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Will Seefried’s “Homesick”, A Delightfully Provocative Exploration of Nostalgia

“Nostalgia… provides a retreat, a respite, a way to feel less alone,” says Melissa Kirsch of the New York Times. This idea of nostalgia, the longing for home in a time that no longer exists, is what sparked the fuel for Will Seefried’s new short film “Homesick” which debuted at the Brooklyn Film Festival this past summer. The film explores the story of a deeply troubled man who has had an unhappy, difficult childhood. His past trauma causes him to pay for a service that allows him to live in a childhood simulation with new parents, merriness, and love – with the added humorous element of his being in an adult, masculine body throughout the film. As Kirsch says, “nostalgia is easily packaged and sold” – tying directly to director Will Seefried’s creation of a paid simulation that allows people to act upon this feeling. 

The idea for the film came to Will “at a moment in the pandemic when the conversation was very much about a desire to go back to how things were before”, a time in which nostalgia pervaded the minds of every adult and child old enough to recognize the palpable change in society. Will wanted to channel this idea of nostalgia into an “absurdist thriller”, as “that genre felt ripe for tonal exploration”. This idea morphed into “Homesick” – a film that was full of humor, suspense, and longing for the past. One key point that was returned to throughout the film was the use of clothing – as an adult outside the simulation, the protagonist only wore a suit, and as a child in the simulation, he only wore cartoonish pajamas. To Will, this was also an exploration of nostalgia. The childish pajamas on the grown man’s body were “both appealing and quite off-putting, kind of the way nostalgia can be. That feeling when you realize something sacred to you was also dysfunctional, somehow”. 

Even though the film centers around an unhappy man desperate to live a childhood he never had, Will made sure it wasn’t short of humor. It was important to him to play up the absurdity and laughter in his film, noting that one of his favorite experiences on set was “filming in the giant uterus tent on the lawn of [their] Airbnb”,  where the man crawls out of his simulation mother’s uterus in a shocking yet humorous birth scene. Will says it was “one of [his] favorite scenes in the film”, and that “the process of filming it will stay with [him] for life”. 

Ultimately, “Homesick” serves as a delightful exploration of nostalgia and second chances. Will’s vision of an “absurdist thriller” certainly comes through – the film is certainly thrilling, and most definitely absurd.

Find Will here.

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