Pew Fellow Tom Quinn on the set of the film Colewell, 2019. Photo by Sebastian Avery.
Pew Fellow Tom Quinn directing Karen Allen in the film Colewell, 2019. Photo by Sam Wood.
Actress Karen Allen (left of center) in the film Colewell directed by Pew Fellow Tom Quinn, 2019. Photo by Paul Yee.
“By mixing reality and fiction, I hope to capture…the authentic people and landscapes that will someday disappear.”
Tom Quinn makes narrative films that tell character-driven stories within regional communities. He casts professional actors alongside residents from the locations where he films, blurring the line between documentary and fiction and addressing “how individuals shape their communities and vice versa,” he says. This technique can be seen in Quinn’s films such as The New Year Parade, centered on the South Philadelphia String Band as it prepares for the annual Mummers Parade, and Colewell, about the residents of a small town in Pennsylvania facing the closure of their local post office. Colewell, which stars actress Karen Allen, received the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award for best independent feature made for less than $500,000. Quinn typically assumes a number of roles in his projects, including writing, directing, filming, editing, and producing. He is an assistant professor and program director for film and television at Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. Quinn has an MFA in film and media arts from Temple University and a BA in communications and English from La Salle University.