Jeremiah Nickols is an emerging Sydney-based filmmaker. The Nearing of Jordyn Simmons served as his graduate project while studying a Bachelor of Creative Arts in Film and Television. Influenced by socially-conscious indie dramas and Northern European cinema, he strives to create character studies that explore the raw, complicated side of human nature through an experimental lens.
Can honesty exist where shame resides? If a relationship can’t exist outside of a certain room, how can you trust the other person has your best interests at heart?
The Nearing of Jordyn Simmons was heavily informed by my experience with queer shame.
I couldn’t be more removed from the character of Jordyn Simmons. For one, I hate team sports. I’ve never had a serious relationship, and while I’ve been outed in small social settings, never on the scale experienced by Jordyn. My core connection to the character, and the experience that allowed him to breath air, was my struggle with shame.
This was initially a very different script – it was still about the reunion of two men who’d once been in love and the context was similar (set some time after his outing). It was far more conventional, something following a returned lover looking to patch things up; when I began to explore his motivation for returning home, the prevalent, recurring emotion was shame. Having been raised conservative-Catholic, and having struggled severely with my own sexuality, the writing process forced me to confront much of my own internalised homophobia, discovering my own shame as I discovered Jordyn’s. Around midway through the writing process it took on a new life, becoming an exploration of shame and the pain that accompanies it. As a young queer person who’d never had the space to own their narrative, this became that moment.
Intimacy played a significant role in this film. We spend a lot of time with what’s not being said, particularly with Jordyn, and finding a way to show a subtle point of honesty was critical. Moments of physical intimacy are often cathartic in films about gay men, used to release tension in a rare moment of honesty. I wanted to honour this in a way that still felt organic to the narrative; physical intimacy became about trust. Their love language became touch, an expression of honesty, vulnerability and emotional trust for these two men. Instead of building the tension up to these moments, it seeps in around. The further apart they are, the more chaotic the world is.
Much inspiration came from contemporary indie and foreign cinema. Much of the inspiration came from the compelling character studies and relationship dramas of Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrea Arnold and Derek Cianfrance. Other inspiration came from hypnotically intense films like Camille Vidal-Naquet’s Sauvage and Julia Ducournau’s Raw. Though heightened, they captured something deeply and authentic. This film sits in a dramatically elevated space, grounded by those moments of emotional authenticity.
This film is ultimately explores how shame impacts interpersonal relationships.