Global Atheist Convention – Sunday, 15 April (Part Four)

Parrot – A Short Film

After morning tea on Sunday, we were treated to the world premier screening of the short film “Parrot” by Sydney-based filmmakers Emma McKenna and Craig Foster. McKenna and Foster of Myrtle Street Pictures have made a remarkable film that reflects the experience of many whose loss of faith threatens the loss of family. While the film is a testament to how divisive religion can be, it also speaks to the strength and resilience of familial love.

Parrot was beautifully produced and directed, production values were high and the acting was natural when it could so easily have been forced. The drama was perfectly tempered with moments of humour and pathos. And, importantly, it was not coercive. The story was laid out honestly but without undue bias, allowing the viewer to draw their own meaning from the art.

After the film, McKenna and Foster said they made the film because there was a ‘void’ in the representation of atheists in television and movies. When atheists are portrayed on film, they are often, like Hugh Laurie’s Dr Gregory House, people of questionable morals. They wanted to show a sympathetic atheist character; to show the human face of atheism.

Their reasoning? “You can’t hate something you empathise with.”

The film stars some familiar faces, including Barry Shepherd (Rake, McLeod’s Daughters, Home and Away), Fiona Press (Oscar and Lucinda), Gig Clarke (Home and Away, Rescue: Special Ops) and Anthony Slater (co-host of Cybershack).

I must congratulate the Atheist Foundation of Australia for helping to finance and promote this fine film. I can highly recommend it. McKenna and Foster are now trying to enter it into film festivals to get it shown as widely as possible. Keep an eye out for it, and if you get a chance to see it, grab it – you won’t be sorry.

You should be able to keep up with future screenings by checking their website: Parrot

Here’s the trailer and ‘blurb’.

“Parrot is a tale of a family divided by faith. Todd, the youngest son of Ruth and Edmund Senior, has over the years drifted away from his strict Catholic upbringing. Too afraid to break the truth to his mother, he would feel as a complete stranger within his own family were it not for his brother Edmund Junior who shares the same secret.

When a terrible tragedy befalls the family, Todd and his parents are forced to confront their differences at the worst of all possible times. With the truth out, can they find a way to accept, support and love each other or will religion fracture this family forever?”

Chrys Stevenson

6 thoughts on “Global Atheist Convention – Sunday, 15 April (Part Four)

  1. Andrew Finden

    Well there’s one thing we believers and you heathens have in common – we’re usually caricatured, and generally represented poorly on film! 😉

    1. tamlyn123

      That’s never been my impression – in fact, most films I’ve seen in which a priest or devout believer played a part have treated the character with almost exaggerated respect. There are comedies, but naturally there’s an element of caricature in them, as there is in the rest of the cast.
      Cushla Geary

      1. Andrew Finden

        That exaggerate respect is arguably one of the cliches! I just rarely see believers portrayed as real people, but rather as one-dimensional cliched stereotypes – the pious, never-smiling one, or the southern-style fundamentalist, for example. To be fair, half the time it’s a so-called “Christian” film that is most guilty!

        Then again, opera singers are always presented as cliches, so maybe we’re all just sensitive about how our tribe are represented, whoever we are..

        BBC’s recently comedy ‘Rev’ is a refreshing exception.

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  3. Anthony

    I thought Parrot was excellent. Growing up in the catholic education system I had friends who’s families were very much like the family in the film. I think it was an accurate portrayal of how a family with strong religious beliefs would react in a situation like that. (The son’s coming out of the Atheist closet part maybe a little rarer.)

    I think it would be great if a tv documentary could be made along the lines of Christopher Hitchens’ God is not great. Or something titled “The evolution of religion”. The doco could neutrally chart the beginnings of human belief in the supernatural all the way to how mono theism came about and bring it up to the present day detailing all the pro’s & con’s.

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