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ASPiRE PRESENTS PARRISH SMITH’S THE SCROLL: EVIDENCE OF LIFE
New York -- ASPiRE has set the world premiere of the original miniseries, The Scroll: Evidence of Life Unseen for February 3 at 8p. The four-part documentary follows the inspiring real-life stories of many modern-day ministers, evangelists and church leaders, highlighting their journeys of faith, hope and perseverance. Faith leaders featured include Bishop T.D. Jakes, Rev. Al Sharpton Jr., Rev. Bernice A. King, Bishop Hezekiah Walker and Dr. Calvin O. Butts III among many others. The Scroll is directed and executive produced by Parrish Smith with Leona D. Willis also serving as EP; Pipeline Entertainment also co-executive produces the series. The miniseries premieres February 3 at 8pm with subsequent premiere episodes airing each Sunday in February at 8pm.
A Conversation with Parrish Smith
Q: Tell us about The Scroll: Evidence Of Life Unseen
Parrish: The Scroll: Evidence Of Life Unseen is a compilation of faith based inspirational stories told by spiritual leaders from around the country. Essentially these church leaders are sharing very candid and personal experiences from their own lives. We are used to seeing pastors preach but in The Scroll, they are not preaching. They are showing a side of themselves we have never seen. The Scroll is a Trilogy, containing three volumes and interviews with over 40 leaders.
Q: The film features influential individuals like Al Sharpton Jr. How did you arrive at the testimonials presented on the film?
Parrish: When we began the film we had a list of people, some of the most prolific and profound ministers who have made a difference on a global scale. We contacted them and they agreed to be a part of it. The interviews lasted an hour or so and the ministers were very open and candid. President Obama’s former pastor in Chicago, Jeremiah Wright, was a particularly interesting interview because of the way he dealt with the media attacking him and editing his sermons.
Q; In light of the recent Sandy Hook tragedy, a presentation like this is more timely than ever. Can you comment on that?
Parrish: The shooting in Connecticut was tragic. Hurricane Sandy was tragic. All shootings and national disasters are tragic. When this happens, people cling to some type of faith, whatever faith that might be, to bring them through. The Scroll is all about faith and how we can use it to overcome tragedy. When you have faith, you know that things will get better.
Q: You’ve been a director for over a decade; tell us where this project stands among your accomplishments.
Parrish: This is by far my greatest accomplishment. It is the only African-American film which features a collective of established ministers and Pastors of its kind. And it’s the first African-American faith based documentary to be accepted into RedBox and has won three film festival awards for Best Documentary. People walk away from this film thinking about life and life’s purpose.
Q: The film will be available at Wal-Mart come mid-February. Can you tell us how that came about?
Parrish: I have a distributor who pitched the idea to Wal-Mart who immediately acquired it to sell in their stores. It’s the first film of its kind to be sold in a “big box” chain. These types of faith based documentaries, whatever ethnicity they are, just don’t get acquired so it is astonishing that Wal-Mart is selling the film.
Q: Magic Johnson’s ASPiRE network is also running the film in February. Tell us a bit about that.
Parrish: The ASPiRE network is an affiliate of the Gospel Music Channel (GMC). I met with Paul Butler (Senior Vice-President of GMC and now General Manager of ASPiRE) at the American Black Film Festival. They wanted the films because of the station’s focus on uplifting and faith based programming. ASPiRE will broadcast a four-part series that will air every Sunday in February at 8PM.
Q: Faith-based movies and documentaries are always regarded skeptically by much of the public. Tell us why your film has garnered so much respect and admiration.
Parrish: My father was a pastor and so I was raised in the church. I always loved when he told stories and parables. A cool story would always grab my attention, otherwise I would fall asleep. This film pays homage to my father and other pastors out there who are in the “inner trenches” making a real difference. People have never seen our leaders of faith like this.
Q: Since the completion of filming have there been additional testimonials coming in and if so, from whom?
Parrish: Perhaps what was most inspiring was the number of emails I received from the public sharing their personal testimonies after having seen the film. We are currently working on a new project with 20 different pastors for the last volume of the Scroll series.
Q: What is your next project?
Parrish: I actually have a few projects in the works but the one I’m most excited about is “Scroll: The Last Chapter” which is the final volume of the Scroll film series.
Q: What have you learned through this process?
Parrish: I truly learned that faith is what can bring everyone together. The Scroll is not a religious film; it’s a spiritual film. It’s not just an African-American film. It’s for everyone, no matter what your race. Through this process, I realized just how much I want to keep making more films. I want to continue to inspire people and make a difference through storytelling.
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