03rd Apr2013

‘Summertime’ Review

by Catherina Gioino

Stars: Lethia Nall, Eric Yves Garcia, Rob Hollander, H.R. Britton, Olivia Horton, Jenny Grace,  Michele Cesari | Written and Directed by Max Weissberg

The First Time Fest is a proud sponsor of first time filmmakers, and thus the festival sponsors a friendly competition among twelve first time filmmakers which involves a screening of their films which will be reviewed by five judges, including the audience counting as a judge. The winner will receive the benefit of having their film distributed among theaters worldwide, as well as the bragging rights that come along with winning such a special honor.

One of the screenings was a witty tale of trying to be a working actor in New York City called Summertime. The story revolves around first time actress Julia, who is in the running for a part in a new movie. The plot follows not only the actress as she interacts with several others but how her friends interact with each other as well.

Summertime was written and directed by Max Weissberg, and stars Eric Garcia, Lethia Nall, H.R. Britton, Jenny Grace and Olivia Horton.  Max Weissberg was the winner of the Outstanding Achievement in Writing Award at the festival, which was given “for a script showing clarity of vision, great storytelling talent and sophistication, drawing inspiration from the work of Arthur Schnitzler.”

The movie was quite entertaining and had actual smart humor that seems to be almost obsolete nowadays. Actress Lethia Nall perfectly portrays her role as a new upcoming actress as she has to deal with the rather arrogant Daniel (Eric Garcia), all while she finds out she was basically fooled into sleeping with the director, Richard (Rob Hollander). Julia must decide what she will do in order to not only redeem herself but stop the director from ever manipulating another person.

The film can be considered as almost a coming of age story, in which the film causes the viewer to ponder where limits can be drawn. There always is that recurring joke detailing how people got their start in “the business” (film; Hollywood), and this film undermines the whole system masterfully. The audience is able to decipher between the mixed feelings of the characters, which ultimately gives the film its “New York City ‘Fuck You’” attitude.

The film also has a Tarantino-esque title sequence (think of the chapters in Inglorious Basterds) in which the characters are introduced, which adds to the idea that these are not set characters, but regular human beings you encounter every day.

However, you have to be picky when it comes down to it. While I honestly consider this a very small flaw, it could bother some people, as I heard while in the theatre: although the characters are introduced to the audience by those titles, they are obviously referred by the other characters in the film by their first names, so it would take a while for you to remember who each person is and what their occupation was.

Overall, the film was very entertaining, and although I believe it’s becoming overused, the film technique of “start in the middle and then fill in details as the film goes on” worked perfectly with the film as you got to learn more about the individual characters. Nall perfectly conveys the frustration of having to choose between a career and a love, while Garcia was able to show his quick wit with his carefree lifestyle. And, well, Hollander showed just how much of a jerk he can really be.

**** 4/5

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