The Mexican writer, director and producer Carlos López Estrada is bringing to us through the big screen another amazing project, SUMMERTIME. Responsible for movies such as “Blindspotting” and “Raya and the Last Dragon, this time around, Carlos proposed a collaboration to develop the performers’ work into a loose, interconnected narrative, encouraging the non-actors to express themselves and their relationship to their city.
Executive produced by Kelly Marie Tran, the film is a spoken word poetry musical set in Los Angeles, following the lives of 27 young Angelinos as they intersect over the course of a single day. The film was developed with these 27 youth poets, all of whom served as co-writers and stars. SUMMERTIME is playing in theaters now.
Over the course of a hot summer day in Los Angeles, the lives of 27 young Angelenos intersect. 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.
I had the opportunity to chat with Carlos, via Zoom, about this film, poetry, new projects, and more.
More about the movie
With its Slacker-inspired structure, fanciful form, and exuberant magical realism, Summertime is a free- verse poem—of the kids, by the kids, for the kids. The young poets radiate vitality, honesty, and profound emotion. By the time they wind up together in a tricked-out mega-limo overlooking the city, we believe in what their crazy, creative togetherness represents: hope. As the driver says, “Y’all got a pocket full of dreams, so don’t let me down.”
Produced By: Kimberly Stuckwisch, Jeffrey Soros, Alisa Tager, Simon Horsman, Carlos López Estrada, Diane Luby Lane
Executive Producers Kelly Marie Tran, Neil Garvey, Patrick Murray, Andrew Blau.
Starring: Tyris Winter, Marquesha Babers, Maia Mayor, Austin Antoine, Bryce Banks, Lee Blankenship, Bene’t Benton,Gordon Ip, Jason Alvarez.
Screenplay by: Dave Harris, Mila Cuda, Olympia Miccio, Tyris Winter, Amaya Blankenship Lee 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.