Category: Documentary

I Can’t Go to School Today Wins a BAFTA Children’s Award

I Can’t Go To School Today (BBC Learning, 2016) has won a BAFTA Children’s Awards in the category Learning – Primary. The ceremony was held at the Roundhouse, London, on Sunday 20 November.

I Can’t Go To School Today is a series of animated documentaries for BBC exploring the experiences of children living with different illnesses and conditions. Using the testimonies of six young people, Mosaic Films worked with animators to tell their story visually.

Each of these films tells of the experiences of a young person whose life is markedly different from their peers, and who have all taken time off school because of their illness.

The series is available on BBC Bitesize.

Directed and Produced by: Andy Glynne
Animation Directors: Nandita Jain & Salvador Maldonado
Music and Sound Design: Alexander Parsons

‘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

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

Stream the whole soundtrack for Grayson Perry’s Dream House

I’m delighted to announce that the whole Grayson Perry’s Dream House soundtrack will be available to stream from the 20th-27th May, in advance of it’s general release.

“It’s like Grand Designs on acid.” The Times
“Fascinating television. Be amazed.” The Observer
“Grayson Perry’s Dream House was a very lovely thing…completely charming.” The Independent

Grayson Perry’s Dream House charts the creation of Grayson’s riskiest and most personal public artwork of his career: a loving tribute and celebration of his homeland of Essex inspired by his life and the people he grew up amongst. This is his tribute to Essex Women in all their glory and a powerful challenge to the reductive myth of the ‘Essex Girl.’

It is also Grayson’s biggest project to date, a creative collaboration with Charles Holland of FAT Architecture, that also involves a team of engineers, builders and crafts people. It’s taken three years to build and has involved hundreds of man-hours.

Broadcaster: Channel 4
Production Company: Swan Films
Produced and Directed by Neil Crombie
Filmed and Edited by Marcus Plowright
Music Composed by Alexander Parsons