Expired April 27, 2021 6:59 AM
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Summertime chronicles the intersecting stories of twenty-five young spoken word poets over a day in Los Angeles. A skating guitarist, a tagger, two wannabe rappers, an exasperated fast-food worker, a limo driver—they all weave in and out of each other’s stories. Through poetry, they express life, love, heartache, family, home, and fear. One of them just wants to find someplace that still serves good cheeseburgers.

Born of the director’s mind-blowing interaction with a workshop where performers from across the City of Angels recited fearlessly personal texts, the project was structured so that their voices could individually shine as well as coalesce in the context of a larger, unified, and gloriously moving narrative experiment—part urban musical and part sociological art. (APRIL 25-26)

Director’s Statement: Carlos López Estrada

About 6 months ago, I had the privilege of sitting through a spoken word poetry workshop featuring 25 young performers from Los Angeles. I left the event feeling invigorated after seeing a group of diverse young artists expressing so eloquently many of the issues that had been spinning, unanswered, in my mind… I met the director of the organization they perform under and presented the idea to collaborate with all 25 of them in a narrative film project. The concept was to allow these poets to develop and workshop their poetry into an interconnected narrative that explored their relationship to their city. Each poet would write and perform their own scene and we would all work together piecing this urban mosaic over the next 5 months. This became an extraordinary exercise in collaborative storytelling. 

I would be lying if I said that this experiment wasn’t the scariest thing I have ever done, but I would also be lying if I said that it was not the most rewarding creative experience of my life. Everything about the process was unexpected, surprising, and reaffirming. The honesty that these young artists brought to this movie is the kind of honesty that, I believe, has the power to inspire real positive change. I felt fortunate to be at that workshop and I now feel fortunate to share their stories through this movie. 

Selected Filmography:

Blindspotting, Raya and the Last Dragon

Food Pairing Suggestions:

Before settling in to watch Summertime, Programmer Amara Waterman is picking up a classic burger, topped with Tillamook cheddar, and a strawberry lemonade at Hearsay.

Programmer Jayson Wynkoop agrees but has a different favorite for take out, saying, “Perfect match! Summertime with hamburgers and fries from Flip.”

  • Year
  • Runtime
    91 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Carlos López Estrada
  • Screenwriter
    Dave Harris, Mila Cuda, Olympia Miccio, Tyris Winter, Amaya Blankenship, Bene't Benton, Hanna Harris, Marco Bizio, Raul Herrera, Bryce Banks, Marquesha Babers, Walter Finnie Jr., Anna Osuna, Zach Perlmutter, Jason Alvarez, Austin Antoine, Maia Mayor, Madyson Park, Xochitl Morales, Paolina Acuña-González, Marcus James, Gordon IP, Cyrus Roberts, Pathum Madigapola, Nia Lewis, Daniel McKinley, Khamal Iwuanyanwu, Lukas Lane
  • Producer
    Kimberly Stuckwisch, Jeffrey Soros, Alisa Tager, Simon Horsman, Carlos López Estrada, Diane Luby Lane
  • Executive Producer
    Neil Garvey, Patrick Murray, Andrew Blau
  • Cast
    Tyris Winter, Marquesha Babers, Maia Mayor, Austin Antoine, Bryce Banks, Amaya Blankenship, Bene't Benton, Gordon Ip, Jason Alvarez
  • Cinematographer
    John Schmidt
  • Editor
    Mila Cuda
  • Music
    John W. Snyder