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David Zucker's thesis film on The New Yorker Video

When Groundhog Day goes virtual, the small coal-mining town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, must face its uncertain future, in this documentary short by David Zucker
A large baner depicting a groundhog

David Zucker's (MFA '21) thesis film Groundhog Town is now featured on The New Yorker Video

In the opening moments of David P. Zucker’s documentary “Groundhog Town,” a woman stands in a dim bar and describes what it’s like in her small town, Punxsutawney, on the holiday for which it is widely known. “Chaos—it’s absolutely insane,” she says. “You can’t even drive through town.” Another shot shows the rest of the bar, its pinball machines and TV screens aglow while its stools sit empty. An uneasy, expectant quiet sets in on the film and never quite leaves. Filming for “Groundhog Town” began in November, 2020, when it was unclear, because of pandemic-related concerns about mass gatherings, whether the usual Groundhog Day celebration at Gobbler’s Knob would be held the following February. But Zucker isn’t just interested in what happens on the big day; what matters is the ritual’s meaning to the residents of Punxsutawney, who number under six thousand and who see their town’s population septupled by visitors for a few days each February.

Read the full piece and watch the film on The New Yorker website: What Groundhog Day Means to Its Home Town.

Zucker, who graduated from the Stanford MFA Documentary Film program in 2021, last year completed his debut feature-length documentary Your Friend, Memphis, which premiered at SXSW. Watch Deadline's interview with David about that film.

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