16 year old Sebastian (Asa Butterfield) has spent most of his life with his Nana (Academy Award Winner Ellen Burstyn) in their geodesic dome home tourist attraction where she raises him on the futurist teachings of her former mentor Buckminster Fuller in hopes that one day Sebastian will carry Fuller’s torch and make the world a better place.
But when a stroke sidelines Nana, Sebastian begins sneaking around with Jared (Alex Wolff), a chain-smoking, punk-obsessed 16 year old with a heart transplant who lives in the suburbs with his bible-banging single father Alan (Nick Offerman) and teenage sister Meredith (Maude Apatow). Sebastian and Jared form a band and with his Nana’s dreams, his first real friendship, and a church talent show at stake, Sebastian must decide if he wants to become the next Buckminster Fuller, the next Sid Vicious, or something else entirely.
When I first read Peter Bognanni’s novel The House of Tomorrow, I immediately clicked with the story of two outsiders looking to connect. Doing that through creating art - in their case with a punk band, reminded me of the no-budget films I made in high school that were an excuse to bond with others and share in something as intimate as creative discovery.
The work of futurist, architect, and philosopher Buckminster Fuller, whose beliefs are engrained in our 16-year old hero Sebastian, can be boiled down to Fuller’s view that of the world as a place where everything and everyone is connected. From Fuller’s energy efficient three-wheeled car, to his Dymaxion map, to his geodesic dome that embodied green-living long before that was a term, all of his work was born from a mission to make the most efficient use of earth’s resources so everyone, not just the elite, could live well.
Between Fuller’s work on a global scale, two boys making a punk song, and their parents’ struggle to raise them, The House of Tomorrow is about connections—big and small. My goal was to present all of it with a style that never gets in the way or is concerned if it’s a comedy or drama, as long as it’s always honest.