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USA, 2008, 87 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Coming of Age, Drama, Family Issues
Programs: Films in Competition, Contemporary World Cinema, New Directors ShowcaseLanguage: English
DIRECTOR: Tom Quinn
Producer: Tom Quinn, Steve BealEditor: Tom QuinnScreenwriter: Tom QuinnCinematographer: Tom QuinnPrincipal Cast: Andrew Conway, Irene Longshore, Greg Lyons, Maryann McDonald
The breakup of a family plays out against the backdrop of Philadelphia’s annual Mummers Parade in this unsentimental kitchen-table drama, which took the 2008 Grand Jury Prize at Slamdance. Over the course of a year, while the South Philadelphia String Band strives to improve upon its poor showing in past parades, team captain Mike McMonogul (Andrew Conway) watches his children struggle with the dissolution of his marriage amid hurtful gossip of his their mother’s indiscretions. Throughout the separation and divorce process, sixteen-year-old Kat (Jennifer Welsh) and her older brother Jack (Greg Lyons) grapple with their own relationship fears. Kat tries by sheer willpower to keep the family intact—while keeping her feelings to herself, particularly regarding her pushy boyfriend and the classmate who has a crush on her. Jack takes on the responsibility of mediating between his parents and keeping an eye out for Kat even as he considers breaking family tradition by leaving the band to join a prize-winning rival outfit. But the stress wears him down; all he really wants to do is seek comfort with his new girlfriend.
In a manner reminiscent of Robert Altman, director Tom Quinn edited down hours of largely improvised footage to complete The New Year Parade, balancing the quotidian with the heat of sex and argument. Serving as his own DP, he chose a plain visual style and captured actors together with nonactors in band practice as well as during the parade itself to lend his first feature a documentary-like immediacy. For such painstaking sensibilities, Filmmaker Magazine included Quinn among this year’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film.
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