Excelsia College and Sydney Film School are proud to have a talented calibre of staff helping to train film professionals in producing, directing, writing, cinematography, sound, editing, design, and business through its Bachelor of Screen Production. If you happened to watch The Beatles: Get Back documentary series on Disney Plus, you may have recognised a familiar face, Les Parrott. The Sydney Film School lecturer once worked as a camera operator in London in 1969! It was this three-week experience which Parrott marked as ‘just another gig’ when he was summoned to Twickenham Studios and Apple Corps that would end up being the Beatles’ last collaboration together (Sydney Film School, 2021), before disbanding in 1970 (Westbrook, 2021).
Upon reflection of this experience filming the ‘greatest band of all time’, Les explains, ‘Fifty-two years later there is still this unbelievable interest. At the time I didn’t realise I was involving myself in history; it was a gig, it was a job … It’s special and it can’t be repeated so it’s something that I’ll take with me’ (60 Minutes, 2021).
Peter Jackson, world-famous Lord of the Rings director, released the documentary on 25 November 2021, after canvassing over 60 hours of completely unseen footage of the Beatles that had been put in a vault for half a century (Sydney Film School, 2021). The final product is a documentary series spread across three episodes, each two to three hours running time. Parrott filmed the fab four – consisting of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison – as they recorded their Grammy-winning album Let It Be (Sydney Film School, 2021).
It is this wealth of experience, knowledge, and encouragement that Parrott imparts to the next generation of students at Sydney Film School as he lectures in the camera and cinematography departments. Apart from his rare experience filming the Beatles, Parrott has worked in film and television productions including Julius Caesar starring John Gielgud and Charlton Heston, You Can’t Win ’Em All starring Tony Curtis and Charles Bronson, Madame Sin starring Bette Davis and Robert Wagner, and sci-fi puppet classic Thunderbirds (Sydney Film School, 2021).
Channel 9 program 60 Minutes Australia visited Sydney Film School to find out about Les’s once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with the Beatles. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the docuseries yet, check out the links below:
Les Parrott featured at 1min10sec – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSrCk1icisI
“SUNDAY on #60Mins | Going Back” – https://www.facebook.com/60Minutes9/videos/285579016812325
Did you know Sydney Film School is ranked as one of Variety Magazine’s (Saval et al., 2020) leading international film schools? If you are interested in learning from industry veterans such as Les, why not explore Excelsia College’s Bachelor of Screen Production? https://excelsia.edu.au/study/creative-and-performing-arts/bachelor-of-screen-production/
About Excelsia College:
Excelsia College, located in Sydney, Australia, has a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. We are a community made up of passionate educators who want to walk alongside students on their individual, unique journey.
Saval, M., Clement, N., Gottlieb, A., Gilchrist, T., & Gaita, P. (2020). Entertainment education impact report: The top film schools and educators from around the globe. Variety Magazine. https://variety.com/2020/biz/spotlight/entertainment-education-impact-report-film-schools-globe-1234580557/
Sydney Film School (2021, November 19). Sydney Film School’s Les Parrott, Beatles cameraman, on 60 Minutes [Press Release].
Westbrook, C. (2021). When did the Beatles break up and who left first? Metro News. https://metro.co.uk/2021/11/25/when-did-the-beatles-break-up-and-who-left-first-15663564/
60 Minutes (2021). Aussie cameraman reveals what The Beatles were like in never-before-seen footage. 9 Now. https://9now.nine.com.au/60-minutes/aussie-cameraman-reveals-what-the-beatles-were-like-in-neverbeforeseen-footage/0c5c36b1-e26a-40e4-bb95-c9006764cdbc
60 Minutes Australia. (2021, November 18). SNEAK PEEK: Going Back, 60 Minutes Australia [Video file]. Youtube. www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3fufUESXps&ab_channel=60MinutesAustralia