It’s been a week or so since I’ve seen the spoken word/musical hybrid Summertime, and it’s a film that is still on my mind. Filmmaker Carlos López Estrada, with the aid of 25 artists, has crafted a diverse look at Los Angeles in all of its humanity and diversity. Estrada and Summertime co-star Raul Herrera talked to Deepest Dream about this unique cinematic experience.
Both Blindspotting and Raya and the Last Dragon center on voices that are usually not front and center in movies, and Summertime refreshingly follows Carlos López Estrada’s intent on bringing rarely spotlighted individuals to the forefront.
Full interview with Carlos López Estrada and Raul Herrera is up on my Deepest Dream YouTube Channel:
Summertime enabled López to expand his own narrative and cultural palette by working with these expressive spoken word artists. Though film is a visual medium, Summertime‘s shows that words have a power of their own.
“I just felt like I had been given a tour of L.A. that most people don’t get to experience,” said Estrada. “First of all, anyone who’s outside of L.A. has only been exposed to the types of movies and books and music that have a very singular perspective. (With) cities that have a much bigger transportation system or isn’t as sprawling as L.A., you’re more inclined to cross paths with so many different than yourself.”
Estrada discusses the isolated nature of Los Angeles and how Summertime helped broaden his horizons:
“There’s been a huge change in education the last couple of years where we’re finding it more necessary to amplify student voices and to encourage students to empower themselves with their own personal narratives,” said Herrera. “Get Lit has been doing that work for the last 15 years and Summertime is a project of what can come when you give youth a platform to share their stories.”
Props to Herrera for performing “Clouds” on the subway!
The subway version is a more in your face rendition of the poem, and in Summertime it has a more wistful and contemplative delivery. Raul Herrera reflects on seeing his recitation of Clouds in Summertime (you can see that actual clip via Get Lit):
Summertime, co-starring Maia Mayor and Tyris Winter, is now available on iTunes/Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play, and Amazon.