Turnage to host film premiere

Published 9:07 pm Thursday, August 14, 2014

Derrick Parker

Derrick Parker


An independent film by a native of Pitt County will be featured at the Turnage Theater this weekend.

Derrick Parker, who is originally from Greenville, comes home to eastern North Carolina to screen his first feature film, “From Faith to Freedom.” The film will premiere Saturday at 7 p.m. and tickets, which cost five dollars, can be purchased at the door, said Beaufort County Arts Council Executive Director Joey Toler.

Parker said he served as a writer, director and producer of the film, which follows the story of a man who is wrongly accused of a crime, unjustly imprisoned and finally, trusting in his faith that materializes into a miracle, freeing him 20 years later. Parker was inspired to write about men serving time in jail for crimes they didn’t commit, most of whom were spending two decades or more imprisoned, he said.

“I was mad and I didn’t want to sit on the sidelines and do nothing, I didn’t want to complain about it, so I used my craft to do something about it,” Parker said. “That’s how the film was berthed — out of frustration of not liking what I was seeing and wanting to do something about it.”

Parker, who studied at ECU in the late eighties, said he is an actor 100 percent. He has performed in shows, such as Hamlet, Othello, the Cherry Orchard and has worked on television’s Law and Order, to name a few. His first film, however, has now added filmmaker to his resume.

Parker said he wanted to come back to eastern NC and premiere the final cut of his film for the first time. Although the film is low budget, it has received good reviews from showings of previous cuts, Parker said. After the showing, Parker, the cast and production crew will host a Q & A session with the audience.

“This audience will be my toughest critics,” Parker said. “I know they will be honest with me about the film. I’m really using it as a way to measure how to go about doing my next film. I would like to be able to affect the masses. I have stories to tell that have positive messages that I know people will love to see.”

Parker has invited D.H Conley alumni and ECU alumni through social media and an old ECU T-shirt he had from his days at ECU appears in the film, he said.

As for the Turnage’s unorthodox showing of a full-length feature film, Toler says the council has always tried to serve the community by bringing a diverse range of programs to the area. Toler said the film contains some strong language and some situations in the film that it may not be suitable for young children.

“I hope it’s the beginning of a different type of program at the Turnage and people show up,” Toler said. “It’s part of our process of seeing what our audience will respond to at the theatre. This also represents a new opportunity for the BCAC to promote an art form that we haven’t been able to present in the past — independent films.”

BCAC and the Turnage Theater are located at 150 West Main Street in Washington. Call 252-946-2504 for more information about this and other programs.