…with KET, people in Western and Eastern Kentucky are able to see our shows, and they comment on them and they enjoy them. That’s really something special.
Kiley Lane Parker – Kentucky filmmaker
Stories are important to Kiley Lane Parker. A Lexington native, she spent her youth absorbing the artistic influence of her art-teacher and “extreme gardener” mother; her twenties saw her globe-trotting from New Zealand to Spain and from Greece to Argentina, gaining the life experience that would later inform her work.
But what she also learned in those places is that everywhere you go, everyday people have important stories to tell. One CNN internship later, she knew that she wanted to tell them.
“I wanted to do documentaries; I’m very interested in telling full stories,” she said from the Louisville offices she shares with her husband and business partner, George Parker.
“I didn’t want to be pigeon-holed into 30-second sound bites; I wanted to be able to tell good, full stories and let the audience walk away with the information and decide for themselves.”
And it was KET that provided the young filmmaker the confidence and means to get her start, and that continues to give her voice—and the diverse voices of other Kentucky filmmakers, as well —a statewide audience.
“I felt very honored and privileged that KET believed in me,” she said, “that I could create a 30-minute program that would then be broadcast statewide.”
That program, Harriet Van Meter: A Life Extraordinary, profiles the founder of the International Book Project, which collects and distributes books to war-torn and impoverished regions.
“As a female, who really likes reading about strong female characters, I said, ‘Wow, this is a story that needs to be told,'” she said. Working with Arthur Rouse of Lexington, Parker produced this, as well as John Tuska: Non Basta Una Vita, which profiles the longtime University of Kentucky art professor.
Since that time, Parker, who has long had a strong interest in environmental topics, has launched an Internet-based project, called kyGREEN.tv, to produce and distribute programs about people, places, and businesses working to making Kentucky greener. An outgrowth of that project is Kentucky’s Greenside, which has aired on KET since early 2011.
“The reputation of KET is extraordinary to me. I’ve been working with KET since I was about 25,” she said. “Through my current company, we put things on the Internet, but there is limited access to broadband. But with KET, people in Western and Eastern Kentucky are able to see our shows, and they comment on them and they enjoy them. That’s really something special.”
After producing the Van Meter documentary, Parker gained a wealth of hands-on experience in Colorado, working for a cable station catering to the area’s ski resorts. Her intensive involvement in producing stories, narrating them, and doing voice-over work led her friends, she said with a laugh, to refer to the channel as “Kiley TV.” Not much has changed since then, as she assumes the same hands-on role in her kyGREEN.tv and Greenside productions.
“When I say I have something airing on KET—and always, no matter where I’ve been—I’ve gotten a ‘Wow, that’s really cool’ because it’s a brand,” she said.
“For all filmmakers, young and old, having a vehicle to show your work—I don’t know of many other states that have that, and really work to build relationships with their filmmakers.”
Remembering this role KET played in her development, Parker now tries to incorporate that same mentoring into her work and life as well.
“I think it’s really important for young people, in any profession, to have a mentor and to have people who believe in them and see talent,” she said. “As human beings we should all be mentoring, whether it’s your own children or other people in your profession.”