Sweet Old World is inspired by my personal documentary film, The Band (PBS series P.O.V., 1998), in which I followed my son through his junior year in high school as we both struggled with the death of his brother seven years earlier. It tells the fictional story of a father (Brian) and teenage son (Ethan) whose lives were shattered when the son's brother was killed in an accident seven years earlier. Both trapped in their own private grief and pain, their relationship has grown strained and cold over the years. The return of the dead son's best friend, who had left town with his family after the accident, causes Brian and Ethan's carefully constructed protective shells to shatter-bringing them both to the brink of disaster and the potential for a new life and relationship. Throughout, the story is driven by Ethan, whose new found, and seemingly uncharacteristic willingness to flirt with danger under the influence of his brother's friend forces Brian to confront his own buried grief. Filming in the Summer and Fall of 2010, that story will be told in the midst of a typical year in the life of the South Pasadena High School Marching Band in South Pasadena, California, as a hundred disparate teenagers and their teachers start from scratch to mold a complex program of music and motion. We are filming the narrative story with actors who become part of the band and live through that experience while their story unfolds.
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