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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Filmmaker Edward Burns shots parts of his recent film “The Fitzgerald Family Christmas” in and around his hometown of Valley Stream.
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Edward Burns retraces Valley Stream roots
By Iris Wiener

It has been seventeen years since Edward Burns broke onto the movie circuit with his Valley Stream-set film “The Brothers McMullen.” With the release of “The Fitzgerald Family Christmas,” the 12th film that he has directed and written, Burns returned to his roots in the Valley Stream area.

Reuniting with “McMullen” co-stars Connie Britton and Mike McGlone, Burns weaves an ensemble story of adult siblings dealing with the desire of their estranged father, played by Ed Lauter, to return home for Christmas for the first time since he walked out on his family 20 years ago. Family conflicts emerge, and like with any family, Christmas brings a slew of complicated emotions and dynamics.

“As I was writing the script, I imagined the Fitzgeralds lived in the house that I grew up in, which was in the Gibson part of Valley Stream,” Burns said. “My folks have since moved, so I called my Mom and said, ‘Anybody back home you think would let us shoot in their house?’ She called her friend Tina Costello, and she said, ‘Of course. If Eddie’s making a movie, he can certainly have the house.’” Burns also shot scenes in Rockville Centre, Lynbrook and Queens Village.

Burns credits his youth in Valley Stream as a major factor in his decision of becoming a filmmaker. “The proximity to Manhattan definitely helped,” he says of his hometown. “My folks both went to high school in Manhattan, and our entire childhood they were constantly telling us that Long Island is a great place for your childhood, but your dreams are going to come true across the river. The fact that I grew up a block from the Gibson train station, and that from the minute I was 14 years old my parents let me go into the city and explore was a definite attribute.

“I always felt the pull,” he added, “and the minute I got a taste of the city I got in there, and I think my films kind of reflect that back and forth, the push and pull of the Long Island suburbs and the excitement of Manhattan.”

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