“There’s a Vulnerability That Can Isolate Us, Whether We’re in an Era of Analog Connectivity or Virtual…”: Five Questions for Colewell Writer/Director Tom Quinn

Filmmaker Magazine | 4/12/2019 | Scott Macaulay
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by Scott Macaulay

Receiving its world premiere tomorrow in the Launch section of the 2019 SFFILM Festival, Tom Quinn’s sophomore feature Colewell stars Karen Allen, whose filmography runs from intimate dramas to some of contemporary cinema’s biggest blockbusters, as a clerk in a small town post office whose way of life — and, actually, her life itself — are imperiled when her branch is scheduled for closure. Inspired, as Quinn relates below, from learning of an instance in which a town was literally erased from a map, Colewell is a gentle, melancholic film, one inflected by bursts of real anger and sorrow, that is both character study as well as meditation on loneliness and community in a time of both technological and political change. Below, I ask Quinn about the film’s development at the Venice Biennale College Cinema, which supports microbudget cinema; working with Allen; and the long gap between Colewell and his 2008 debut, The New Year Parade.

Filmmaker - Age - Email - Decision - Film

Filmmaker: In an age of texting and email, tell us about your decision to center your new film around a post office and older postal worker. There’s obviously a statement here about generational change, and people who might be left behind, but what else was in play for you with this character and setting?

Quinn: I was visiting a friend who had a vintage agricultural map framed on his wall. I asked about it and learned his childhood town was no longer on the map because the woman who ran their post office retired. The office was in her home and once it closed their zip code and town name were retired as well. I was fascinated by the idea that her identity could be so tied to that of the town and began to outline a story so I could apply to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Filmmaker Magazine
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