Nick Westfall’s life hasn’t been like everyone else’s.
“I come from a family forest, rather than a family tree,” Nick says.
That just means he has a lot of family – and in ways not all of us do. Adoption is key to his story, since his mother was adopted when she was young.
So family stories have always been near to his heart. And, as a physical education teacher in Wilmington, he began telling stories that were good enough to get published, novels like "Sink on Impact" and "Escaping Yesterday."
“Writing is a tough thing and you only get better with practice,” Nick admits, “just like free throws.”
He’d know a thing or two about that, since he was only about 5-feet-tall entering his senior year at Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, outside Greensboro, but still made the basketball team.
Nick’s storytelling have evolved from novels to films, with his writing and directorial debut called, “Finding Home.”
“I want to write a film, philosophically about values and what if I had a story about a man and a young child, you know, he's trying to find a home and each home represents a familial value and the environment of each home would be sort of a caricature of that value,” he says, in describing the movie.
Reviews have been strong and Finding Home was named Best Independent Film by Encore Magazine, as well as being part of the 2017 River Run Film Festival in Winston-Salem.
It’s the story of a former teacher who is named the guardian of a family member and has to help the young boy find a new, adoptive home.
“So we have the first family they meet is a family with plastic-covered couches, so those are - these are people that love brand new things, the newness of things, the potential of things,” says Nick, explaining the film’s progression. “The next home is a hording residence so they love to remember the past.”
In the end, it’s a sweet film that critics say strikes the right balance of showing the difficulties of the child welfare system without getting preachy or overwrought.
For Nick, making his first feature was somewhat cathartic.
“To exercise some control over how and what to think, you know, that's true freedom and that's what I had to learn getting into the process of making this film,” he says.
Check it out in this edition of the Buckley Report and see if you recognize the star of the film, who is from Winston-Salem but has been in very high-profile films and movies, over the last few years.