Author: alexparsons

‘Music For Heroes’
Alexander Talks American High School in Broadcast Now

In this article for Broadcast Magazine, I write about ‘Music for Heroes’ and stories behind my latest score for the BBC3 documentary Series American High School.

Myself and Marcus Plowright (Producer/Director) were asked to write this double page spread featured in the 11th November, 2016 issue in print, also available online for subscribers.

Download a PDF here

 

It was as hugely collaborative process

 

American High School follows a charismatic principal and his students over the course of one school year and through their eyes we witness life-changing moments. In the US, life chances for students who graduate high school are often starkly different to those who don’t, a disparity even more marked for African-American pupils.

With the odds often stacked against them we follow the class of 2016 over this, their make-or-break year.

We experience their highs and their lows as they prepare for life after high school. We meet Ivy League hopefuls, male cheerleaders and young mothers on a tough journey into adulthood. This is school as you’ve never seen it before and a unique insight into how it really feels to be young and black in America today.

In the first episode, new principal Dr Peters arrives on a mission to improve grades and discipline, but a mass brawl and the threat of further violence gives him a swift reality check.

Meanwhile, high-achieving pupil Jalena begins college applications, but with college fees costing more than a house, will she even be able to afford to go? Male cheerleader Vernon, and star football player Kordel, each prepare for the big Friday night football game. Can a win for the school help to get Dr Peters’ ambitions back on track?

 

Producer/Director: Marcus Plowright
Executive Producers: Joe Evans and Neil Crombie
Production Company: Swan Films
Composer: Alexander Parsons

American High School – Guardian Review

Thank you to Julia Raeside for the fantastic reveiw of American High School: Straight Outta Orangeburg. Read the review in full here

 

Alexander Parsons’ impressive score, mixing tinges of the music the kids listen to with his own emotive arrangements. Six episodes of hope, just when it’s needed.

 

American High School follows a charismatic principal and his students over the course of one school year and through their eyes we witness life-changing moments. In the US, life chances for students who graduate high school are often starkly different to those who don’t, a disparity even more marked for African-American pupils.

With the odds often stacked against them we follow the class of 2016 over this, their make-or-break year.

We experience their highs and their lows as they prepare for life after high school. We meet Ivy League hopefuls, male cheerleaders and young mothers on a tough journey into adulthood. This is school as you’ve never seen it before and a unique insight into how it really feels to be young and black in America today.

In the first episode, new principal Dr Peters arrives on a mission to improve grades and discipline, but a mass brawl and the threat of further violence gives him a swift reality check.

Meanwhile, high-achieving pupil Jalena begins college applications, but with college fees costing more than a house, will she even be able to afford to go? Male cheerleader Vernon, and star football player Kordel, each prepare for the big Friday night football game. Can a win for the school help to get Dr Peters’ ambitions back on track?

Producer/Director: Marcus Plowright
Executive Producers: Joe Evans and Neil Crombie
Production Company: Swan Films
Composer: Alexander Parsons

Pussy Riot: Refugees In
In collaboration with BretonLabs and Ten Ven

I was invited to collaborate with good friends BretonLABS and Ten Ven for the composition of this song for Feminist protest group Pussy Riot. In their latest video, they head to Dismaland, issuing a “F— the police” message to terrorism and refugee crises.

“Destroy piece by piece this conservative disease,” the women sing in “Refugees In” while running through Banksy’s amusement park. Pussy Riot hopes to urge Europe to keep its borders open to thousands of refugees who are in search of an escape from heavily ISIS-populated areas.

 

We are planning to release a lot of disturbing videos next year. We hope that you will not like them. Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova

 

Ralf Schmerberg directed the video, which also features police invading Dismaland and caging the Pussy Riot members. The group is working on new music in anticipation of affecting change in Europe and the U.S. “We are planning to release a lot of disturbing videos next year,” Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova said in a release. “We hope that you will not like them.”

 

Pussy Riot wants fans to say yes to inclusive thinking, multiculturalism, and freedom from abuse and inequality, and reject nationalism, xenophobia, and militarism.

 

Music: Pussy Riot, BretonLABS, Ten Ven, Alexander Parsons
Cinematography: Ralf Schmerberg

 

Junction 2 Festival – After Show Video

I was invited to Junction 2 Festival, to record and produce the sound design for their latest after show video. I then spoke with Ticket Tannoy about it. Here’s the result…

 


 

Muslim Drag Queens
Swan Films | Channel 4

Muslim Drag Queens, from director Marcus Plowright allows unprecedented insight into the clandestine gay Asian or ‘Gaysian’ community in the UK which provides a haven for young men who are unable to publically reconcile their sexuality with their cultural identity and traditions. Homosexuality is widely deemed to be forbidden within Islam and the exhibitionist nature of drag remains one of the ultimate taboos for many British Asians – forcing the entire scene underground. This sensitively-made film focusses on the stories of three of the 100-150 Muslim Drag Queens who face the seemingly insurmountable challenge of gaining acceptance and tolerance within their own wider communities.

 

“There is a whole community that is living in Britain which is hidden. Now is the time to come out. You’ve got to be big. You’ve got to be bold. And you’ve got to have balls of steel.” Asif Quaraishi /Asifa Lahore

 

Commissioning Editor David Brindley says: “This is an incredibly important, surprising and moving film. Those who have chosen to tell their stories have done so with immense bravery and speak so eloquently about the struggles they have faced. With piercing honesty, Muslim Drag Queens gets right to the heart of a community that has up until now remained hidden from the wider British public.”
Produced and Directed by Marcus Plowright
Executive Producers: Neil Cromboe and Joe Evans
Composer: Alexander Parsons
Production Company: Swan Films