By Gregory Crofton
If you’re a fan of documentaries, you might have seen “Heavy Metal Parking Lot,” a an influential short film shot on videotape that captures rock fans tailgating at a Judas Priest concert in 1986 Maryland.
“Maybe Next Year” is the story of a handful of Philadelphia Eagles super fans living in their own city as they unknowingly head to 2018 Super Bowl victory. And it definitely owes something to the trail blazed by “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” and the wild humanity it documented.
Both films get at what makes people tick. What gets them through the day. Sports and rock concerts are what help people get by. We interviewed director Kyle Thrash about his new film, and have included a trailer for it below.
How did you meet the Eagle super fans you documented in “Maybe Next Year”? I read that you bought a pickup truck so you could start tailgating with fans. What other lengths did you go to meet the main characters in your doc?
We met some of our characters through research and some through going to tailgates to capture the game environment. Our one main character Jesse, we met at a neighborhood bar during a game. He was running around the bar cheering like a maniac and when learning about his family and his personal life I felt like he was a perfect fit for the film.
What’s one of your favorite scenes in the film?
There is a moment where we find a man in the middle of Broad street after the team wins the NFC title and he is crying. He is talking about all the years of waiting to win a championship and why this time it’s going to be different. The magic of the city in that moment and finding this stranger who is openly expressing himself in the middle of the street feels like it captures the spirit of the film.
As a filmmaker, what draws and holds your attention the most out in the field?
I like observing people expressing themselves without hesitation. Bold characters that are authentically being themselves and care no mind if you like them or not. I could follow certain characters I’ve met like that around the rest of my life.
Were you a hardcore football fan to start with?
Yes. I grew up in a home that lived and died with Philly sports teams. My mom had a Phillies game on in the delivery room when I was being born so I had no choice but to be a part of this.
Who is in your ideal audience for this film?
I hope fans of character study films and someone who enjoys sports. We set out to explore the psychology of sports fans and to uncover where all that passion comes from so whether you like the team or not, I hope there is something you can take away from it.
What was the editing process like? Did you have to sacrifice a lot of great material?
It took around a year to edit and yes we had to make tough choices. There were so many great characters and moments we captured at the tailgates and in the bars, but its tough to fit a whole fanbase and city in. We tried to show a balance between our main characters and the general community so it feels intimate, but also capture the magic of Philadelphia at that time.
Any project you’re working on that you can let us know about? Or any past work that you’re proud of that you can point out?
I’m working on a new project about Michael Thompson’s fight for clemency and the harms the war on cannabis has caused. As states around the country start to legalize marijuana, we must look at the estimated 40,000 non-violent prisoners still incarcerated for the drug.
What are a few of your favorite documentaries?
“Maybe Next Year” will be available on Apple TV, Prime Video, Vudu, Google Play and Vimeo on Demand starting November 10th. Watch a trailer for the film below, and visit the website at www.maybenextyearfilm.com