I like to think of Sean Hackett’s HOMECOMING as being a sister film (brother film? cousin?) to my upcoming film UP COUNTRY. It’s an easy connection to make. Sean serves as a Producer on UP COUNTRY, as do the HOMECOMING Producers Tim & Mary Larson. We had the same Script Supervisor (Caitlin Mattis) and Art Director (Carly Larson), and feature mostly improvised dialogue. Hell, they were even shot on the same camera.
But beyond all of that, they really are quite different. An interesting example of the Auteur Theory, perhaps?
One of the most self-assured indie feature debuts I’ve seen in a long time, HOMECOMING stars Brea Grant (HEROES, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS) as Estelle, an Army Medic on leave from Afghanistan who reunites with her high school friends Austin (Tom Fox Davies) and Owen (Sean Hackett). It’s a simple story, well-told. Hackett maneuvers skillfully around a litany of traps and cliches to plumb some very real emotional depths.
Very clearly a labor of love, HOMECOMING features strong performances, nice production value, and some great editing, courtesy of Kate Hackett.
It’s not at all surprising that days after HOMECOMING debuted in Kansas City, Sean got an offer to direct another feature. And with any luck, we’ll be on set for that one too.
I saw HOMECOMING this summer in rough cut form, but thanks to a cancellation in our schedule, I was able to make my way up to Erie to see it fully-realized at the Spirit Quest Film Festival.
Filmmaker Lucas McNelly is spending a year on the road, volunteering on indie film projects around the country, documenting the process and the exploring the idea of a mobile creative professional. You can see more from A Year Without Rent at the webpage. Follow him on Twitter: @lmcnelly.