A teenage girl finds solace and personal revolution by taking an intentionally circuitous route home in filmmaker Jesse Heath‘s new short film for Dazed. The protagonist of “Everyday I Walk The Same Way Home ” is Mackenzie, who comes of age on her own terms, resisting the rules in the small ways available to adolescents. She shaves her head, covers her ankles in stick and poke tattoos, smokes cigarettes and most significantly, finds her own literal path back home along the LA river; eschewing street maps, and the advice of those in charge; Mackenzie physically and emotionally lives on the outskirts.
The intimate and often profound thoughts of Mackenzie’s inner monologue narrate the short, offering a dreamlike aural counterpoint to the physical world she occupies. Jesse Heath’s deft direction sees the rough urban landscape through Mackenzie’s eyes and the mundane becomes magical; the grit somehow seems glorious. By delaying her arrival home, she keeps her problems at bay and gives herself time to contemplate the world around her and her part in it.
As a British director working in Los Angeles, Jesse wanted to combine the raw nature of English filmmaking with the production feel of an American feature. The film’s outsider aesthetic began with the assembly of the cast: non-actors were found via Instagram, injecting the piece with an impenetrable sense of authenticity from the get-go. “I wanted characters that felt accessible and authentic and so I used Instagram. Bringing on local teenagers with big online followings seemed like the most appropriate way to create a natural connection between the piece and its audience,” says Heath. Mackenzie’s experiences over the course of her journey home work as a lead-in to larger life questions about subjects that everyone in the world reflects on regarding the future and the past, how we connect and how we find meaning.
After leaving his birth country at the age of 19 for California, Jesse Heath has been building his body of work that often reflects on his feelings of being an outsider and remaining true to one’s self even if means staying on the fringes. He’s worked for Reebok, Miguel, Brooke Candy, Born x Raised, Sleep Crime, Moneyshot and more while being represented by The Uprising Creative in LA.