Private Project

Heroes Don't Come Home

Deep in the woods of Maine, a broken promise made after the September 11th attacks forces two friends to confront the teenagers they were and the men they’ve become.

  • Jake Hulse
    The Answer
  • Jake Hulse
  • Kelly Henshaw
  • Mike Haas
    Dark Origins and The Answer
  • Andrew Casanova
    Key Cast
  • Tyler McElroy
    Key Cast
  • Robert Schorr
    Key Cast
  • Katie Iacona
    Key Cast
  • Ann Gulian
    Key Cast
  • Maria Oppedisano
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Action, Drama
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 47 minutes 56 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 21, 2015
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Dances with Film
    Los Angeles
    United States
    June 8, 2016
    World Premiere
Director Biography - Jake Hulse

Jake Hulse is one of the founding members of Happy Wasteland Studios. He has been writing and directing films since his first claymation movies in middle school. Jake started his filmmaking career at the concession counter of his local cineplex. He’d begged them to let him be an usher, but he wasn’t old enough and the closest he ever got to working in the theatre was shelling out bags of popcorn in the main lobby. A graduate of Northeastern University, he originally pursued a career in law enforcement, before switching gears to focus more squarely on his filmmaking career. He served as Director of Photography for Happy Wasteland’s first feature film, “The Answer,” directed by Wade Wofford, which was an official selection of the 2016 Canada International Film Festival.

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Director Statement

I was a senior in high school on September 11th. I remember walking down the hallway. It was eerily quiet. Every doorway I passed had the TV on and the same image playing: the World Trade Center Towers collapsing in a smoke-cloud, people running… A few days later, my best friend and I went to the Marine Corps recruiting office to see if we could sign up. We wanted to make the world safe again. We wanted revenge for something we didn’t understand. We wanted to be heroes. This film was inspired by that moment. There have been plenty of films about 9/11, but none have explored the events through the eyes of teenagers about to make one of the biggest decisions of their lives.

As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq come to a close, my friends who had been deployed overseas have returned home, and some have undergone dramatic transformations. Too often, war movies end too early in the story. We don’t see the soldiers returning home to their families and friends, struggling with PTSD, straining to connect in a world that wouldn’t exist without them – yet a world that is insulated from the trauma they’ve experienced. This movie is for them and a wake up call for us, an up-close and personal look at how war can shred friendships, dreams, and how it damages our young men and women.

It’s also a movie for my students. As a high school teacher and coach, I hear teenagers talk about their future plans everyday. Some view enlisting in the armed services to combat terrorism the same way I did when I was their age – as an incredibly heroic act, full of self-sacrifice and brotherhood. Which it is. However, that sacrifice and why we fight is enormously more complicated than what they can possibly understand. This story is also for them, a glimpse at the ramifications of war when the soldier comes home.