Interview with Filmmaker Bret Parker (PETE)

PETE, 6min., USA, Animation
Directed by Bret Parker
“Pete” is an animated short film based on a true story about gender identity, Little League Baseball, the people who inspire change by trying to be themselves, and the superheros who allow that change to happen.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Pete and I had been thinking for quite some time about writing this story and making this film, but we felt a sense of urgency and became increasingly motivated over the last several years as the attacks on LGBTQ+ rights once again became common place. As the hate escalated, especially around the trans community we knew that making this film was more imperative. We are more passionate than ever about documenting gay history with storytelling and film.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

Since this is a story about a moment in my wife’s life we often feel like we have been working on it forever, but from start to finish it took about 2 years to complete.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

That is a really hard question. The first thing that comes to mind is “damn good” or “home run” but it has been stressed to me my whole life that pride should be balanced with humility, so maybe…”innocently hopeful”.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The biggest obstacle for a project like this, one where your entire amazing and talented crew has volunteered their time and skills to your dream, is keeping the energy and work moving forward. Everyone was working a full-time job and then spending nights and weekends creating this film. A big shout-out to the “Pete” crew.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

The initial reaction was, they really got what we were trying to convey. We did it! It felt wonderful knowing that we had succeeded.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

Pete and I realized that we loved telling stories and started believing that we could bring our stories to life about 5 years ago. Our first film was a feature documentary about the first gay bar in the U.S. with open windows to the public. We loved the process and loved working together even more, and that combined with my long career in the film industry and animation; it only made sense to make an animated film.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

My all-time favorite film is Amelie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. We both adore this film and have watched it many times.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

To be honest the experience with your festival has been amazing from start to finish. You are one of the few festivals that have provided the filmmakers with resources and tools to move their film forward and get it in front of audiences. Thank you.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

The FilmFreeway site has been a life-saver for relatively knew filmmakers like ourselves. It makes submitting easy and takes the worry out of delivery.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Our family loves food and I love to cook, but if I need to pick a favorite based on frequency, I would have to say sushi. We have an amazing little restraunt right by our house that we go to as often as possible. If you find yourself in San Francisco you should try SushiTime.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

We are writing new episodes of “Pete” with the hopes to continue to share stories of growing up LGBTQ+ with a wider audience.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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