. He is also a member and on the board of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Maritime Chapter where he volunteers as the Director of Communications and Newsletter.

Jordan’s love affair with moving pictures started at the age of one. “I hid in my father's coat in a darkened cinema, as the roar of the title character in Beauty & The Beast evoked a bone-chilling terror within me” he says. It wouldn't be the first time a film on-screen elicited strong emotions within him. He’s fallen in love, cried, laughed, and been entirely mesmerized by film his entire life, and considers the multiplex a second home.

It should come as no surprise, then, that he ended up working in the industry starting with a myriad of roles for Empire Theatres and Cineplex, working as a journalist at the Moncton Times & Transcript, The Chronicle Herald, and other papers out west. He also runs a film review website. But as he began Parker PR – his signature film & television publicity firm – in October 2019, he would soon face more than the garden variety new business hurdles. COVID-19 eviscerated his income for eight months, beginning in March of the following year, but one thing always remained: his signature love and championing of the local film industry with enthusiastic aplomb.

His company hit two years in business November 2021, and there's one thing he says he has realized, “I'm meant for the film industry, and the film industry requires the plucky, relentless promotion I provide”.

The power of the entertainment industry in Nova Scotia, and the Maritimes as a whole, is unmatched. The performers are staunch advocates for the province, and the people who live in it and work in film and television do so for a love of the craft, not the money. They'd have to, given the major 2015 changes to the film tax credit that left the sector in disarray.

But the government's doubling of the production incentive fund in this province in June 2021 shows there is finally a resurgence in support that is needed. In June, 61 projects were approved in the province already, among them major productions Chapelwaite, Locke & Key, and the Kevin Kline-Sigourney Weaver festival favourite The Good House.

For Jordan Parker, doing publicity for a creative industry is an entirely different beast, and requires an adoration and love for what you do that is unrivalled. Hear him, “I started my company because I felt a yearning to be a part of the incredible community that is Maritime film, and getting the exposure and attention needed to make local productions soar is unabashedly my primary focus”.

During FIN 2021, red carpets and screenings took a backseat to Public Health – as they should – but there was a celebratory atmosphere missing from the proceedings. Now, more than ever, the glitz and glamour of the industry is absent. But Jordan says he has discovered that those who truly love the work, and those who need the help of a film publicist like Parker PR are more determined than ever to see their dreams come to fruition. “The work is speaking for itself, and if there ever was a time to take an interest in local film, it's now” he says.

COVID-19 hit the entertainment and production industries particularly hard, and the steadfast approach needed to revitalize a vital economic stabilizer is more important than ever. The province put a major, wholly necessary spotlight on buying local to help businesses thrive throughout the pandemic.

If you love movies, Jordan has some advice for you for this coming holiday season, “when you're curled up on your couch for a long winter's day – forego the usual blockbusters and find an indie, the talent, unbridled love for the area, and the things put to screen in this province are magnificent and waiting to be discovered by locals like you”.

Jordan Parker had this conversation with Dan Oshodin, Vice President of Marketing & Communications for IABC Maritime.


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