‘Summertime’ Brings Poetry to the Big Screen at Ashland Independent Film Festival – The Siskiyou


Photo courtesy of Good Deed Entertainment

“And you’ll say it’s because I was raised the ‘Asian way’, well you’re completely wrong. It’s because I was studying instead of sleeping, my parents palms kept bleeding , just so I can keep eating and I’m still here cleaning up!” Gordon Ip slams his hands on the counter of the burger counter he runs, accenting the last words so they echo in the silence. Ip’s poem comes near the end of “Summer time”, a cathartic piece that addresses being a child of immigrants, the systemic racism still present in today’s society and the woes of working in the service industry where customers tend to think you you are less than human. “I approached [the poem] about the idea of ​​working-class Asian Americans and how we are portrayed in the media,” Ip explained when asked where the inspiration for his poem, “Smiley’s,” came from. . “[Asians] haven’t been shown in the media until recently and I wanted to show the struggles that I went through, my parents went through and their parents went through. I just wanted to show a small part of what it’s like to be an immigrant.

Ip’s poem is one of many that tell the story of “Summertime”, a film by Carlos López Estrada. Estrada, director of “Blindspotting”, worked with light up, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit whose mission is “to increase teen literacy on the page and visual media.” The company organizes several courses, workshops and competitions to encourage young people to reach their full potential as creators and writers and has recently worked with people like Prince Harry and Megan Markle. The plot of “Summertime” is driven by the twenty-five poets who spilled over pages that were woven into a story with multiple characters throughout the film. Many poets play a version of themselves, which gives a sense of authenticity that many films lack.

The cinematography captures everything from dazzling shots of Venice Beach, perfectly accompanied by the stunning voice of Olympia Miccio, to the street art that makes LA the undulating work of art that it is. LA locals and Southern California junkies alike will find this love letter to the City of Angels full of nostalgia, beauty and life.

Estrada and his team worked with the poets to create a script for each of their characters which worked with the others. Raul Herrera, teacher for Get Lit and limo driver in “Summertime”, explained that Estrada asked each poet to write a scene around the poem that would appear in the film. “These scenes weren’t necessarily the final version of the film, but [it gave Carlos] a good sense of the story we want[ed] to tell,” Herrera said. Herrera’s poem, “Clouds,” concludes the film with a beautiful view of LA at night as he discusses the illusion of time saying, “you are more powerful than time” and “love is a art, learned only by the lessons of pain”.

“Summertime” will give you goosebumps and teary eyes, and leave you wanting something more. Poems like Marquesha Baber’s “Shallow” will rock you as she spits years of pent up emotions in the face of the man who caused her third suicide attempt. Based on a real experience, Baber’s poem doesn’t hold back, “‘Shallow’ is a real experience I had but never had the closure I needed to close this chapter of my life, so being able to accomplish that healing through film was truly a blessing,” Baber explained.

Each piece is raw in emotion and takes center stage with grace and ease. Poems like “Hey, I’m, Gay” will have you smiling with lines like “I’m gay as a woolen flannel on a summer’s day,” while tracks like “Home” will make you want to write the yours poetry with words like “chocolate canapes and peeling paint”. Filled with beautiful inspirations, “Summertime” will make you a poet.

“Summertime” will begin airing on April 25. Head toward ashlandfilm.org to buy tickets!


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