Here's a first look (via trailer) for writer/director/producer Jono Oliver's drama, Home, which stars Gbenga Akinnagbe, Tawny Cypress, Danny Hoch, James McDaniel, Joe Morton, and Isiah Whitlock.
The film tells the story of a man (33 year old Jack Hall, played by multi-hyphenate Akinnagbe) suffering from mental illness, who is trying to rebuild his life, make peace with the wife he was once married to, and be a father to the child they had together, before his mental collapse.
I attended a screening of the film at the DGA theater here in New York over the weekend, going in with really no idea of what to expect (which is rare for me), because I hadn't seen anything of the film before then, with Gbenga, Morton, McDaniel and Whitlock being the actors in this ensemble cast whose previous work I was most familiar with. And they're all good actors, so that was enough of a draw.
I'll be writing up an early review of it (it's set to premiere on the film festival circuit later this year), and will post later this week; but, in short, I was impressed with the indie film! Akinnagbe carries it with a strong performance as a man who simply wants nothing more than to live as any other man would - with dignity.
Similar films like One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest immediately came to mind during the screening. Not that it's exactly like that film (both do maintain a nice balance between the dramatic and the comedic), but that's a landmark movie I think most will immediately recognize and refer to when conversations about dramas set in mental institutions are had.
But Home is a heartwarming and inspiring drama about hope and determination that I think will resonate universally.
Director Jono Oliver has worked as a DGA assistant director on several projects that you'll be familiar with, including The Great Debaters, Notorious, Guess Who, Barbershop 2, John Tucker Must Die, Snake Eyes, Last Action Hero, and Soul Food.
He's also written for TV - specifically, CBS's Blue Bloods and has been honored with screenwriting awards like the IFP’s Gordon Parks Award for Screenwriting.
So he's certainly experienced, we could say, although Home is his feature film directorial debut.
The film was shot earlier last year, and, as noted, will debut on the film festival circuit this year. So when I have festival playdates, they'll be posted here.
In the meantime, check out the first trailer below: