Private Project


John, a closeted high school athlete, grapples with his attraction to a teammate in the days leading up to prom.

  • Jacob Sussman
  • Jacob Sussman
  • Bailey Softness
  • Jacob Sussman
  • Noah Seltzer
    Key Cast
  • Billy Saunders Jr.
    Key Cast
  • Madeleine Stevens
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Drama, LGBT
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 18 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 1, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    8,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 2018 Wesleyan Film Theses Screening
    Middletown, CT
    United States
    May 12, 2018
    North American Premiere
    Awarded Honors and the NNK Award for Best Screenplay
Director Biography - Jacob Sussman

Jacob Sussman is a filmmaker and creative producer living in Brooklyn. He studied film at Wesleyan University, where his 16mm senior thesis film Headlock received Honors and won the NNK Prize for Best Screenplay. He currently works at Digitas as a project manager and produces short films, commercials and music videos independently. When not at a film festival, he can be found daydreaming in cafes or enjoying a weekend adventure.

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Director Statement

"Headlock" is a short film exploring the tension that arises when queer desire combats conformity in a small American high school. Based on my own personal experiences navigating the blurred lines of friendship and romance, the film seeks to bridge dramatic queer cinema with the idyllic world of John Hughes and other classic high school films. It's colorful, expressive style is inspired equal parts by art cinema and contemporary queer films but, by refracting these modern influences through a nostalgic perspective, offers an experience that is at once avant-garde and intimately familiar.