Home Range came from the desire to depict my hometown community located in the hills of Western Pennsylvania. I wanted to tell a story specific to that region but one with universal overtones. Small town communities of rural Western Pennsylvania have a strong tradition of service to the country. In recent years I myself have observed many men and women – my former classmates, friends and neighbors – returning home after deployment. Today a lot of effort goes into helping our veterans, however psychological distress and hardship amongst them are at unacceptable levels. It was important for me to give our service men and women a voice.
Being in the military is a distinct experience that most civilians, though they have empathy for our troops, do not fully grasp. It is not easy to understand its complexities – the struggle, exhilaration, and deep ties formed within units. Often when returning home, veterans are faced with a sense of confusion, uncertainty and displacement while trying to readjust to civilian life.
The protagonist of Home Range, Bobby, is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon returning home he questions where he belongs and to whom he belongs. Feeling disconnected from the people he loves, and who love him in return, he struggles to find common ground. Meanwhile, his family and friends strive to fulfill their desire, as well as responsibility, to help bring him back.
The experience of serving in combat, or having someone close who has served, may appear very particular. However, the longing to help bring someone back home, or more generally, back to life, is universal. Most individuals will relate to the emotional challenge of connecting to a person who is in turmoil – the desperation of wanting to forge a bond but not quite finding the words. This feeling envelops the entirety of Home Range but the film is anchored in its veterans’ issues. My hope is that audiences will connect with Bobby’s story on a universal level while at the same time appreciating the reality of a veteran’s return home.